I had the great privilege recently of attending an event that is only held every 2-3 years for just a few hundred educators - but is one that has far-reaching implications in terms of what learning tools and ideas will be organically spread by those who attended. I'm speaking of the Apple Distinguished Educators Institute that saw 360 leading teachers and education experts gather in La Jolla, San Diego to pool ideas and learn from each others best practice. 

One of the key sessions that around half of us attended was an introduction to iBeacons. While there had been a hard core group of us who had been talking about the potential of location-aware learning triggers for months, having a detailed but accessible session for a wider group of influencers I'm certain will see awareness of iBeacons now be spread back to the many corners of the globe that were represented.

The session itself went over the basics of beacons being merely triggers - which means the challenge then falls to the learning design to make the best use of the chance to curate experiences according to context and location. Featured as a first-up tool for educators to try was Beacondo, the Mac app that allows you to push out multiple iBeacon-aware mini-apps to any iDevice, or even to publish them to the App Store if you so desire.

I've actually had permission to share the link to the materials that were shared in the form of an iTunes U course - you can check it out here to learn a bit more about the potential of iBeacons yourself: https://itunesu.itunes.apple.com/enroll/K89-EQF-RC6

It was also great to have Gavin Smart of Clevedon College present at the Institute about the beginnings of their student-developed 'iClevedon' deployment of iBeacons. Chatting in person with him was an invaluable experience, as was actually taking part in an off-site scavenger hunt that Apple organised to augment our field trips. All in all the future for iBeacons in education looks great - wether its via teachers rolling their own solutions with Beacondo or Beecon apps, or working with devs like Crowdsify as I am doing for custom solutions, or even using school-wide solutions like eLockers. The best is yet to come...