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'The Wave of the Future': Computer Science Students Explore IoT
Mrs. Alexandra Oglesby, Director of Communications

In its earlier days, the internet’s purpose was straightforward: it connected computers. 

Today, phones, cameras, the lights in your house, perhaps even the appliances in your kitchen are connected via the internet. There’s a name for this new age of connection: the Internet of Things, commonly known as IoT.

“IoT is the wave of the future,” said Upper School Science teacher Mr. Tom Rodgers. “Everyone’s devices are interconnected all the time.”

This semester, Mr. Rodgers incorporated IoT into his computer science course, instructing students to design, wire and program single-board computers to monitor conditions around CHC and the community. 

“It turns out to be a startlingly simple thing to do,” Mr. Rodgers said. “For just a few dollars in a hardware store, you can get a device no bigger than a deck of cards collecting data and connecting to the internet.”

Sophomore Ephram Thompson opted to focus outside the building, and installed a computer monitoring water levels on his boat launch.

“It was fun. I’ve never done anything like this, it’s my first computer science class,” Ephram said. “It helps you understand the science better, because I’ve done it now, instead of just looking at it.”

Developing a deeper understanding is the goal of Mr. Rodger’s   project-based instruction.

“The more students bring their own ideas, the more it’s going to be   useful to them and the more they can see the value of the lesson,”   he said. “I could come up with a handful of assignments, but some   of them came up with ideas I never would have thought of.”

 That personalized approach led Nico Cruz to a real-world solution to a problem he noticed as he collected network speed data from around CHC. 

“There’s this area of maybe 100 devices that are dragging down the network speed,” Nico said. “If you could figure out the IP addresses, you could move them around and spread out the network latency so it’s not as slow in specific areas.”

To view the results of Nico, Ephram and other student projects, click here to visit the websites they built.

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