The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming a growing topic of discussion both on and off campus – and for good reason, too. As a phenomenon that not only has the potential to impact how we live, but also how we work, the IoT is something that every student needs to wrap their head around.

Simply put, the IoT is the concept of connecting devices to the Internet or to each other. Playing music on your speakers using Bluetooth and your phone? IoT. Using a smart thermostat that learns what temperature you like your house and when? That’s IoT. Counting your steps with your FitBit? IoT, too. Order an Uber to come pick you up? You guessed it – IoT.

Technology is advancing at an unprecedented speed. With the Internet becoming more widely accessible and more available across different devices, the IoT is also growing at an extraordinary rate. A lot of today’s technology is designed to make everyday life easier and more convenient; it was only natural for tech companies to implement Wi-Fi capabilities into consumer and industrial devices to collect and communicate data.

But how is the IoT relevant to your life? The short of it is that the IoT offers the opportunity to be more efficient in how things are done, and it makes doing school work more efficient still.

Its effect on education is immense. Online classes and the resources that make them so effective is largely dependent on the IoT. As students move away from physical books, they look to the myriad resources readily available online on tablets and laptops. With all of the necessary information ready at the touch of a keyboard, students can learn at their own pace and have a nearly identical educational experience regardless of location. Not to mention, online PDFs and eBooks cost a fraction of the price of paper textbooks.

Some schools of higher education are even using the IoT to monitor students, staff, resources and equipment. They reported that the data collected enables them to adjust lesson plans for future classes and is imperative in determining which students need the most individual attention. Since the early 90s, tech companies have invested in the IoT and its role in the classroom. SMART boards moved lessons away from dusty chalkboards and apps, such as Bounce, were developed to bring more of the educational experience online.

However, despite its seemingly encompassing place in the world, the IoT is still in its infancy. Security questions and privacy concerns must still be addressed at an industry level and reliable standards need to be implemented.

Regardless of the kinks that need to be worked out, the IoT, as we continue to see, is poised to radically transform education as we know it.

By Bianca Chan

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