What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things conveys information communicated by network aware objects that connect the physical world with the world of information through the web. It does so through TCP/IP, the set of standards that enables network connections and specifies how information finds its way to and from the myriad of connections it contains. TCP/IP was formulated in the 1970s by Vinton Cerf and Robert E. Kahn. The advent of TCP/IP v6, launched in 2006, added enormous new addressing capabilities to the Internet, and enabled objects and the information they might carry in attached sensors or devices to be addressable and searchable across the web. This expanded address space is particularly useful for tracking objects that monitor sensitive equipment or materials, point-of-sale purchases, passport tracking, inventory management, identification, and similar applications. Embedded chips, sensors, or tiny processors attached to an object allow helpful information about the object, such as cost, age, temperature, color, pressure, or humidity to be transmitted over the Internet. This simple connection allows remote management, status monitoring, tracking, and alerts if the objects they are attached to are in danger of being damaged or spoiled. Traditional web tools allow objects to be annotated with descriptions, photographs, and connections to other objects, and any other contextual information. The Internet of Things makes access to these data as easy as it is to use the web.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - troybagwell1 troybagwell1 Jan 30, 2014 The idea of the "Internet of Things" that was first coined by Kevin Ashton seems to be taking hold. Internet enabled "things" like smart thermostats(NEST), smart cars, refrigerators, etc. seems to hold opportunities in learning. I can envision internet enabled "things" that can be accessed from mobile devices. For example, probes in science classes can be wireless and placed in remote locations for monitoring from a student device. Right now we still mostly connect things to our personal device with a cable. There seems to be great opportunity in the future for this idea.
  • See note under Machine Learning.- jmorrison jmorrison Jan 29, 2014
  • This holds great promise for many areas, science labs, physical education activities, and getting things connected for learning.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014
  • - judy.oconnell judy.oconnellThe internet of things is also about linked-data. Understanding semantic interoperability is way outside the average teacher's brief - yet foundational in it's effect on the transformations within our technology driven societies.The **Semantic Web** is a vision of information that is immediately understandable by computers, so computers can perform more of the tedious work involved in finding, combining, and acting upon information on the web. As the Semantic Web becomes more of a realization, new technologies will also continue to enhance the learning process making flexibility and adaptability a keystone of learning. The unlimited mashup of dynamic information, all portable and tailored to your preferences will be the vehicle for learning in the future. Linked Data is powering the web and it is in the area of school libraries and qualified information professionals, or computer specialists who can help us catch up. Without understanding this critical shift, our discussions of technology are more 'excitable' than driven by the underpinning processes.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • The fact that while being talked about there is almost no one really laying out a track to get there.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014
  • The cost of sensors / transmitters. No problem if you are using existing networks and big data but if you want to set up something in a school and scale it, the current cost (e.g. 70USD?) of the technology to connect the 'thing' can be prohibitive. - roger.blamire roger.blamire
  • Costs are on a trajectory to be greatly reduced for the processers and sensors. Intel Quark technology is an example of very low power, light processing and small size sensors at cost structures that enable larger ecosystems. http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/quark/intel-quark-technologies.html
    For ecosystem to take hold standards/instruction set compatibility will be needed. - russell.beauregard russell.beauregard Feb 10, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • With the possibility of gaining a slice of the market, this will definitely have impact. "Cisco CEO Pegs Internet of Things as $19 Trillion Market." - michael.lambert michael.lambert Jan 30, 2014
  • - troybagwell1 troybagwell1 Jan 30, 2014 Science education can be impacted by having probes that may not be local to the student but can be placed in remote locations. For example, devices measuring particulates in the air could be placed at various intersections throughout a community and that data could be collected by students over a period of time without having to retrieve the device or plug into it to collect data.
  • http://www.cio.com/article/747319/Cisco_Unveils_39_fog_Computing_39_to_Bridge_Clouds_and_the_Internet_of_Things?page=1&taxonomyId=3024- jmorrison jmorrison Jan 31, 2014 This is how I see it having the first impact for education.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014
  • - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 9, 2014The significance lies in access and mashup. Being able to access information, images, data, and so on via linked data (and the internet of things) can revolutionize the nature of information engagement for students. More and more organizations are releasing their materials via linked data. However, unless you keep track of these via the GLAM sector (galleries, libraries, archives and museums), educators miss out. Access to cultural resources such as Europeana are transforming what is possible. http://www.europeana.eu/
  • - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 9, 2014 If students are collecting data out in the field for research, tagging physical objects to find and analyze data about the object (and have to feed into other programs for analysis) is one way the Internet of Things can be used in education. Once the students set up the process (tagging the item, associating certain data and commends to feed that data to other servers for analysis), they can sit back, collect the data and run it through various programs for their research. Having to go out to the physical object all the time to collect data on different conditions will be a thing of the past. The students will have 24 hour data collection, which will make their research more accurate.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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