Five mobility trends in education

Morten Illum, Vice President of Aruba offers his thoughts on how connectivity improvements can revolutionise education

Mobile innovation is at the heart of how schools and universities improve operations, accommodate staff and students, inspire new learning and ensure safety.

Yet, many considerations need to be made surrounding this innovation if we’re to achieve successful outcomes. While we need the capacity to collaborate on the go, make learning experiences dynamic, learn from the unique insights data-driven technology can deliver and exploit IoT – that can’t happen in an inconsistent or sporadic fashion if we’re to engage the staff and students set to benefit from increased mobility.

Speaking to our customers in the education sector, we aim to understand the pressures of driving change and adapting to new trends in 2018 with a view to continuous improvements surrounding learning environments.

Setting the right foundation

Foremost, it is critical to address the fact that mobility is spreading and with that, comes new opportunity. Say good-bye to the stigma surrounding use of personal devices.

In 2018, they will become more firmly embedded in the educational toolset. Rather than hamper productivity, these devices are being hailed as a new way to unearth learning experiences. However, the key consideration for that logic is that these new devices are all “things” demanding connectivity, and given mobile’s ubiquity, there is little tolerance [from staff and students alike] for down time or poor experiences. 

Providing a truly mobile learning environment relies on a resilient network and pervasive coverage – the more you factor in these needs, the more likely you are to achieve a consistent, streamlined user experience.

Immersive learning

Once you’ve got this foundation in place for new technologies to operate reliably in your environment, it’s about striking a balance between staff and technology.

While there is no replacement for teachers, ed-tech is advancing at a rate where the level of personalisation we can achieve in a classroom is equivalent to the experience touted in retail.

We’re starting to see beacons being used to cater to individual needs and put the onus on students to dictate their own pace of learning. As a result, we’re moving closer to the harmonious intersection of technology and human interaction.

In turn, we’re able to deliver an environment where, whether you are a high achiever or you require additional one-to-one support – provisions are in place to assist you because of the resource new technology frees up.

Intelligent spaces

This ability to free-up resource can be achieved in a multitude of ways. In fact, intelligent classrooms and lecture theatres will allow us to move beyond simply driving engagement to driving efficiencies that have never existed before.

It starts with simple things like the fabric of our walls and devices being able to communicate with students’ personal devices to ascertain whether you have walked into or left a room, or to extract your homework or coursework automatically. 

Wayfinding tools and push notifications are all ways in which educational institutions are already starting to pave the way for productivity increases that make learning an uninterrupted and creative process.

Big data versus security

If this course of innovation continues, we have to start making use of data that will enable us to create even more personalised learning experiences. By taking on and analysing insights into individual user habits and capabilities, we’ll see more and more innovation.

Yet, this movement of masses of data can create headaches for data protection. Especially with the GDPR in mind. With the pressure on to expose threats faster and understand gaps in existing knowledge, we’ll start to see heavier investment in tools that ensure a cohesive network security strategy.

The proliferation of the IoT

The proliferation of connected things and this level of security attention are closely linked. Nevertheless, outside of managing security, the IoT ecosystem can increasingly have a real impact on operations when considered carefully. Especially when we look at the nature of assets dotted across educational sites. 

Take the items in your safety and security ecosystem for example – fire alarms and intruder alarms – with these connected and managed centrally through software, there is no need for masses of staff to ensure visibility. Through one interface, the IT team has a complete view of how they are operating without the need for further human intervention.

With these trends…

Ultimately, by injecting creativity into the way we use and manage technology we can continue to drive more and more opportunities to free up resource and redistribute skills where they are needed most – to continue improving the learning experience for all. All users should have the power of connectivity at their fingertips and the many benefits to their learning and vocation that come with it.