I’m not sure who first coined the term “IoT” (Internet Of Things), but it sure sums up life today.
Networked devices of all kinds have quickly and seamlessly woven themselves into our daily lives, and our consciousness. Everything we do somehow operates by connecting to the Internet.
I have been the electronics industry for a long time now. I don’t think anyone really anticipated how quickly and fully the IoT would infiltrate our lives. It was so organic. There was no governing body, or planning committee. It has truly been the entrepreneur spirit that has created the movement form static, stand along devices, to a fully connected world. And it certainly is elegant.
In the world of professional and broadcast AV, the IoT has transformed everything. We can now bring remote IP cameras into a production from anywhere in the world, in real time, in full HD. We can bring in audio devices from every remote corner of a building into a single control board, through the magic of Dante. Services like Skype and FaceTime (equal time for the opposing sides!), can bring audio and video into a production using cellular devices. Our productions, and content are expanded out across the world, making the stories we are telling so much more interesting. And everything is controlled from a single computer located anywhere the producer needs it to be. Streaming is everything.
What This Means For Our Students
With the IoT is prevalent as it is today, it is crucial that our students understand the basics of networking. How to build a network, and work within it is a skill that everyone will need. Anyone working in production will be using a networked device of some sort. Basics like how to terminate an Ethernet cable, to more complex and advanced tasks like how to design and operate a network will be skills that all technicians will need.
So, what are we doing in our classrooms to address this situation? From the small and very unscientific survey I have done, I can say the answer is “Not Enough”. That’s not to say that we are failing as educators. It’s just that this IoT movement has been slowly creeping into our lives over that past few years, and has now exploded at such a fast and expansive rate. Even people within the electronics industry are struggling to keep up with the complexity of our new world. I don’t see how our schools could possibly have done anything to prepare our students.
But all of that must change, and it must change very quickly if we are to fully prepare our future generations to enter the work world. The IoT is everywhere, and unavoidable. It’s crucial that we start teaching the basics of networking to everyone, in the same way we teach math, or a foreign language. The network is the road that will be carrying important information to the far corners of the world, and everyplace in between. It touches everyone’s lives.
I’m not saying we are not doing anything. I do know of classes on networking in higher education that exist. To my knowledge, there are no beginners networking classes in K-12. If there is, I’d like to see what it looks like.
Calling All Teachers
So, this is my call out to all of the educators who are responsible for developing new curriculum. Embrace the IoT. Write and deliver classes that address it. Take the steps needed to bring this information to all of our students. They will need it to survive in the work world. That is where the careers. That is where our future is.
Perry Goldstein is an electronic industry veteran, with experience in the consumer, Pro AV, and broadcast fields. Perry is also a widely published writer and speaker for the electronics industry. He is a guest lecturer in the California Community College system, specializing in Digital Marketing. He is also a volunteer at Friendship Circle, and organization serving the special needs community.