Sunday, February 28, 2016

How IoT Could Change Education

    The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity—that enables these objects to collect and exchange data. - Wikipedia
    I've been hesitant to write this post because I know it could open Pandora's box and quite frankly I don't know if I have it in me right now to deal with the fact that people think this is what I think education should be like. My passion for edtech is obvious but because I'm passionate about it I am also sometimes pigeonholed as one of those "techies" that wants everyone assimilated. Nothing could be further from the truth. 
    So here it goes, I'm going to run with my thought provoker nature- I bought an Amazon Echo with some birthday money this year. If you read the definition above for "internet of things" you will get the gist of Alexa- my Amazon Echo. Here is a little snippet of me tapping into some of her skills recently: 
    Every week that I have owned this I have seen more "skills" being coded and available via my Alexa app on my phone. I've been so intrigued by this and how it might be utilized in an education setting that I actually posted the above video asking others what their ideas might be on integrating in a classroom setting on LinkedIn and my friend @tntechgal connected me with one of its developers, Noelle LaCharite.
    After digging into how to create skills for it I realized it is a bit over my knowledge in coding at the moment but I do see possibilities! 
    So then I started thinking about the fact that I am always saying "we need to be asking students ungoogleable questions" and realized how Alexa might benefit students AND teachers in regards to ciritical thinking. 
    Stay with me as I make a huge step here (I realize there is much that would need to be talked out and evaluated before taking this plunge). BUT what if an Amazon Echo was in every classroom grades 7 and up? What if educators said, "if I ever pose a question that could quickly be answered with an Internet search, you can use the Internet"? What would that do to our classrooms? Would teachers progress to hitting critical thinking more often due to the immediate feedback of their lessons? Would we see a lack of basic knowledge in students because they become dependent on doing a quick search? Does that matter?
    My Amazon Echo had opened up a flurry of thought in my head. What if's? Then what's? And how so's? I'm at a place where I look ahead at education and wonder what the path will be with IoT options. Wearable technology is real and being used for "cheating" now. How can we as educators embrace this new realm of technology as we dig in to see how we should limit or integrate it?

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