How can the IOT supercharge a superhero?

For a while now I’ve been exploring the work around the Internet of Things (IOT) and how creative school projects can link to the ideas and considerations from the world of data. In particular, collected data and analysis from the children themselves.

As ever, it’s been a two-fold exercise to incorporate teacher CPD alongside projects in the formal curriculum, through enrichment activities and student event days.

Recently though, I’ve been looking at ways to engage younger children through ideas connected with the IOT and to glean some of their thoughts and opinions. To hear those responses from this age group and to listen to their abstraction methods moving the IOT on from their conceptual level has added to my own learning, most definitely!

The IOT fits perfectly into the project arenas for ‘technology in an ever-changing world’ and ‘safe and responsible use of tech’, but for this age range of children aged 8-11 years who have perhaps never known what it’s like to get lost in a car, miss a TV show broadcast once or NOT get Google to answer a question in sub 2 seconds, what does it mean to them?  And what exactly is it?

“Oh Crumbs!” was possibly the first thought but last opinion on my mind at the announcement last year that Dangermouse and Penfold were coming back to our screens in 2015.  And it’s given me the basis of an investigative project looking at the impact of the IOT on one of our favourite superheroes.

With the all-new series launching this year, will Dangermouse have changed in any way?

How can tech, wearable or not, and the IOT make him a more effective hero?

Introducing and defining the Internet of Things and getting children to think of ways to improve his explorative and crime-fighting credentials brought out some insightful soundbites that I’ll share in more detail at a later date.

Dangermouse 2015

The Oxford Dictionary defines the IOT as:

“The interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data”

And thoughts from Y4:

“It’s the centre of technology.”

“Where all the important stuff and data goes about people’s lifestyle. Like what they do in the day (and night), where they go, how they get there and who they’re with.”

“It should make life easier but you need to be careful about sharing your personal information.”

And more investigations from Y4:

Once they started to consider the supercharging of a superhero approach with the IOT, then other questions started to arise.

  • Can pirates ever escape when all the information about what they’re doing is in one place?
  • What could we find out about the Loch Ness Monster if Nessie was connected to the IOT?
  • What does the Beast of Bodmin really get up to? We could find out!
  • How can my football team get even better and win the title?
  • Will my dad never have to do the supermarket shoppping on the computer, then?

Interesting thoughts and realisations maybe to consider at some point đŸ™‚

What’s next?

We’re moving to the next phase of projects looking at the impact of health data on educational attainment and also extending decision making opportunities using environmental data as a citizenship project.

Schools, teachers and learners have piloted technologies and data collection on a fairly small scale but now we’re at the point of embracing portal tech to support big data.  And if I talk about disregarding geography, I mean in a barrier to collection sense.   I’m keen to think about comparative studies either side of the Pennines.

All through those amazing opportunities that come from working and learning with large numbers of teachers and children from primary, secondary and SEN schools in a couple of cities with a focus on inclusive Computing.  If there was ever an opening for a big data project…….there is and there are.

On reflection

Sometimes there’s a difference in reaction from adults and children to the ideas and capabilities of the IOT.  No sharp intake of breath from the children about privacy concerns or transfer of information but they communicate a strong message reinforced from e-safety lessons.  Perhaps when tech has always been at the core of a digital native’s life that brings with it the sense of ever an evolving world?  And with differing priorities due to experiences, knowledge and the outlook of adults? That’s a huge piece of research and not one that we’ll ever formalise…….great to get snippets to share, though.

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