There is an obvious buzz around the world of the Internet of Things (IoT) at the moment, one of the most meaningful and inventive terms that is currently fueling the IT sector. The newest arrival of emerging technology is fanning potential across all industries and opens a door of possibilities where we can tap into our ideas and visions.

For those of you, and I’m guessing this is a small minority, who don’t know what the Internet of Things is, we can say that it is technology based on the interconnection of devices that we use on a daily basis that communicate with each other to offer us an optimized experience, such as our cars, clothes, shoes and everyday appliances. It offers a world where everything and anything is connected and it’s changing everyday life for millions of people as we speak.

This new fashion, which we can safely say is here to stay, has opened a world of new career opportunities and jobs in the labor market. IoT continues to evolve and as it increasingly intertwines with our daily life, it is also creating new job sectors, industries and businesses, as well as developing already existing ones. But how prepared are we for this? And how prepared will our children be, when they must face these new challenges?

So, taking advantage of the upcoming holidays, our blog post for today will be a more laid back offering, with a few recommendations to how you can help ease the new generation into the IoT world to facilitate the promotion of their creativity and technological skills.

One of my favorite parts of IoT is robotics, there are loads of kits available, either already assembled or to be assembled, which come equipped with Arduino-based boards, parts, sensors, etc, like the mBot for example. They are designed to be easily assembled within a few hours and offer the possibility of expanding its functionalities through a graphic programming environment based on Scratch 2.0.

Sounds fun right? Well, before you rush off to acquire one of these “toys”, and to prevent it being forgotten after a few weeks if it doesn’t satisfy the curiosity of your children, I have a series of suggestions:

  1. Age is an important point to consider, as it’s a rather complicated device it may not catch the eyes of younger children, so we would recommend gifting this to children aged 8/9 years or older.
  2. Decide whether your children would prefer an already assembled robot or a kit to build themselves.
  3. Prior knowledge is important, we don’t want to have to spends hours upon hours building or programming one of these devices as it’s not only frustrating and time-consuming for us, but also for our children, so we want something easy to assemble and schedule.
  4. The block-based programming environment. As I mentioned before, one of the kits comes with the ability to connect it to our computer and programme it from there, thus being able to schedule new movements and even add sensors. Block-based programming environments are both intuitive and easy to use and don’t require extensive programming skills.

In my opinion, this is a fun and interesting way to introduce our children to the world of IoT since many of these kits come with sensors which allow them to interact with the outside, and gives us the added bonus of being able to play with them…perfect for kids and big kids 😉

Written by: Diego Campos.