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Internet of Things (IoT): Education and Technology. The relationship between education and technology for students with disabilities

Report by Leanne McRae, Katie Ellis and Mike Kent, Curtin University
February 2018

Executive Summary

In 2016 Curtin University launched its vision for 2030 which frames the development of the campus as a ‘City of Innovation’ as part of its ‘Greater Curtin’ branding. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a key feature of this vision. The IoT enables advanced services through the interconnecting of information and communication technologies. While much of the popular literature about IoT focuses on implications in the home, its benefits to education are just starting to be explored. The creation of smaller, wireless devices that require little power to meet the core functionality – that is, in most cases, to be controlled by a smartphone – provides significant new opportunities for student engagement in the areas of automation and remote controlling of devices. However, many of the IoT uses appearing in education are still in their infancy. As such, there is little information about the benefits, risks and access implications of current IoT solutions for students – this is particularly the case for those students with disabilities.

This report details findings of the Curtin University Teaching Innovation funded project Internet of Things (IoT) Education: Implications for Students with Disabilities. This project aimed to provide insight into both the potential risks and benefits of the IoT for tertiary students with disabilities, particularly in the current university climate where this cohort utilise mobile devices as a key resource in their learning. Our key objectives included to:

  • assess the educational benefits of current and emerging IoT products
  • assess the benefits and risks of IoT within a single-interface, app-based interface and whole-of-ecosystem IoT classroom solution by competing providers
  • determine the relevance and implications of IoT as it relates to the educational needs of people with disabilities
  • undertake interviews with currently enrolled students with disabilities to identify the practical needs of this cohort in an educational context
  • provide recommendations and strategic guidance on appropriate IoT solutions with policy recommendations for Curtin University, the tertiary education sector and industry.

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Posted 22 February 2018 Posted in Disability, General