“IoT” stands for the “Internet of Things”. It’s a true #facepalm of a term – semantically meaningless, as far as I’m concerned. The shortest, and not necessarily best, explanation of the term is in this ~minute-long video:
So… It’s Just Sensors?
Yeah… mostly. Exciting, right? Queue the sad trombone music. I don’t really think we needed a whole new term for the facts that we are embedding sensors everywhere and that sensor-created data is being analyzed to provide new and interesting insights.
A Page Out of My Book
Generally speaking, IoT in Education registers as a solid meh for me; however, there are two situations where I personally would prefer IoT-based Education.
Performance Sports Training
Deadlift is an easy lift: you pick things up, you put them back down – literally. Every time you pick the laundry basket up off the ground and you do it properly, you’re more or less deadlifting.
Each time you deadlift, the motion itself is called a “pull”. In my current program, I do around ~60 pulls in rapid fire sets. In my last two sets, grip strength becomes an issue. In doing 12 rapid fire pulls in a row, at around pull #8, my grip strength fails. Between 8 & 9, I have to re-grip the barbell; and then again between #10 and #11.
Y’all… regripping really makes me mad.
I hate the thought of being foiled by my own hands. I usually end up with improper form on the pull right after a re-grip because of my emotions related to the re-grip.
I WISH I could have an auto-correction mechanism that would auto-detect the improper form, which starts from very first nano-seconds of the pull. I would love to wear one of those 3-D motion capture suits that would track my body position and then provide instantaneous feedback on my form so that each pull was a meaningful one, and none were wasted. In this way, a motion capture suit would provide an extra level of coaching.
A Better Experience at Alcatraz
Well, if you thought the last example was a real #firstworldproblem… this next one will really get you going.
Alcatraz is one of my favorite tourist destinations. It’s properly nerdy, an infovore’s delight. As a visitor, you get a headset at the entrance. As you walk around, let’s say to Al Capone’s cell, you’re directed to punch in a number to your headset. That number corresponds to a recording of the information you are to listen to about Capone’s cell. It’s a poor-man’s way of providing contextually-aware and very specific information at any given time.
The experience could’ve been better. What if Alcatraz gave me a headset with a sensor? As I walked past Capone’s cell, it would auto-register my location and provide me with contextually-relavant information without my having to key any codes in manually. iBeacons are typically the type of tech that enables this, and they are used in this capacity in museums and galleries. They are also used to provide context-sensitive information to people who have a hard time physically accessing information (what happens at Alcatraz if you physically can’t key the codes into your headset?).
The reality is that, while both examples are valid, they are a beast to implement.
- iPi Soft offers a freemium model for motion capture tech. I get exhausted just looking through the community group for it. Great tech, I’m sure – but I’m just not spending my time and energy implementing that.
- iBeacons have the same issues. This article comes to the same conclusion – they’re just too much work.
The long and short of it: for most of us, an IoT solution for Education isn’t practical yet. Chances are, if gaining insights from sensor data were a priority for the industry / topic you’re writing curriculum for, it would probably already have happened way, way before curriculum was ever a consideration. IoT is one of those things where, either its really worth it for your industry or it … well… just isn’t.