IoT Roundup:

Leveraging the Internet of Things in the K-12 Classroom

Jen Looper

Developer Advocate




What is the Internet of Things?

Lots of small, embedded, interconnected, smart, low-power devices

  • "lots"
  • "small"
  • "embedded"
  • "interconnected"
  • "smart"
  • "low-power"

For example:

  • Program your mailbox to alert you when mail is delivered
  • Program your thermostat to turn on a few hours before you return from vacation
  • Make your garage door sense when you arrive and open for ONLY you
  • Program your bathroom scale to lock the refrigerator door...

Current commercial uses

  • modern pacemakers
  • 'smart refrigerators'
  • Nest thermostats
  • Fitbit, Jawbone



So many toys. So little time.


  • Familiarize students with hardware
  • Teach students programming concepts
  • Approach programming via art
  • Hack together a project for use in class to solve a practical problem

Raspberry Pi

bringing IoT to teachers, kids, families, and Makers everywhere

What is RPi?

a machine:

  • Credit-card sized Linux computer
  • Comes with several USB ports
  • ...and an Ethernet port
  • uses SD card to load software
  • HDMI output port
  • 26 pin expansion header exposing GPIO pins
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • microUSB power connector
  • designed for teachers and K-12 students
  • object: teach kids how to code
  • very cheap: ~$20
  • huge community of makers, students, teachers
  • many online resources and teacher training
  • run by Raspberry Pi charitable foundation  <3

What is RPi?

a community:

the downside:

time consuming to set up

  • need some parts: monitor, keyboard, power cord, ethernet cable for internet access, SD card to install the OS
  • need some time: to install the OS
  • needs add-ons to enable sensors


RPis are good for:

  • a cheaper setup for teaching kids how to code, esp. Python
  • easy access to Scratch and Python software like Turtle for programmable art projects
  • a way to connect to other IoT devices - ex: connect your RPi to an Arduino



Demo - Turtle art on RPi


"the device that launched 1000 startups!"

What are Arduinos?


  • a cheap, easy way to create devices that interact with your environment
  • use sensors and actuators
  • >16 different types
  • write code on your computer, 'flash' to Arduino, magic happens


  • Rely on your computer setup
  • Don't include connection to internet
  • Need 'shields' and at least a starter kit for sensors and connecting wires

Arduinos are good for

  • Hardware hacking with sensors
  • Learning about circuitry using "Fritzing" diagrams
  • Learning how to program using C/C++ language
  • Learn a more professional programming process - plan, write, test, <rinse/repeat> within an IDE

Build amazing stuff!

Spark Core

  • A wifi-enabled Arduino
  • Flash content to it over the cloud
  • Sophisticated programming environment
  • Great if you have easy access to Wifi
  • Automate everything with a suite of Cores

Things to build

  • Anything you can build with an Arduino you can build with a Spark, but updating it is easier.
  • Build a classroom environmental monitor and add to it progressively (temp/humidity/light)
  • Build a book check-in/check-out system tracked on an internet service 
  • Make a motion-sensitive birdfeed monitor to email you pictures of visiting birds

Demo - the 'kid summoner'

Estimote Beacons

  • a bit of memory
  • accelerometer
  • temperature sensor
  • bluetooth
  • long-lived battery
  • gecko-sticky!

Beacons broadcast a signal over bluetooth

  • estimates distance
  • places phone in a context
  • measures signal strength
  • can ping 10x/second

your phone picks it up if an app is listening for it

Locate a book using a beacon

"Petting Zoo"

take a look!

Using the Internet of Things in the Classroom

By Telerik DevRel

Using the Internet of Things in the Classroom

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