Harnessing IoT Data to Transform Instruction and Drive Improved Learning Outcomes

Create: 02/14/2017 - 17:45

K-12 schools are using a wealth of data to help teachers teach, to help students learn and to make buildings more intelligent. Schools are using IoT connected devices in school buildings, classrooms and administrative offices for myriad uses. Interactive whiteboards are improving teaching strategies, on-premise surveillance and remote door locks are improving school security, and connected devices like tablets are making learning fun for students.

These devices gather rich data that districts can use to help teachers transform classroom learning.

Teachers, for example, can keep an eye on actual student progress and achievement to create individualized instruction that improves learning outcomes. For decades, educators have used student achievement data to support and inform decisions on instruction. Teachers would see basic data like grades and test performance and monitor and adjust their lessons based on how their students are learning. With IoT technologies, teachers can deliver personalized, targeted instruction based on real-time student performance data.

In the past, teachers typically would only use data from their classroom. Today, IoT enables schools to leverage a greater universe of data across a wider population, encouraging collaboration and increasing teaching effectiveness.

Turning Student Data into Better Student Performances

According to the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), “Collaboration among teachers in each step of the data-based inquiry process can maximize the benefits of data use by helping teachers share effective practices, adopt collective expectations for students’ performance, gain a deeper understanding of students’ needs, and develop effective strategies to better serve students.” In addition to teachers using student data analyses to identify factors to motivate student performance and enable them to adjust their instruction, the NAESP recommends that teachers give students direction in using their achievement data to monitor their own performance and establish learning goals.

Students are also using data from IoT-connected devices as a tool in their own learning – and technology providers are partnering to explore and advance these possibilities. The Internet of (School) Things, a collaborative consortium that promotes the use of IoT to transform the way students learn about the world, is currently piloting its bundle of connected devices in several schools. The devices, including an Internet-connected Intel® Galileo with sensors, a Website that collects and curates the data and lesson plans, enable students to explore their own live data and conduct experiments on the Web site. Students can also interact with other schools’ networked devices, like weather stations from different areas.

NAESP believes that for schools to effectively use IoT data, they need a strong data use culture to ensure routine, consistent and effective data-based decision-making. The organization recommends that schools establish a school-wide data team that sets the tone for ongoing data use, including defining critical teaching and learning concepts, developing a written plan that articulates activities, roles and responsibilities, and ensuring the data team provides ongoing data leadership.

“To meet the needs of a wide range of audiences, a district data system advisory council comprising a variety of stakeholders should be involved in determining the district’s requirements and selecting and implementing the new system. Districts and schools need to secure financial and human resources to develop data protection safeguards and ensure that data are timely, relevant, and useful to educators,” says NAESP.

Learn more about how your school can leverage the power of IoT data here.

About Author

Patricia Schnaidt's picture
Patricia Schnaidt
Patricia Schnaidt is an expert business technology writer. She has held top publishing and editorial positions at InternetWeek, Network Computing, Windows Magazine and LAN Magazine. Schnaidt has written countless articles, lectured extensively, and authored "Enterprise-wide Networking" (Prentice-Hall). She holds a B.A. in Computer Science from Columbia College, Columbia University.

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