Introduced in mid 2013 as a feature of iOS 7, Apple’s mobile notifications system iBeacon was created to help retailers notify in-store customers of particular offers or products. Now installed in a number of stores around the US, innovators are starting to experiment with other uses for this very personalised technology.

One educator, Paul Hamilton, has been doing some really interesting work creating “Learning Zones“, spaces that draw students in and link them to relevant learning material.

A huge part of engaging students is how information is presented, delivered and discovered. The concept of “Learning Zones” allows students to explore a physical space and locate information for themselves, taking this engagement to a whole new level.

What the beacon technology is doing, is bringing the students in. Drawing them into the learning experience.

In Paul’s library setup, there is a magical merging of virtual learning on the iPad, and using that engagement to encourage exploration of the physical space and it’s multitude of resources.

The students can sit around this beacon, be drawn in, and then actually access good book reviews and then go to the library and find out where they are.

Take a look at how Paul is using iBeacon to bring together digital and physical space within the school:

iBeacon Technology in Education Demonstration

What are your thoughts on how iBeacon technology could change the way your students interact with the space around them? Can you see this technology working in your school, library or classroom?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

 

Feature image Antenna icon designed by DEADTYPE for The Noun Project.

6 Comments

  1. Where do you get the beacons? The software exists on apple’s end but there is not too much out there on purchasing beacons.

    1. You’re right Kyle… It’s not yet as easy as walking into a store and picking a few up. It seems Apple have been intentionally slow in the rollout to allow testing in their own and a few select stores.

      They have very recently released the specs to developers though (http://beekn.net/2014/02/apple-releases-ibeacon-specification/) so I think you can expect to see iBeacons and iBeacon technology popping up everywhere soon enough.

      If you do have access to a Raspberry Pi, you could give this little project a go though:
      http://www.tuaw.com/2013/10/10/roll-your-own-ibeacon-with-a-raspberry-pi-and-a-bluetooth-le-don/

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