IoT can boost classroom learning
August 17, 2018
from the School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) worked in primary
schools in northern Thailand to test how a specially designed Internet
of Educational Things (IoET) device could improve both active learning
engagement and outcomes.
To do this the researchers, led by Dr Jim Ang and PhD student Pruet
Putjorn, developed a bespoke IoET platform called OBSY (Observation
Learning System) that featured several components, such as a light
reader and temperate monitor, which could then send data wirelessly to
tablet computers the children had already been provided with by the Thai
The OBSY device was designed to be as 'friendly' looking as possible,
akin to a toy, to encourage curiosity in children as prior research had
shown more typical-looking technological devices put children off and
created learning anxieties.
This is an OBSY device used for
IoT based classroom learning.
The device was then used as a key part of three different classroom
experiments: studying the growth of mould in different conditions,
learning about the different factors that influence the growth of
mushrooms and seeing how much light can pass through different objects.
Students using the OBSY tool were able to carry out these experiments in
a variety of ways, such as using its camera to take photos or videos and
compare them, monitoring changes in temperature in the objects being
studied or measuring the amount of light passing through an object.
They were then able to see this information - which had been sent
directly from the OBSY - on graphs and other visual displays on their
tablets, helping to improve their understanding of how different
conditions led to different results.
From this the researchers were able to show that the children using the
OBSY tool had markedly higher learning engagement and crucially improved
learning outcomes than that of a control class that did the same
experiments but without access to the OBSY platform.
the feedback also showed that gender, age and prior use of technology
had no impact on learning outcomes, underlining its educational
In particular, the positive feedback by both males and females to the
OBSY platform demonstrates that, despite previous studies suggesting
boys are more receptive to technology-based learning, it is possible to
design tools and platforms that can be used equally well by both sexes.
Lead researcher Pruet Putjorn said: 'The experiment with OBSY proves the
potential for IoET devices across a wide variety of age ranges and could
help with other deployments of similar systems in schools to help with
the educational development of young children.'