What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things has become a sort of shorthand for network-aware smart objects that connect the physical world with the world of information. A smart object has four key attributes: it is small, and thus easy to attach to almost anything; it has a unique identifier; it has a small store of data or information; and it has a way to communicate that information to an external device on demand. The Internet of Things extends that concept by using TCP/IP as the means to convey the information, thus making objects addressable (and findable) on the Internet. Objects that carry information with them have long been used for the monitoring of sensitive equipment or materials, point-of-sale purchases, passport tracking, inventory management, identification, and similar applications. Smart objects are the next generation of those technologies — they “know” about a certain kind of information, such as cost, age, temperature, color, pressure, or humidity — and can pass that information along easily and instantly. They can be used to digitally manage physical objects, monitor their status, track them throughout their lifespan, alert someone when they are in danger of being damaged or spoiled — or even to annotate them with descriptions, instructions, warranties, tutorials, photographs, connections to other objects, and any other kind of contextual information imaginable. The Internet of Things would allow easy access to these data.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • The IoT will will students to undertake experimentation by collecting and analysing live rich data. Possibly more significantly it will allow physical things to become much more interactive, and able to respond to learning applications. Imagine the learning opportunities from being able to touch almost any object and have it report its own provenence. - David.Lowe David.Lowe Aug 9, 2012
  • The IoT will also have implications for educational administration - tracking of resources, attendance monitoring, performance evaluation (for example, consider a networked pair of sports shoes that can continuously report data on location, pressure, etc.) - David.Lowe David.Lowe Aug 9, 2012
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Opportunities for students to construct their own physical interactions and monitoring (see, for example, the potential impact of technologies such as the Raspberry Pi) - David.Lowe David.Lowe Aug 9, 2012
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

  • Learning can become more embedded and interactive. It will also be able to be much more personalised, as rich individual feedback becomes more feasible. - David.Lowe David.Lowe Aug 9, 2012- Sam Sam Aug 17, 2012
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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