The Internet of things and intelligent curriculum

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IBM defines the Internet of Things (IoT) as a vast, global data field of natural and man-made systems [1]. As time passes there are more things on the Internet than people on the Internet – hence the term “Internet of things”. Our planet has become a smarter planet, with isolated systems becoming connected.  Consider your house. Once homes were isolated but now they are connected to other systems such as the power grid, the telephone system, and the World Wide Web. We have a system of systems. Consider taxis or buses as another example, once isolated but now broadcasting their status and GPS positions.

Not only is our world more interconnected, we also have the hardware and software to capture and analyze the data that is created. This is what analytics does: picture a pyramid with Data on the bottom, then an Information layer, then a Knowledge layer, and finally Wisdom at the top [1]. We have a sea of data at the bottom, we apply some intelligence to it, and transform it up that pyramid stack.
Data -> Information -> Knowledge -> Wisdom. This is the goal of analytics.

Intelligent curriculum can be defined as “the development of semantically defined curricular resources” [2]. Truly intelligent curriculum will go beyond analyzing and predicting student behaviour and adapt to the learner’s needs. The concept of intelligent curriculum is demonstrated in the Knewton Adaptive Learning Platform [3]. Knewton assesses what students know and how they learn best. The system tracks what each student does as well as their attention span. Rather than a one-size-fits-all system, it creates a custom fit to the student. Knewton provides teachers with detailed analytical tools, and it identifies struggling students and concepts that are not mastered.

What will the future of teaching and learning look like? I can imagine an interconnected, intelligent learning network. Your smart phone just gave you the results of your calculus midterm … you didn’t do so well … the University’s learning system is strongly suggesting you finally sign up for extra tutorials … you’re surprised it isn’t saying “I told you so” because it did recommend that weeks ago … and it gives you a list of times that fit in with your schedule … for face to face sessions because you are going to need that … you even have a choice of a group session or one-on-one … because, well, you didn’t do so well on that midterm.

Internet Map - from wikipedia
Internet Map – from wikipedia
[1] Internet of things [Video]. Retrieved from

[2] Long, P. & Siemens, G. (September 12, 2011). Penetrating the Fog: Analytics in Learning and Education. Educause Review Online. Retrieved from

[3] Knewton adaptive learning platform – Tutorial [Video]. Retrieved from

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