I have never heard the term Internet of Things (IoT), but it is definitely an emerging technology. Kobie defines it as connecting devices over the internet, letting them talk to us, applications, and each other. (2015) I was amazed at the reach of IoT devices. Here is a graphic created by CB Insights of nine main categories driving the future of startups for IoT.
As you can see there are a variety of categories where IoT is evident. IoT has attracted over $7 BILLION in deals since 2010. (CB Insights, 2015) It’s huge. Where is the education category? Interesting to see its absence. I suppose it’s buried in other categories like Infrastructure and Sensors, UAV/Drone, and Wearables.
Can we use IoT in education? Here are two examples from the University of Wisconson-Madison. Students control quadcopters with hand movements. Sensors are placed on forearms to detect muscle movement, and based on those movements, you control the quadcopter. The School of Veterinary Medicine records operations for students to view as they learn their trade. They get valuable knowledge about anatomy and procedural practices. (Forbes, 2015)
To take a glimpse into what school could be like with IoT, read what Meyers describes as a future classroom. Scary stuff, but it does create more dynamic interventions, advanced classroom techniques, and a modified role for teachers to focus on individual students. (Meyers, 2014) I suppose we could argue the issue of privacy for some IoT devices, but if it enhances the educational process, why not incorporate it as long as students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community (all stakeholders) are cognizant of attending such a school.
Now to my design…
I have always wanted to be able to have students write mathematical expressions, show work, solve problems, and submit assignments and assessments electronically, by transforming handwriting to text/graphics. There are a few apps that do this, with limitations. You can write a mathematical expression to perform a calculation (MyScript Calculator, MyScript Mathpad) Mathpad allows you to export the expression and use it in a document platform. You should be able to use a tablet, or sensor pad, along with a stylus pen to accomplish this. I want a fully functional system where you are replacing paper/pencil work. Well, while we are at it, rid ourselves of physical textbooks, just use electronic texts where there is full capability of interaction and creation/editing.
At this moment, it is possible to incorporate all of what I want into my design, it’s just in fragments here and there (not that easy to integrate and use), and not in an All-in-One package. I would like to use the capabilities of handwriting recognition technology, media interaction, graphics/imaging technology, voice recognition technology, and collaborative interactions to have students submit assignments/assessments. And to complete the cycle, a system would grade the work and assign a grade. Is that too much to ask for? I can then focus on individual students needs and interventions (well maybe the system will help with that part). True individualized learning. When this happens, only then will I be a “teacher as facilitator.”
The tablet and pen system can be called “The Infinity System”. (just Googled that phrase, it’s already being used in construction, darn) Well, “The Scarzella System” then.
(It’s a work in progress…)
Kobie, N. (2015). What is the internet of things? The Guardian. Retrieved from
Unknown author. (2015). Samsung BusinessVoice: Internet Of Things 101: Inside The Latest Trend In Higher Education. . Forbes. Retrieved from
Meyers, M. (2014). Can the Internet of Things make education more student focused?
Gov2020. Retrieved from http://government-2020.dupress.com/can-internet-things-make-education-student-focused/
CB INSIGHTS. (2015). Rewiring Industries: 100 IoT Startups Disrupting Auto, Healthcare, Energy, And More. [blog posting]. Retrieved from https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/iot-market-map-and-company-list/