Beacons in 21st Century Teaching and Learning

There’s a new research paper by Charles Atherton, School of Education, University of Bristol, UK on Beacons: A tool for 21st Century teaching and learning?

Research took place in a school in the UK in June 2017 using a platform called Studywiz and the eLockers iOS app. It looked into the use of iBeacons to provide for enquiry-based learning, independent learning and individualisation.

The initial description of beacons is misleading:

“Beacons consist of a database inside a plastic casing (see Figure 2). They are ‘pas-sive’ (McDonald & Glover 2016, p. 3) pieces of technology that simply ‘push’ their content to any receptive device.”

This isn’t true. The content lies somewhere else, usually in an app or on a server.

The research found that beacons can be used to allow students to learn at their own pace while relieving teachers to provide move individual tuition. There were technical challenges with local network connectivity and closeness of beacons but these were eventually resolved.