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, colour, pressure, or humidity to be transmitted over the Internet. This simple connection allows remote management, status monitoring, tracking, and even 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, instructions, warranties, tutorials, photographs, connections to other objects, and any other kind of 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?

  • Many software companies track our responses, gadgets inform our decisions and tech tools/apps narrow our learning goal. Problem: We're not utilizing many of these tools to drive our instruction and create new learning environments for students. We need to shift and embrace these tools. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Aug 31, 2013
  • add your response here

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

  • As educators how do we begin thinking about instruction/tools with this concept in mind? We all have an email account, most students have a web-portfolio, smartphones are at our fingertips...thus, what are some of the main "Internet of Things" we should use? We have critical apps, essential software on our laptops, etc. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Aug 31, 2013
  • Discussions of privacy must be occurring at the same time. These objects often have the ability to interact with passing devices and as more of the population carry devices that may be capable of that interaction, the capacity of monitor an individual increases with each new device that connects. I was recently discussing the opportunity this might represent in the area of learning analytics by presenting a fuller picture of what students are actually doing, but at the same time I am frightened by the possibilities. Interesting discussion - http://www.information-age.com/technology/information-management/2113628/privacy-smart-meters-and-the-internet-of-things
    . - alanwolf alanwolf Sep 3, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

  • 10 Everyday Objects That Can Be Programmed To Run Code. Imagine a course built around this theme--The Internet of Things? - michael.lambert michael.lambert Aug 31, 2013
  • I am always looking for new interesting sources of data that could be used with students and the array of sensors that might be available could be just that, and further, one where analyses might be useful to the people managing these systems, bringing in the real world hook that can be useful in engaging students. - alanwolf alanwolf Sep 3, 2013

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

Please share information about related projects via our NMC Horizon Report project submission form.