The Internet of Things or IoT is an exciting topic, although it has been around for many years now. We have developed smart toasters, smart TV’s, smart fridges and even smart homes. What makes these items “smart” is their ability to collect data and interact wirelessly with the Internet. The volume of data collection now available to each one of us has a plethora of uses at our homes, business, and even at school (Meyers, 2014).
I was at my friend’s dairy farm last summer in Minnesota and I was blown away by the use of technology there. Cows each carry an electronic chip/tag pierced through an ear. When it comes time for milking, the cows pass by a sensor that identifies who that cow is and their entire milking history. While colleting milk from the cow, that chip is being updated in real time and a complete history of their output is recorded. That data can help the farmer formulate adjustments in the cow’s diet, climate (air temperature) and a variety of other factors to maintain a high level of milk output (Parker, 2015).
While I do not consider my students to be livestock, I do certainly see some parallels in the IoT as related to education. Every student is unique and has certain capabilities. Even if the diet and climate is the same for each student in the classroom, we certainly see a difference in output for each student based on a variety of individualized factors. Since each student is an individual, we could certainly benefit from an individualized educational prescription for each student. To achieve this, each student will wear an iStudent Smart watch.
As students walk in to class, their iStudent Smart Watch automatically register’s their time of arrival on the teacher’s attendance registry. Also recorded is their time out of the classroom for bathroom breaks, tardies, etc. An iStudent Smart Watch will interact with each student’s Smart Desk or personal Tablet. A portion of each day’s class will be dedicated to the student’s individualized learning plan. As students master standards in each individual subject, that information will be instantly updated on the teacher’s computer. Teachers will be able to monitor the student’s progress and assist in specific areas that the student is struggling in during that time. This flexible and individualized learning plan will allow the advanced students to achieve far beyond what might otherwise be allowed and the lower achieving students to get the assistance needed. Whole group learning activities, lectures, discussions, and activities can all still take place in this classroom, providing students with the opportunity to interact and enrich each other’s learning.
The iStudent Smart Watch will also record data in real time providing biofeedback on student’s pulse rate and activity levels. This will allow teachers immediate knowledge about when it might be a good time to change up activities to keep student’s alertness high. Teachers will also be able to instantly send private feedback to students via their iStudent Smart Watch (encouragements and reminders to stay on task). This data will be available for parents to review along with all other progress. Parents can see a dashboard view of the student’s achievement on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Aside from completion of subject-based standards, parents and students will also have real time access to course assignments, grades and activities.
There are of course some concerns with this technology. First of all, that is a lot of student’s personal data being collected in real time. That information will need to be secured and protected. Second, students may run the risk of being “tracked”. Over time, as we have a significant body of data, we risk “losing” our students as a number and teachers, parents, and students may limit expectations. Also, with so much information instantly available, it may encourage parents to smother their children and not give students some freedom, flexibility and ownership in their own education. Finally, I worry that the iStudent Smart Watch may discourage creativity in the classroom if not monitored carefully. Collaborative and team activities will need to be a component of any classroom using this device.
The IoT is quickly changing the way we interact with the world around us. We are able to collect data from almost any electronic device and use that information to our advantage. It seems only natural that we will carry this technology over into education in growing proportions. The iStudent Smart Watch provides an intriguing way for this to happen. Recording individual student achievement in the classroom with biofeedback data creates a powerful tool for educators. It also can help students and parents plot out a course for success in the classroom.
Hagemann, R. (2015, April 1). ‘Internet of Things’ in education, health care dependent on regulatory framework – Watchdog.org. Retrieved June 12, 2015, from http://watchdog.org/209606/internet-of-things-regulations/
Kobie, N. (2015, May 6). What is the Internet of Things? Retrieved June 12, 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/06/what-is-the-internet-of-things-google
Lagorio-Chafkin, C. (2015, March 12). The Internet of Things is Coming for Your Baby. Retrieved June 12, 2015, from http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/03/12/Internet-Things-Coming-Your-Baby
Meyers, M. (2014, December 3). Can the Internet of Things make education more student-focused? – Government 2020. Retrieved June 12, 2015, from http://government-2020.dupress.com/can-internet-things-make-education-student-focused/
Parker, M. (2015, March 21). Digital Dairy: Farm goes high tech admidst dwindling numbers in state. Retrieved June 12, 2015, from http://thesouthern.com/news/local/digital-dairy-farm-goes-high-tech-amidst-dwindling-numbers-in/article_190d474b-593a-5837-90d7-7c01d748523e.html