iBeacons in education

For a while now I have been exploring the use of beacon technology.  I was first really introduced to the technology by @gavinsmart through the work he was doing in school, medicine then on an Apple Institute in San Diego last year I had some first hand experience of using beacons in the field (or actually more like a desert)

Since then I have been trialling and now developing several school projects to look at how it can really have an impact on teaching and learning.

We are using the @locly platform to build our projects and then creating custom apps for the schools so they are more secure.

The projects are all based around developing engaging learning opportunities in the classroom (and beyond) to transform learning environments for the children.

The beacons work by sending a message to a mobile device app and automating a process.  For example going near a beacon could prompt a video to appear on the users device.  These apps can be bespoke to the school environment and really create new opportunities for learning.

As a PE teacher I was really inspired by the beacon technology and the opportunities it can provide for outdoor learning and supporting independence.  To start looking at this the first project to start was a gym based use.  In most instances this could be seen as a bit gimmicky, pharm simply having beacons transmit information to an app that could otherwise be on a poster on the wall.  The project was more than that though, to develop a new learning and teaching experience for the students.  By creating the project in Locly I was able to create a project that enabled students in their theory sessions to make instructional content for the gym that also doubled up as their coursework for their studies.  By doing this the students had a real authentic audience for their work.  The younger students using the gym now not only had support materials (video and documents) but it was also relevant to them as it was their fellow students creating it.  The materials then get updated regularly to meet the learners needs.  A real transformation.

Other projects are in the classroom, again working along the same lines and developing learning opportunities for the students to create and communicate with their peers and beyond, the beacons fully support this process.

Future developments will involve looking at other models for use in PE from supporting independent study outside to orienteering courses and fitness trails.

This really is an exciting time working in education with technology.

Get in touch to find out more.

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