Proximity technology can achieve its full potential in enclosed spaces, in particular in those characterised by a large flow of information, like schools and colleges.
Already largely in use in schools in North America, the beacon technology can offer great advantages also to Italian and European schools as proximity technology applications in these facilities are countless.
First of all, smart beacons distributed in the building can help guide the user inside the building. Thanks to the interaction between these small devices and their smartphones, students can immediately find their position on the map of the building and visualise the best route to move from one area to another. This feature is very useful not only for students but also for parents and other guests at open days and public events, with visitors entering the building for the first time.
The presence of beacons inside classrooms allows the forwarding to the users’ mobile devices of notifications concerning the lessons planned every day in a specific classroom, information on courses, timetables, names of the teachers and ways of contacting them.
The same can be done for the staffroom: notifications will inform students and their parents on the days and hours when each teacher receives and even book an appointment.
Another advantage offered by the devices installed in classrooms is that the rollcall can be replaced by an automatic detection of attendance. Furthermore, the exchange of material (pictures, homework, reports, files etc.) between teacher and students can easily take place in real time, avoiding a waste of time and printed matter.
Through a personal (and customisable) section of a smartphone app each pupil will have the possibility of keeping under control any information concerning the course of studies (personal details, career planning, number of absences, exams passed or still to be passed, marks, credits, documents, certificates…) with a significant reduction in waiting time and a sizable reduction of the students secretary office workload.
For large facilities offering many services, advantages increase: beacons in a library can provide information on books available, lent out and returned, reserve or suggest the purchase of a book or inform on events that will be held out of school hours like lectures and seminars with the authors. If there is a school canteen, thanks to proximity technology it would be easy to see on the display of a personal mobile device the menu of the day and communicate special needs like diets, intolerances and allergies. If meals have to be paid on a daily basis, waiting times at the till would be eliminated thanks to payments directly made through the application.
If, like in the United States, a dedicated transport service is provided, students could find out at what time school buses and shuttles arrive at the stop required.
Last but not least, this system can become a good evaluation and control tool for the school: beside the possibility of knowing and classyfing its own students, their habits and curricula, the school can find out each student’s level of satisfaction for what concerns the state of the facility, the teachers, courses, programmes and activities. The collection and analysis of these data is very important as it allows the school to improve its services, enhance its offer and increase its reputation.
Simple, practical, convenient.