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What is the Internet of Things?

You may have heard the term, Internet of Things (IoT) but what is it and how does it effect teachers in everyday classrooms? 

Smart fridgeThink devices, machine learning, automation, wireless networks, sensors and controls and what do you get...everyday objects and devices that are equipped with micro-controllers, sensors, transceivers can communicate with one another by sending and receiving data wirelessly (with/without humans) over the Internet.

For example: I leave my house but I can still control my fixtures, thermostats, home security, heat pump, monitoring systems, cameras and other home appliances remotely via my smartphone or Internet device the same time my refrigerator orders my groceries.

What this mean for the connected classroom?

While connected technologies are changing the way we interact with our home devices, the IoT and smart technology is also powering up education and turning classrooms into connected ecosystems (connected smart devices/apps, collaborating in the cloud, immersive resources, data analytics, track attendance, automated services, management systems, wearable devices, 3D printers). 

As one education professional said of the IoT, “It is not about the technology; it’s about sharing knowledge and information, communicating efficiently, building learning communities and creating a culture of professionalism in schools. These are the key responsibilities of all educational leaders.” https://builtin.com/internet-things/iot-education-examples

For more examples see:

In terms of the Digital Technologies content  (Technology Learning area), we can also teach our students about the history and advancement of smart technology and automation. For example, how did the 'dumb' light switch become so smart? We can guide this process with questions like:

Internet of Things

  • What are technological advances? 

  • How has technology advanced? 

  • Why does technology advance? 

  • Are all innovations effective? 

  • How can we design effective innovations? 


For more ideas about teaching about technology and innovation, see Nature of Technology and Characteristics of technology in the Technology Online website.

Students can also learn about electronics, sensors, automation, robotics, and programme these to create innovative solutions that respond to local or global needs. For example the follwoing exemplars from, Strengthening Digital Technologies in Technology Online demonstrate Learning with the Internet of Things.

Learning with the internet of things in years 5–6

Year Andrew Wills and the students at Bradford Primary School describe how they used their new knowledge in electronics (inputs and outputs, sound, light, sensors, motors) to solve problems in their school.

Learning with the internet of things in years 7–8

Bill Boyes, Iain Cook-Bonney, and Tahuna Normal Intermediate School students talk about the wide range of digital technologies they can now make using their new skills.

Learning with the internet of things in years 9–10

Julie McMahon and Mark Greenfield discuss the application of electronics and the internet of things at St Hilda’s Collegiate and King's High School.

How would you like to see your classroom connected or 'powered up' by the Internet of Things?

Can you see the potential for integrating Computational Thinking, Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes while learning about the nature (and history) of technological advancements?

We'd love to her more, simply join the e-Learning: Technologies group and add your comments below.


Also see

Five Ways the Internet of Things is Changing for Education and Learning

Image:  Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) CODE_n Fridge, Flickr, CCCO wilgengebroed Internet of Things

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e-Learning: Technologies

e-Learning: Technologies

Where we explore how different technologies can support learning.