My last post was on the list of ten edtech trends to watch out for the next few years. Here's my next post on one of the future trends, iBeacons or the beacon technology.

Trend #1 - iBeacons or beacons

Photo credit: Nalder, Jo. (2016) Beacons by jnxyz.education. Available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jnxyz/13571106354/in/photostream/ (Accessed: 11 January 2016).

iBeacons are a much talked about technology in the retail world but it is slowly finding it's place into education. The Beacon is a BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) device based on Bluetooth 4.0. In the world of IoT (Internet of Things) the iBeacon technology is a significant step forward especially in education as the application for this technology in the classroom and around schools is endless.

Beacons placed strategically around a room or campus can connect to devices or apps that can communicate with it and deliver custom location-based content. In the retail industry beacons are used to deliver content to shoppers based on their location within a store. In a school the possibilities with the beacons are endless. Imagine your pupils walking into your classroom with their devices and the content for the lesson is automatically delivered as soon as they step in through the door? Pupils walking past your department or classroom may have a 'homework reminder' notification that is due in today! Prospective pupils and parents visiting the school could get a personalised welcome message as soon as they step into the school reception. Open days will be much more fun with prospective pupils and parents receiving localised content as soon as they step into the different 'department zones'. In the future with the help of a 'registration app' this technology could even be used to take automatic pupil attendance to lessons and take the burden out of tracking class attendance. This is something that I'm exploring at the moment. Yes, the possibilities are endless!

Stephen Perse Foundation has made excellent developments in the use of beacon technology in education. Working with a company called 'Locly' they used the beacon technology to create a student app, learning zones & self-discovery displays, setup several information points around the school especially for open days and other learning & teaching projects involving sharing & working in groups. You can read more about it's use at Stephen Perse schools here: www.educate1to1.org/potential-ibeacon-schools

I also highly recommend this interesting slide share presentation on '15 uses of beacons in education': http://www.slideshare.net/ValaAfshar/9381-16usesofbeaconsinedu-v3