5G in schools:
5G use cases
in education

Author: Sue Poremba

2020 brought into view the countless opportunities offered by virtual learning.  5G in schools has the potential to introduce new tools and capabilities to enhance learning and student engagement.  Whether it be exploring the oceans or discovering new plants in the rainforest, 5G could help fuel the next generation of distance learning. 

Education is on the cutting edge of new advancements in technology to equip students for success in the modern era. Introducing 5G in schools can take the way students learn to new, exciting levels and revolutionize the way educators teach. 

When will we see 5G in schools?

Educators want to introduce new technologies into the classroom setting that meet their students where they are. Today's kindergartners enter the classroom already familiar with video streaming and playing online games. Offering learning options that dovetail with these familiar resources builds on the way many children like to learn.

One of the challenges with using online tools for education is reaching every student. Anyone living in rural areas knows that wireless coverage has its gaps. In more densely populated regions, public networks in high-traffic areas can have their own connectivity issues as towers with limited capacity try to manage requests from many devices at once. Learning can be limited by either of these factors if their video stream freezes frequently or other resources load significantly more slowly than their peers. 5G has the potential to address some of these issues.

Bandwidth-demanding activities are also likely to become more accessible. Teachers may be able to introduce technologies that offer gamification instruction techniques without disruption thanks to the low latency of 5G.

5G use cases in education

5G has the potential to offer some of the most exciting innovations in education. Here are a few possibilities.

VR/AR-enhanced education

At the home of the fifth US president, James Monroe, visitors can take an augmented reality (AR) tour of the property. It offers a more in-depth tour than a guide can give alone, with visuals of buildings now destroyed or of the everyday workings of the farm.

With 5G connectivity, teachers could take greater advantage of AR and virtual reality (VR) across all areas of studying and on select field trips, giving students a chance to understand what they are learning in greater context. For example, although it would be impossible to dig through to the core of the earth, students could use AR and VR to see each layer in a more realistic and interactive representation than a textbook can provide.

IoT offerings

The Internet of Things (IoT) offers the potential for additional 5G use cases in education as IoT brings the outside world into the classroom. IoT devices like smart sensors or video cameras could be used to bring the outdoors into the classroom; for example, a camera set up to watch a bird's nest in a tree near the school or sensors used to track weather conditions daily across different locations. Anyone who travels might take the class along in real time and create virtual vacations with high-level learning experiences for everyone. Devices and robotics could also be used to assist students with different learning and physical needs.

IoT could turn classrooms into smart classrooms, as well. Teachers could automate some menial chores, like collecting assignments or organizing papers. Stations can be set up throughout the room for more interactive and hands-on learning. Classrooms can also be equipped with monitoring systems that offer high-level security.

Remote learning

The pandemic has already changed the way we think of school, but 5G could alter what school is forever. The 5G use cases in education offer flexibility. Educators with a unique specialty can teach in classrooms all over the world, with student participation in real time. A high school Spanish class can attend lessons with students in Spain.

Many teachers already use social media to facilitate book discussions outside of school hours, and recording virtual classes lets students learn at their own pace or catch up on work they may have missed.

Assessing 5G readiness

K-12 school districts may be more ready for 5G use cases in education than they realize. Although the IT infrastructure of many schools needs updating, 5G offers greater flexibility than 3G and 4G. Buildings that are too old for a new wired internet infrastructure might be ripe for wireless 5G connectivity.

The bigger expense will be providing devices that will get optimal use from the 5G network. Older devices will still work, but they won't be able to take advantage of the 5G connection. Luckily, many new devices are 5G capable, making it easier to obtain compatible technology. New devices might replace the textbook budget. With 5G use cases in education, books and other learning tools can be accessed online, and students would be able to use continually updated resource material.

Education should be at the cutting edge of technology to offer children a robust learning environment. Introducing 5G in schools could open up the entire world.

Discover the benefits that were realized when this Cleveland school became the first to receive Verizon 5G.