Like all the previous essential questions we have had, I had no idea what the Internet of Things (IoT) was before I began researching it. After reading articles about it, discussing it with my fiancee who is also a teacher, and much more tech savvy than I, and seeming some relatable examples, I now understand what it means. The IoT to me is best summed up by a line in the youtube video “Education and the Internet of Things” by Cisco. In this video they explain that one of the pillars of the IoT is “Things,” and that the IoT “gives a voice to things.” This means to me that, normal devices, mechanics or appliances that we have previously not been able to communicate with are now accessible for digital communication and interaction. Max Meyers explains in the article “Can the Internet of Things Make Education More Student Focused?” that over the past century the educational experience has largely remained unchanged. When I think about his statement, in terms of how connected the regular world and how unconnected classrooms-teachers-students are connected digitally, I have to agree. Apart from direct computer use, and the occasional iPad my students have had very little digital exposure.
One piece of IoT technology that I think would benefit teachers and students would to be able to have communicative desks. The way I envision this includes the following. The teacher would assign a students to a certain desk in the classroom. The student name would be logged and registered into the desk. A small touch screen, (5x8ish) would be displayed at the top of the students desk. Programmed into this screen would be the daily schedule for students to follow along with and links for students to click on to access assignments and other necessary resources the teacher provides. Now, I am a bit of an old fashioned teacher, and I still like to write my lesson plans out by hand, but with this device, a teacher would write her lesson plans digitally, and would just be able to send the student friendly version to her student desks straight from her computer. In addition to providing students with a direct access planner and daily guide, the desks, since they are assigned to students would also be able to take daily attendance. A student might sign into their desk each morning, and if the desk hasn’t been signed in to by the time school school starts, a message is sent to the school secretary to inform her of absences. When the desk logs an absence, it also automatically sends the daily plan, resources and assignments to the students’ email address. Not only will this help students while in school, but it would also eliminate the often time consuming process of catching students up on what they missed while they were gone. Students would be able to receive the information they missed, the day they missed it, and their ability to stay on track with the class is assisted as much as possible.
Nothing like this device really exists now, that I know of at least. But I do feel like the idea is not too far fetched. If it, or something like it were to become available in the near future I think the lives of students and teachers would be improved. Nicole Kobie reminds us that once there was a uniqueness to smartphones, and were called as such to differentiate between regular phones and smartphones, but now that really is an unused term, even with iPhones, android phones, etc, we usually just called them phones now, sans smart, because their use is so prevalent and so familiar to most of us. We can never tell what the future will hold and maybe in 20 years, there will be smart desks, that we just call regular desks!
Kobie, N. (2015, May 6). What is the internet of things? Retrieved June 16, 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/06/what-is-the-internet-of-things-google
Meyers, M. (2014, December 3). Can the Internet of Things make education more student-focused? – Government 2020. Retrieved June 16, 2015, from http://government-2020.dupress.com/can-internet-things-make-education-student-focused/