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This connected campus makes me wish I was back in school

CNET logo CNET 15/2/2019 Aloysius Low
a building that has a sign on the side of a road: The Global India International School's latest campus is really smart thanks to the Internet of Things. © CNET

The Global India International School's latest campus is really smart thanks to the Internet of Things.

I grew up before computers were common in classrooms -- the most you could expect to get in my school was a CD-ROM encyclopedia to mess around with. (And if you don't even know what a CD-ROM is, don't sweat it. We've come a long way since then).

a view of a city: giis-01 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. giis-01

So imagine my surprise when I popped by the latest campus of Singapore's Global Indian International School to find out just how much schools have changed in the past 20 years.

Dubbed the "SMART Campus" and packed to the brim with sensors and connected Internet-of-Things devices, the school uses technology to make education easier for students, parents and teachers.

Teachers and students don't need to use keys or padlocks anymore. A facial recognition device automatically unlocks classroom doors after school hours, while students can store their textbooks in smart lockers tagged to their student cards.

a close up of a device: giis-03 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. giis-03

Parents can track when buses are leaving the school with their kids and find out when those buses will be held up by traffic congestion. Even the toilets are smart -- they're equipped with ammonia sensors that let janitors track the number of people using them and work out the best time to clean up.

It's hard not to be impressed by the sheer volume of tech being used and data being collected. Every teacher has an iPad Pro. And the school's TVs all have Apple TV support and can wirelessly stream teaching materials.

a close up of a device: giis-04 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. giis-04

But filling a classroom with high-tech gizmos won't mean a thing if the students aren't learning well. So the school also uses data science to provide analytics to teachers, letting them intervene if a student is underperforming. Data analytics is also used for sports, tracking and recording activity in a high-tech sports hall.

giis-05 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. giis-05

Parents who are worried about data privacy don't have to be, as the school says it has "multiple layers of watertight security measures for data protection" and is compliant with Singapore's Personal Data Protection Act. The school also added that it has not yet received any requests to delete data collected from either parents or students.

Capping it all is the plan to roll out similar upgrades to the school's other 23 campuses in seven different countries, which include the UAE and Japan. There's no word yet on when this will happen though.

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