IoT in the classroom

  • IoT technology is a natural fit for schools increasingly emphasizing STEM.

  • Manufacturers can support IoT education by donating the technology.

  • IoT should be incorporated into the curriculum from grade school to high school.

Connected devices are already in the classroom, but the Internet of Things (IoT) will boost new levels of connectivity and learning approaches, particularly in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas.

Students should be learning about IoT technology, such as the sensors that transmit information, so they can apply that knowledge later to their jobs. Enterprises should be looking for ways to contribute IoT-related information to classroom curricula to help prepare students for eventual employment.

Schools are increasing their emphasis on STEM, and IoT fits in with each segment of those efforts. Product manufacturers should contribute to the education process by providing their IoT-related technology to educators so they can include them in lesson planning.

Technology vendors have traditionally offered products to schools as part of their campaign to introduce students to their technology and brands to build both familiarity and brand loyalty. Similar opportunities exist today with IoT projects.

These four areas of concentration should be addressed to bring students real-world experience with products and systems:

1. Open source computing projects

This includes miniature single-board computers that run on open source operating systems and support communication via WiFi, Bluetooth, RFID, and other low-power connections. Miniaturized single-board computers are inexpensive and designed for experimentation purposes.

2. Communication protocols

Students experimenting with IoT should learn about the major connectivity methods being used with IoT devices. These include the widely known WiFi and Bluetooth, as well as others like Zigbee, NFC, and RFID.

3. Sensors

IoT devices increasingly include multiple sensors that monitor environmental conditions like sound, temperature, light, and movement. Students should learn what sensors are available and how they can be programmed to trigger events and notifications. These actions are the reasons many IoT devices exist and are the basis for the intelligence that can be derived from the devices.

4. Messaging

The creation and transmission of messages triggered by sensors delivers information across the networks where IoT devices connect. The frequency and format of IoT messages are important because of the information that needs to be transmitted, but as network traffic becomes increasingly crowded by the estimated 100 billion devices that will occupy the planet by 2020, efficiency and size are more important than ever.

IoT needs to become part of the curriculum from grade school through high school. Students’ experience with products and services leveraging the IoT will prepare them for handling IoT-related tasks by using the skills and products they learned in school.

How are you contributing to students who will live in an IoT world? Read more about IoT Services from AT&T and AT&T Aspire.

Scott Koegler is an independent business writer and the author of this blog. All opinions are his own. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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