So what is the Internet of Everything (IoE)? We can perhaps start by looking at moves toward the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is thrilling to many tech-savvy educators. We are witnessing more and more schools embracing the concept, connecting devices including IP surveillance cameras, smart HVAC systems, building management systems, wireless door locks, interactive whiteboards among other devices to enterprise grade networks.
The IoT is perceived by some as the next step in the evolution of smart objects – interconnected things in which the line between the physical object and the digital information about that object becomes increasingly blurred. So it’s not hard to extend our thinking to envision a world where the IoT segues into the Internet of Everything (IoE): an ultra network of super powerful, superfast highways where billions, even trillions, of connections create unprecedented opportunities.
The impact this will have is hard to overstate; bringing together people, processes, information and things to make omnipotent networked connections more relevant and valuable then ever before.
In turn, this will enrich learning experiences and pave the way for unprecedented opportunities for individual education providers, multi-academy trusts – even connecting schools globally to facilitate greater sharing of knowledge, understanding and best practice.
The potential to improve schools and the learning environment through the IoE, and how achievement and success will be measured
It really does herald a brave new world for education IT, particularly when you consider that according to Cisco, 99% of physical objects that may one day be part of the IoE remain unconnected.
The potential to improve schools and the learning environment through the IoE, and how achievement and success will be measured, is almost beyond imagination. People will be connected in so many exciting new, but still relevant, ways; a world where the right information will be delivered to the right person or the right technology efficiently and effectively.
However, as we dare to dream about the possibilities, the truth is, connectivity in schools will be about far more than making lives easier. Technology is often touted as doing more, faster, ultimately saving teachers’ time. This is great, but utilising technology in and of itself does not mean a better education – it has to be used wisely.
In the IoE age, real change will come from harnessing new technologies to build a better – not faster – eLearning climate. It has to be integrated into the education system slowly and in subtle, nuanced ways. Some schools may use it to save money or harness data; some will prepare students to be highly tech-literate; others will find creative uses for their specific needs. Personalised, detailed instruction and seamlessly interactive technology will run head-to-head with funding issues and accountability systems. In order to include the IoE in education, our understanding of education must shift. Suppliers that will benefit first will be those that create practical, reasonable and cost-effective solutions that those with education IT responsibility can comprehend and translate into meaningful ways that enrich young lives.
There can be little doubt that the IoE will also encourage the commercial sector to collaborate more with the education sector on the new technologies, and better prepare young people to work within the digital age
The future will see a number of factors driving the successful implementation of the IoE throughout education. First and perhaps foremost, security will be an enormous and obvious one. Embedded devices will cultivate increasingly complex networks, so striking a balance between the efficacy of the IoE and the implied risks to privacy and security, will become more paramount in schools and the wider FE and HE campuses. Both educators and learners will need to have a better understanding of the ethical issues and find strategies to mitigate the dangers.
Other factors that will come into play will include assuring the integrity of data, as well as its accuracy and authenticity and education policies. The latter will revolve around the crucial development of policies that encourage more rapid adoption of technology in the classroom and its effective integration into the curricula. These will need to include robust change management practices among schools to reduce the barriers to technology adoption, and increase its scale and investment in training teachers to equip them with knowledge and skills to develop ever more innovative, inventive and inspirational learning programmes.
There can be little doubt that the IoE will also encourage the commercial sector to collaborate more with the education sector on the new technologies, and better prepare young people to work within the digital age. It’s critical that schools understand how to leverage IoE technologies so they can enhance the quality of education and prepare students to be active contributors to, and beneficiaries of the ‘new’ 21st-century industrial revolution.
Calibre is in the vanguard of providing IT services and solutions that enable schools to maximise their return on investment through the deployment of technology to meet their business challenges.