iBeacons for Learning

There’s new research Exploring Bluetooth Beacon Use Cases in Teaching and Learning: Increasing the Sustainability of Physical Learning Spaces that reviews selected use cases of Bluetooth beacons in educational situations.

The paper covers attendance monitoring, smart campus operation, dissemination of educational content to students and the use of augmented reality (AR) combined with beacons.

App iClassPolyU used for research

Read about Beacons in Education

Student Attendance Monitoring with iBeacons

SEAtS Software, a student attendance monitoring solution has a new article that takes a look at options for implementing student attendance monitoring. It compares using iBeacons, mag stripe card readers, GPS, WiFi and QR codes.

SEAtS Attendance Monitoring Using iBeacons

The article concludes that iBeacons are best because they are easy to install, provide the best accuracy, are affordable, easy to use and reduce administration time.

Read about Beacons in Education

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.

iBeacon Driven Mobile Device Management for Education

Jamf School is a device management solution for education. It allows you to track devices and see their status. It uses iBeacon to allow subject learning material to be unlocked when students enter specific areas.

The Jamf web site has some useful content on using iBeacons in education:

Invisible Candles: Exploring IT Applications of iBeacons with Your JSS
Paul Cowan—IT Manager at the University of Waikato explains iBeacons, how they have evolved, how museums are using iBeacons to share information with visitors and how the Casper Suite can be used trigger events and gather proximity data.

iBeacons in Education
Video webinar on proximity-based technology and how it can be used to distribute and manage technologies in education environments. Covers privacy considerations, casper suite and jamf.

See the Light (and benefits) of iBeacon
Video on how Apple’s iBeacon technology works and when you would want to use it.

The benefits of iBeacons for education
Article on using iBeacons for device management and unlocking learning materials.

Jamf also has many more blog posts on using iBeacons in Education.

Time and Attendance Management

A common usecase for beacons is time and attendance management. This involves needing to know who has been where and for how long.

Our gateways have been used in education for automatically recording student registration. They have been particularly suitable in ‘open lab’ type scenarios where there’s not always staff around to record attendance. Beacons are given to students that are recorded by gateways. It’s also possible to have the gateways act as beacons so that smartphone apps can unlock things such as electronic teaching materials on a student-by-student basis.

Another usecase is personal tracking of time spent in places or on projects for expensing to clients. Again, this can be done accurately and automatically.

A further usecase we have come across is the use of our beacons on evidence-based policing. Police officers on the beat often have to account for how long they have spent at particular locations. An Android app carried by officers records beacons (location) and sends the data to a central server. This prevents the need for paper based processes to determine who has been where.

There’s ready made software available such as Seats Software and Calamari. However, we find that clients sometimes have more specific, yet simpler needs that don’t necessarily map well to ready-made solutions.

Consider our development services.