Internet of Things for 21st-Century Learners

In the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) era, defined by ubiquitous networks of interconnected and Internet-enabled objects, digital technology fluency is more valuable than ever. At the core of IoT are microcontrollers, sensors, actuators, and MEMS. Groundbreaking innovation requires an understanding of the concepts behind these devices. As Albrecht Schmidt argues in a 2016 article published in IEEE Pervasive Computing, “As digital technologies become embedded in our everyday world, and as ubiquitous computing becomes commonplace, we need to better educate people about computer science concepts, regardless of their professional goals in life.”

How can we best prepare students for the IoT era, especially given that many of their future jobs haven’t been invented yet? Integrating IoT platforms and visual programming languages (VPLs) into curricula has been shown to not only teach computer science concepts but also encourage critical thinking and innovation.

This June 2017 Computing Now theme discusses new ways for teachers to encourage digital literacy in the IoT era. The selected articles introduce methods for integrating IoT into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education while simultaneously building educational environments that value problem solving and exploration. Additionally, the videos highlight how working with open-source IoT platforms can help foster creativity in 21st-century learners.

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