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"It makes for a fuller, richer, broader conversation in the
classroom and in the shop, and ultimately what we'd like to
think is a student that's better equipped to be able to learn
for themselves after they've completed their school," he says.

and through networks, so the biomedical engineering students who work on patient-care systems also now need to
have some knowledge of how networks function, because
of the way data is transferred in the hospital."

That's not to say device distraction doesn't have the potential to be a major problem; Gingrich believes it's one that
impacts not only the school setting, but workplaces as well.

Another field that used to work off of a closed system that's
now being opened up is electrical engineering. "Where in
the past it would have been all hardwired systems, now
they're using ethernet to communicate with the breakers
from a central location."

"This isn't about suggesting the student is any different than
the rest of us. At any minute of the day we're making decisions as to what's the most important way or place for us to
spend our time," Gingrich says.
The answer to this problem, he explains, is to keep people
focused and engaged. "It's about figuring out how to embed
that technology access right into the learning experience in
the classroom [and] in the lab."
Just as with legal and company policy, a challenge that's
popped up for schools comes from dealing with the way that
the IoT, and Internet communications technology in general, continually grow and change at the rate they do. David
Zbediak, Associate Dean Academic at the Northern Alberta
Institute of Technology (NAIT) says it is difficult to keep up,
but not impossible.
"It's very difficult to maintain currency in our IT-related programs because of the pace of change in the IT world," Zbediak says. "It's very costly, and it's very, very challenging to
maintain currency. But I do think we're managing. With help
from industry we're managing."
Not only does IT continue to grow impossibly fast within
its own discipline, Zbediak says by virtue of its nature,
the technology has started spreading its roots deep into
other programs.
"We are seeing in multiple programs what I'd call IT creep,
where more and more IT is entering the fields," Zbediak
says. He points to biomedical engineering as one example
of the creep.
With more tools for data collection, Zbediak says that "more
and more data is transferred wirelessly through instruments


From what Zbediak is seeing firsthand, it's not only teaching
methods and programs that are being transformed by the
IoT and Internet in general; it's the fabric of education itself.
"The advances in the field of computing in general provide
us an opportunity to look at education in a different light,"
he says. "And we now have the ability through VR, AR and
digital twins to create simulations of both techniques and
equipment that students can practice on. And then when
they go into the lab, their time in the lab actually working
with real life systems and processes and equipment can be

The Internet of Things is only in its
infancy, as are the systems built in
response to this technological revolution.
The biggest problem is the former is
growing up a lot faster than the latter.
With rapid technological development,
though, that's the way it's always been.
"We're able to address things legally much after the fact,
once the technology's been out there for awhile," O'Connor
says. "That's when we are able to finally create laws and
policies around them.
"I don't know if we'll actually ever reach that point where
everything's been addressed. Especially since technology's
constantly evolving."


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