The use of smart devices in schools and classrooms has gained considerable traction in recent years, spurred in part by a move from simple instruction to task-based learning-by-doing and accelerated by the pandemic-induced shift to distance learning. However, as decision-makers come around to the benefits of using smart devices to enhance the educational experience, they need to know what metrics and data to keep an eye on to ensure that they – and their students – are getting the most out of their IT deployment. In this post, we discuss which metrics and analytics you absolutely must track.
The positive disruption brought about by the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to change industries across the board, and the education space is no exception. However, according to a Deloitte study, roughly three out of four government officials surveyed feel that their digital capabilities lag behind those of the private sector. Specifically, for the education space, a major weakness was found to be in the leadership and skills required to execute a digital strategy.
Education leaders can take the first steps towards addressing this issue by educating themselves on which metrics to track and understand so that data-backed decisions can be made to improve future outcomes. Here, we outline some of the analytics that ed tech administrators should watch for and some popular IoT applications in education.
Analytics to Watch For
Teachers, parents, and administrators can vastly improve student safety and learning outcomes by tracking the following metrics.
Time Spent on Homework
IoT can help you track whether students do their homework or not. It is relatively easy to collect data on how long a student needs to complete an assignment, and this data can be used to help teachers better understand how their instructional methods are working. They can then change or tweak their approach based on real results and performance metrics gathered on their students. Teachers may also use this data to easily identify which students need additional help and the kinds of tasks, problems, or concepts that they struggle the most with.
Security – of the student and his or her information and privacy – are important matters in education. Knowing where students are, the activities they indulge in, and whether they face threats from anyone or anywhere is a major concern for teachers and educators. With the right IoT systems in place, schools and their teachers can keep track of students with ease and keep tabs – within predefined boundaries – of where they are and what they are doing. By way of example, the use of trackers such as RFID chips can help track a student’s location on a field trip and can also be used for students who bus to or from school.
Monitoring the Classroom
IoT can be used to automate student roll call, measure participation rates, track assignment submissions, and even measure the amount of time spent on specific in-class activities, thereby freeing the teacher to perform more productive, value-added tasks.
Enabling Personalized Learning
Over the years, thought leaders have advocated for the concept of personalized classes based on student competencies. In a traditional classroom setting, however, expecting a teacher to dynamically change the curriculum to suit the individual needs of every student is virtually impossible.
This is where IoT devices can help. With the help of connected devices, teachers can easily identify the kinds of problems that different students struggle with and help them overcome specific challenges instead of spending time on material they already know or that are not relevant to the issues they face. With such flexibility, students who would otherwise be left behind can get the help and attention that they need to succeed in school.
Student Physical and Mental Wellbeing
Students’ physical and mental wellbeing are of great concern to teachers and school administrators. Various technologies can be used to gather data on how students are doing, track where they are (as discussed above), and prevent harmful conditions from developing, such as high stress levels in at-risk students. Distress buttons can also be installed at high-traffic or high-risk locations to notify the authorities if the need arises. These systems can even be customized to send signals, updates, or specific reports based on the time of day or the student involved. This can help teachers and administrators deal with undesirable events that may affect specific students, such as disabled students or those with autism or other learning impediments.
IoT Applications in Education
Below are a few examples of up-and-coming applications for IoT devices in the education space. Most of them may be deployed regardless of a student’s financial status, location, or ability, and can dramatically impact students’ well-being and improve learning outcomes.
Foreign Language Instruction
Full immersion via augmented reality (AV) or virtual reality (VR) can make it easier for students to learn a foreign language, be it English, Spanish, or another language new to them. Real-time immersion can also help provide students with more immediate feedback in a highly realistic setting while simultaneously keeping students interested and engaged.
Technology in the classroom can make it easier to teach theoretical or abstract concepts, and IoT devices such as smart wearables can alert a teacher as to when a student is getting too tired, distracted, or simply in need of a break. Smart whiteboards can also be used to keep a record of all notes taken in class for easy distribution to everyone afterward.
Task-based learning can only work if teachers can give students specific tasks and address issues when they arise without detracting from the time or quality of instruction that each student is given in the class. IoT applications may automatically offer assistance, feedback, and classroom-level monitoring to the teacher, and can allow students to easily signal for help, making sure that no one falls behind in the learning process.
Smart gloves connected to tablet devices are helping students with hearing disabilities translate sign language to verbal speech. Visual or practical learners can also leverage technology to learn in a manner that suits them best. In this way, IoT devices and systems can be used constructively to provide extra educational support to students who need it.
Kajeet is an industry leader in ed tech analytics. Our patented, award-winning administrator platform, Sentinel®, provides district leaders and IT administrators with detailed insights into student activity online, including time-of-day reports, attempted website visits, and data and device management. Contact us today to speak with a Kajeet Solutions Engineer about your student connectivity program and learn how we may be able to help you support your students.