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Digital Learning: The Possibilities of IoT Technology in Education.

Posted by Davra Networks • Wednesday, September 09, 2015


By Nathan To (Davra Networks Intern)


            When I started my high school career, everything was done on paper from taking notes to examinations. However, during my senior year, the methods for learning were already rapidly changing. My high school implemented a one to one iPad program and more of the learning was digitized. Most of our textbooks were digitized, we took notes on our iPads, and teachers even made us take exams on our iPads. With the exponential growth of digital learning, it is no longer confined to just learning with computers and tablets; digital learning is starting to incorporate various forms of Internet of Things (IoT) technology such as smart sensors. Students and teachers will begin to appreciate IoT technology as it reduces a teacher’s workload and makes learning more enjoyable for students1.


Reducing a Teacher’s Workload: Teachers have a lot of work to do in a very short time period. They must get through a lesson while at the same time make sure that their students are getting the material they need to learn in the lesson. As students learn at different paces, teachers must strike a balance between going fast enough to get through the lesson, and make sure students who do not grasp the material as quickly also understand the material. IoT technology can effectively increase the amount of time available for teachers to teach by making routine tasks more efficient2. For example IoT technology can eliminate the need to manually take attendance. Methods such as logging into a server that eliminate the need to manually take attendance do exist; unfortunately, it is easy for a student to “cheat”. RFID sensors can be embedded in a student’s backpack and as soon as the student enters the classroom, their attendance is logged, therefore eliminating the need for the teacher to take attendance manually. This allows the teacher to spend more time teaching the day’s lesson.


Making Learning More Enjoyable: The majority of students often dread going to school as many of them see it as an 8 hour period where they do nothing. Engaging students more in the learning process will eliminate the boredom that many students complain about. IoT technology allows students to be more engaged in the learning process3. For example, biology students can attach a harmless internet connected collar to a local animal such as a raccoon. Students can then track the animal’s behavior and movements in real time. This hands-on approach trumps learning from a textbook as it engages students in the process. Similarly, IoT technology can also help physics students. Many high school general physics courses do a laboratory known as the “egg drop”. In this laboratory session, students build a contraption to prevent an egg from cracking after it is dropped 20-30 feet to the ground. A student can embed a small internet connected sensor in their contraption that measures various parameters such as G-force, acceleration, and speed. The student can then use the data from the sensor to cross check their manual calculations. As physics is often a hard subject for many high school students to grasp, smart connected sensors will enable students to have a greater understanding of physics concepts.


Conclusion: Digital learning has exploded in the last couple years. Students are embracing new technologies faster than ever before. Digital learning has expanded beyond just computers and tablets; it has also expanded to encompass IoT technology such as smart connected sensors. IoT technology will further improve a student’s education by reducing a teacher’s workload and allowing for a more engaging learning experience for students. As the rest of our world becomes a “digital world”, digital learning will continue to prepare students for the future. With connected devices becoming the norm, hands on experience with IoT technology in school will greatly benefit students in their later lives.




1. Corell, Perry. “IoT in Education: Exploring the Evolving Potential for Digital Learning.”

            EdTech Digest. May. 13, 2015.


2. Warner, John. “The Internet of Things is coming for Your Children.” Inside Higher Ed.

            March. 29, 2015.


3. Curtis, Sophie. “Eight UK schools to take part in 'Internet of Things' pilot.” The Telegraph.

            August. 21, 2013.


About The Author:

Nathan To is currently an Intern at Davra Networks. He will be a sophomore at the University of California Riverside in the fall where he is majoring in Business. In the past, Nathan was one of the leaders of his High School’s student iPad repair group. He has also moderated a panel on Student Experiences with Educational Technology at the annual Educational Learning Technology Consortium (ETLC) in Atherton CA.



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