iBeacon technology is already researched by many educators, who see great potential in combining them with their field of education. One of the great examples of this is the Clevedon Handbook project, which is an app for schools created by a 15 year-old student, Lewis Smallwood together with Assistant Director at Clevedon Learning Hub and Apple Distinguished Educator,Mr Gavin Smart.
The app supports context-based notifications and enables students to download resources when they are relevant for them.
Within 2-3 weeks the two were able to give a demonstration of the new iBeacon technology integrated within their application. Their biggest challenge was putting together a user friendly interface for staff members.
After receiving feedback from the staff and Digital Leaders within the school, Lewis took to the challenge of adding Foldr Integration within the system which enabled the staff to access pre-existing content available within the school network. (http://minnow.it/)
Finally, specific resources such as web, app and Foldr links were all embedded within a database. By combining the data with the interface, school staff could schedule these resources to be opened in the app depending on the students location and time of day.
In the future, we wish to integrate iBeacons further in our school by experimenting with alternative features such as location-based notifications and incorporating the iBeacons in a fully functional tour for visitors on ‘Open Evenings’ at the school in order to demonstrate this fantastic new technology to the public.
In order to share his work with the overall developer community, the 15 year-old developer posted all of his code for integrating services like Foldr and Firefly as well as the online interfaces to a github page at github.com/lewissmallwood. Particularly, an open source Foldr-integration has never been published before.
The latest update to the handbook application contains iBeacon features and integration with the personal online interface. The app is free on the App Store if you want to try it for yourself.