A Journey Through Technology

Week 5:Design an object that could be classified as belonging to “The Internet of Things” and describe how it could contribute to your classroom.

on June 17, 2016

What is the Internet of Things?

This week our focus is on designing a device that belongs to the Internet of Things (IoT) that can be used in a classroom to benefit student learning. In order to star the design process, it’s important to understand what the IoT is. “The Internet of Things revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication; it’s built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors; it’s mobile, virtual, and instantaneous connection; and they say it’s going to make everything in our lives from streetlights to seaports “smart.”” (Burrus, 2014) This explanation makes me think of objects in our lives that can “learn” and use that information to enhance our lives.

One example of one of those objects is the Nest Learning Thermostat (Nest Learning Thermostat, n.d.). The Nest learns how you like the temperature of you house to be, and within about a week of installation, it will automatically maintain the temperature of your house how you like it to be. I remember the first time I saw a commercial for the Nest, I thought that was the craziest thing I had ever heard of. Now there are so many different devices that do similar things that people all over the world are using. In Britain, the government is encouraging energy companies to use smart meters to increase efficiency and use less energy. (Kobie, 2015) But the question now becomes, how can we use the Internet of Things in education?

Device Design

To start designing my device, I read through Max Meyer’s “Can the Internet of Things make education more student-focused?”. He mentions a few devices that currently exist that could really make a classroom more student-centered. “Teachers are freed from managing classroom procedures to focus more fully on students – and perhaps focus more incisively too.” (Meyers, 2014) This would be my ultimate goal in designing an IoT device for my classroom.

I envision my device being some sort of wearable technology that would be registered to each student. The first thing I want it to do is take attendance as soon as students walk in the room. This would free up time each day that could be better spent focused on student learning and activity. I would also like the device to be able to track whether or not a student is paying attention. If a student is not engaged in class, the device could vibrate or do something else to let the student know they need to get back on task. Keeping students on task can take up a lot of time as well, so not having to worry about that would leave more time for students to work, hopefully on things that keep them more engaged.

The device could keep track of student data over the course of a semester or school year, and teachers could compare both attendance and on-task data with student performance for analyzing instruction and future planning. To maintain student privacy, the only teachers with access to the information would be current teachers, and the information would be placed in a password-protected location that is only accessible through the school district. The data could also be coded with numbers for each student for additional security. The more I think about this device, the more things could be added. I imagine if I thought about this for a longer period of time, it could become even more useful for teachers everywhere.


Burrus, D. (2014, November). The Internet of Things Is Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes. Retrieved June 14, 2016, from http://www.wired.com/insights/2014/11/the-internet-of-things-bigger/

Kobie, N. (2015, May 06). What is the internet of things? Retrieved June 14, 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/06/what-is-the-internet-of-things-google

Meyers, M. (2014, December 03). Can the Internet of Things make education more student-focused? – Government 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2016, from http://government-2020.dupress.com/can-internet-things-make-education-student-focused/

Nest Learning Thermostat. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2016, from https://store.nest.com/product/thermostat/?utm_source=en-ha-na-sem


3 responses to “Week 5:Design an object that could be classified as belonging to “The Internet of Things” and describe how it could contribute to your classroom.

  1. Neat idea! I’m all for anything that can make life easier as a teacher.

    I think it would be hard to have the device monitor student engagement. There are many teachers that have a different idea of what on task vs off task looks like. Some student may look like they are on task but are not. Where as other students are on task but look like they are not. If it works this could be an amazing device!


  2. edtech133 says:

    This is a great idea! It really is the little things that rob us of valuable instruction time, which is all that this device is about, time! I love being able to alert the student when they begin to “drift”. It could also be custom made for them: one long vibrate? several short bursts? Another great thing is you could track when they drift with instruction. Example: what was my pedagogy when 6 of my students drifted off? What can I change in my instruction that will grab their attention? Very cool!


  3. Sarah, What a cool device! I really appreciate how you discussed the importance of security and privacy with the design of your device as this is so important and must be covered before bringing these devices into the classroom. The data collected would really help to inform instruction to best meet your students needs. I love the idea of a gentle reminder to students to stay on task. Would this be automatic or would you have to signal it? I guess I’m thinking of some students I’ve had in the past that need to fidget a little bit in order to fully listen or participate (whether it’s bouncing in their chair or squeezing a stress ball)…would the device be able to differentiate this from off task behavior? I saw a similar idea (the vibration reminder) somewhere and was discussing it with a couple of my sisters. They both had the same response (at different times) “like a dog collar?!?!?” We talked about how it’s not for training, rather a gentle reminder, but their response left me wondering if parents would have a similar reaction and if so how they would feel about it. What do you think?


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