IoT in education: Smarter classrooms, smarter students

The internet itself is foundational to IoT applications, as it allows for the real-time sharing of information, borderless collaboration and global connectivity at scale.

By Max Burkhalter
January 24, 2020
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Although the concept of the internet of things is a relatively new invention, the underlying infrastructure that enables it has been around for some time. The internet itself is foundational to nearly every IoT application, as it allows for the real-time sharing of information, borderless collaboration and global connectivity at scale. Prior to the current digital revolution, many industries were already integrating internet-based systems, tools and resources into their daily workflows. The field of education is one such example, and while learning institutions are still in the early stages of IoT adoption, the benefits of smart technology in the classroom are becoming more clear by the day.

eLearning and the digitization of education
The rapid advancement of smart technologies has helped enhance modern classrooms over the past decade, with many teachers switching from blackboards and chalk to touchscreen displays. At first, many of the early IoT innovations provided surface-level benefits, such as reducing the cost of classroom supplies and promoting computer-based competencies. However, today's smart classroom technologies are outfitted with a variety of advanced features, allowing instructors to integrate multimedia learning opportunities into their lesson plans and closely monitor student safety. According to IoT For All, common IoT systems in the classroom include:

  • Interactive whiteboards
  • Real-time attendance tracking applications
  • Student ID cards with RFID chips
  • Wireless door and window locks
  • Temperature and environmental sensors
  • Smart lighting and HVAC equipment

This is by no means an exhaustive list of smart technologies used in modern classrooms, as some schools have integrated tablets, virtual reality and even artificial intelligence into their learning practices. According to a 2018 survey from Microsoft and YouGov, more than 60% of parents are optimistic about smart classroom technology, especially in terms of their children's education. The survey found that 86% of respondents felt that using connected tech in school, including computers and educational software, positively contributed to their children's comprehension of key K-12 subjects. Furthermore, these IoT systems have helped foster interest in STEM fields and computer programming courses.

Students use tablets in the classroomeLearning technologies can help students develop key technical competencies for the digital age.

Classroom 2.0: The rise of blended learning
One of the biggest advantages of IoT-enabled classrooms is that students are able to participate in blended learning, which incorporates both face-to-face and online activities. As pointed out by the U.S. Department of Education, the strategy of fusing together school-based and web-based instruction supports students with diverse learning styles and keeps them engaged with their work. For example, teachers can design interactive homework assignments that directly correspond with in-class materials, or incorporate multimedia resources from popular video-sharing websites like YouTube. These strategies can also be used to help teachers and students in remote areas overcome the distance and stay connected over holiday and summer breaks.

As schools across the U.S. ramp up their IoT technology investments, the need for reliable and scalable IT equipment will grow increasingly important. That's why Perle offers high-performance connectivity hardware tailored to the needs of today's learning institutions. Our industrial-grade network switches and serial servers are designed to streamline data transmission over Ethernet while protecting student information through advanced security functionality, data encryption and user authentication. To learn more, check out some of our customers' success stories.


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