The Internet of Things, or IoT, is becoming ubiquitous. How can we prepare our students (and our classrooms) to adapt to this technology?


Alexa, tell me a joke. Siri, how many hours of sleep did I get last night? Google, where are my keys?

The Internet of Things is just about everywhere — you probably use it every day. But if you’re unfamiliar with the term, you’re not alone. We break it down for you.

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to anything with these three primary components:

  1. The Internet
  2. A mobile application
  3. A device with an on-off switch

In other words, Internet + mobile app + on-off switch = IoT.

Almost any standalone Internet-connected device that can be monitored (or controlled) from a remote location can be considered IoT. Some popular IoT devices include the Amazon Echo Dot, the Samsung Smart Refrigerator, and the iRobot Roomba Vacuum.

Why is IoT valuable?

Eventually, we can expect IoT to affect every industry, bringing benefits to many aspects of our lives. Some industries will experience more immediate improvements, including transportation (e.g., smart cars), energy (e.g., Nest), and health and fitness (e.g., Fitbit).

How can IoT devices help students and educators?

IoT devices can help both teachers and students collect data, analyze it, and make decisions accordingly. They can also encourage teachers to rethink how we facilitate learning with our students. In the future, IoT devices could even eliminate the mundane task of taking attendance (think Tile for students). And imagine if educators could monitor the safety of students on campus using Ring?

How can I incorporate IoT into the classroom?

Expose students to the inner-workings of IoT with these three kits:

  • The AIY Vision Kit from Google. This 90-minute activity allows your students to build their own intelligent camera and experiment with image recognition through machine learning. It even has a “Joy Detector,” which allows it to recognize faces and smiling.
  • Arduino Kit. Designed to help kids get excited about coding and electronics, this kit comes with 15 projects for $87, including a lamp, keyboard, and more.
  • Sphero. Sphero robots give students the opportunity to explore IoT, learning programming skills and strengthening their creative muscles in the process.

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