Design a product that could live in the “Internet of Things” for the classroom.
Before this week I did not know there was such a world as the “internet of things”.
Don’t get me wrong I have quite a few of those little internet things. One of my new favorites is my Amazon Echo or Alexa as we call her. I got her for my birthday. She’s pretty fun….in a Siri kind of way. She gets more things right then Siri but also gets a LOT of things wrong. Maybe where I live is part of the problem with her usefulness? I don’t need a lot of traffic advice, I can look out the window and see, smell and hear my weather. BUT she is entertaining and plays great music. Fancy, non-essential, totally ridiculous.
As an emerging technology the internet of things has quite a few advantages then just telling me the weather. Daniel Burrus from Wired magazine tells us that the internet of things is not about the machines communicating with each other or M2M but about the sensors that are in the machines. And the sensors communicating with the cloud is what makes the internet of things bigger. Sensors he says aren’t machines. A sensors job is to communicate information (sometimes TOO much information). But the information can be life saving.
A sensor is not a machine. It doesn’t do anything in the same sense that a machine does. It measures, it evaluates; in short, it gathers data. The Internet of Things really comes together with the connection of sensors and machines. That is to say, the real value that the Internet of Things creates is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging it. All the information gathered by all the sensors in the world isn’t worth very much if there isn’t an infrastructure in place to analyze it in real-time. Daniel Burrus
But when does the internet of things become a little too much Big Brother?
Did you know there is a IoT for a wine bottles? Diaper sensors? Even one to tell you when to floss your teeth? I had some fun picking around the internet this week discovering all the cool things I could buy for my daily life. Sensors to tell me anything I needed to know and to keep me healthy too!! That flosser one is just too good so here it is.
The designers even told me that with MY help I can create a better world of dental hygiene just by brushing my teeth!
And maybe this is where it so clearly belongs as an emerging technology? We haven’t quite figured out what to do with ALL the information available to us. What makes it useful? What am I really tracking? Putting aside all the potential for bad, Let’s think about what it might look like in a classroom. As in a perfect world classroom where no one was judging my teaching by the data being collected by sensors.
I teach kindergarten which means my days are active. We often do not sit for any longer than 15 minutes a time either at our tables or on the rug. Even this amount of time is often too much for many of the kids, who need to be up and moving. So I am proposing a pie in the sky seating solution.
My invention would include a small pillow that would be equipped with a sensor. This pillow could be carried by the child from their table seat to their rug seat and would be personalized. The seat would be able to track the amount of time students were sitting and not fidgeting. This information could be gathered and sent to my iPad. I would be able to track the average amount of time the majority of my students are able to remain on task and tailor my lessons to this time. I could also see the potential for an alarm to warn me when too many of my students are off task so that I could quickly move to a different activity.