Paper published on connecting learning communities through Bluetooth beacons

Diagram of beacon with three concentric rings and a marker showing the 70 metre maximum range

Ranges of a Bluetooth beacon. Each ring represents a different range that can be used to trigger an action

Towards the end of last year, Kieran McDonald and I were awarded a Teaching Enhancement Fund from ACES to investigate how Art & Design’s new studio spaces in the Head Post Office could be augmented through the incorporation of technology. Following discussion with students and staff, we integrated Bluetooth beacons into a Graphic Design studio to provide digital layers over the physical space. The work was noticed by the New Media Consortium and included in their influential ‘Horizon Report’ on upcoming technologies in Higher Education, and was also the recipient of an ‘Internet of Things Research Award’ from Google.

The work has been presented at the SHU and ACES conferences (slides) and a paper was published this month that provides more information and detail about the project, its results and beacons in general. The paper, Exploring the transformative potential of Bluetooth beacons in higher education, is open access and can be found at

As part of the award from Google we received a number of beacons to experiment with and have distributed most of them to staff and students, however if any SHU staff are interested in exploring how beacons could be used in their context then please get in touch with us and we can discuss further with a view to piloting your ideas.


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