With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no question that school districts have had to adapt and deal with an ever-changing educational landscape. The past few years have been challenging for educators, whether it was adjusting to virtual learning or following state and federal mask mandates.
Thankfully, smart cities around the world are cropping up, especially as society becomes increasingly digital and new technologies continue to emerge. Educational institutions are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency and quality of education for students, and to make teachers’ jobs easier. If cities are looking to be smarter, their education infrastructure will also need to be smarter.
A smart city relies on internet connectivity and uses various types of devices to build interconnected city infrastructure. Smart cities aim to improve the quality of life for citizens and streamline many city management processes.
Below is more information about smart cities, the role of education in a smart city, and how the future of education will be impacted.
According to the United Nations (UN), it’s expected that 68% of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050. With city populations increasing, the need for technological infrastructure grows.
While many sectors of the economy benefit from smart cities and integrated technologies, educational institutions can leverage them to optimize their processes and deliver stellar results for students, parents, and teachers.
Continue reading to learn more about how specific smart city technologies will impact the education sector.
School districts strapped for cash can utilize internet of things (IoT) sensor technology to gather more data regarding the student experience. Consider one data-sharing agreement between Nashville and Metro Nashville Public Schools.
This agreement allowed schools to learn which after-school initiatives were most effective. As a result, educators could adjust the school curriculum to support better student learning outcomes. One example of this was improved student reading comprehension.
Essentially, a smart learning environment allows students to have equal and equitable access to digital learning tools. Students benefit from a better, more efficient, and seamless learning process when equipped with these devices.
Closing the gap between digital and physical worlds will allow students to absorb learning material more easily. Additionally, a smart learning environment should accommodate unique learning styles, such as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. This will meet the needs of students that learn differently compared to traditional learning environments.
A remote learning system can help school districts work toward a future built upon renewable energy. Because digital learning opportunities are constantly improving, such as 24/7 online tutoring programs, remote learning and tutoring can be just as effective as in-person learning.
Some students have mental, emotional, or physical limitations that prevent them from learning inside a traditional classroom. By leveraging these technologies in a smart education system, remote learning can support these students and create more opportunities to grow their knowledge across a range of subjects.
Additionally, it was found that lighting alone accounts for 26% of a school’s power consumption, so remote learning can reduce a school’s carbon footprint. A pillar of a smart city is sustainability, and remote education can help achieve that.
Some smart city schools can use GPS tracking technology to monitor their student transportation systems. Parents can also buy into this tech to locate their students before and after school activities. Ensuring student safety is a top priority for school districts and improving school transportation is a good place to start.
Aside from safety, these GPS technologies enable bus drivers to find the most efficient routes for their students. Improving a pickup or dropoff route can also reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), school bus GHG emissions account for almost 30% of the nation’s total emissions.
Because augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are becoming increasingly prevalent in many industries, they will likely play a significant role in building smart cities.
When used in an educational setting, AR and VR can be greatly beneficial for students and their teachers. These advanced technologies can spark interest in STEM-related fields, deepen student engagement, and bring immersive learning into the classroom.
The technologies and applications listed above exemplify how creating smart cities will help strengthen public education systems. Ensuring student success is something every educator prioritizes, and smart city technology will be a game-changer.
As cities worldwide aim to become smarter, it’ll be crucial for school districts to incorporate the same technologies for the benefits they offer. Whether it’s leveraging IoT sensors, VR headsets, or closing the digital divide, smart schools will be the future of education.