Friday, 17 February 2017

IOT in Education



The Internet of Things (IOT) is a topic of discussion these days related to the impact of Internet on life. Perhaps the greatest impact of IOT is on Education today. Education includes the Pedagogy, the learners, the educators, the syllabus and the building itself, (though I guess, the building will soon become unnecessary).
For an initiate, the increased integration of IOT into the educational system might seem daunting, but for those who are into apps, coding, this might appear to be a piece of cake. Connectivity lies at the base of IOT, and this provides opportunities for collaborative learning, sharing of ideas, and research work.
One will argue that with increased connectivity come added responsibilities and a greater amount of distraction in class. The connectivity offered by the internet needs to be regulated or focussed on the learning outcomes of the lesson or topic for the day. Students who bring their own devices to class and are given internet access tend to wander away to gaming and social networking sites rather than do research on the topic of the day. One might claim, also that IOT in education might also foster cyberbullying.
With loads of information being available at a mouse-click, students and teachers alike might feel overwhelmed by the amount of unnecessary information. To be able to sift through all that information might require Information processing skills. Information glut or information explosion is often associated with stress and confusion caused by having to sift through loads of irrelevant information. Another major problem faced by educators as a result of IOT and Education in the growing amount of plagiarism taking place in research work. It might be claimed that the Internet has given rise to a copy-paste generation of learners who far from displaying out of box thinking and problem-solving skills, are in fact rote memorisers lacking in original thinking skills. Research material, such as data and information supplied by IOT cannot and should not be the end of education. IOT should be the means towards a greater understanding of the world we live in.
Some institutions and other organisations might introduce IOT in a big way simply because of the novelty factor of technology. The belief that IOT makes things very easy  and the belief that the work of Educators will be lighter than ever before is a fallacy. The introduction of IOT into classroom pedagogy in schools presents challenges before educators even as they come across students who might be as informed as they are, if not better informed! Teachers who use IOT in class need to be constantly upgrading their skills, they need to be continuously doing research and have a decent knowledge about using apps.
Greater integration of IOT in classrooms in schools should ideally, enhance Social intelligence, promote creativity, help foster conflict resolution and encourage deep thinking all because of better interconnectivity, and freeing us up from having to menial tasks like driving cars, cleaning the green board, writing the learning outcomes, and most important of all, having to check homework notebooks and test papers. The benefits for students would be that they would probably not have to carry textbooks or notebooks to class instead one I-Pad or a tablet could take up the burden of all those textbooks. Most schools in the country have already integrated IOT in daily transactions. The ERP Module takes care of attendance, leave applications, student data, and contact numbers. The Report Bee module used by my school handles all matters pertaining to assessments, remarks, updates, and analyses whether comparative or static analyses. Augmented reality allows face to face interaction between students across the globe, they can work on virtual models face to face, and each improvement on the model can be seen taking place online. The use of holograms  3-D imaging and augmented reality can help save space and requirements for laboratories for conducting experiments. For a country like India, IOT has much potential, it can help remove the infrastructural gap between schools in rural areas and schools in urban areas. Uniformity of pedagogy can be enhanced and better standardization ensured. While initial glitches, so-called teething problems exist with the introduction of new systems, the benefits will outlast them. What matters is that policy makers and curriculum framers need to put in safety measures to ensure that we stay abreast of technology. A quote attributed to both Einstein and Victor Salva states, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity”.


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