HOW TO Be UMIque: put your hands on … Mobile and Internet of Things technologies

This How-To Guide was created for the “How to promote STEM education and training with Mobile and IoT tec... workshop at the ALL DIGITAL Summit 2018 and is based on the UMI-Sci-ED project experience. This workshop presented a methodology for implementing STEM educational activities using UMI (Ubiquitous computing, Mobile computing, Internet of Things) technologies, together with supporting tools and good practices. 

What are UMI technologies?

UMI technologies are the convergence of three different but closely connected technological domains: Ubiquitous computing, Mobile computing and Internet of things.

Ubiquitous computing makes the computer “disappear” by realizing the integration of sensing, actuating, storage, communication and computing services into the environments where human activities take place (for example, houses, offices, parks, cars etc.)

Mobile computing supports the migration of ubiquitous computing services and data between different devices and environments, so that uninterrupted support for user activities is provided (for example, accessing the same online service using mobile, tablet or desktop computer, changing from mobile network to wi-fi without losing connectivity etc.)

This vast amount of technology-enhanced everyday objects has created the so-called Internet of Things that broadly refers to the extension of network connectivity and computing capability to objects, devices, sensors, and items not ordinarily considered to be computers.

How do UMI technologies impact jobs in Europe?

UMI technologies promise to revolutionize our everyday life. They are expected to affect every single job and professional sector. They will cause the considerable evolution of almost every job, while many new jobs will emerge. But the citizens of our society are not prepared to reap the benefits of these technological and scientific advances. This means that not only people must be trained for the new jobs that will emerge, but it is urgent to reskill a growing number of people, whose education and skills are rapidly becoming outdated.

The role and potential of STEM education

Are the citizens of our society prepared to reap the benefits of the technological and scientific advances? How can we facilitate digital transformation, so as to ensure inclusion in the forthcoming digital society?

STEM education offers a holistic educational approach that fosters understanding of scientific knowledge and leads to the development of digital and 21st century skills. E-facilitators have to become STEM educators / trainers in order to play a key role in facilitating the digital transformation.

The UMI-Sci-Ed project

Project UMI-Sci-Ed (Exploiting Ubiquitous Computing, Mobile Computing and the Internet of Things to promote Science Education) exploits cutting-edge UMI technologies and their application in STEM education. Young people are encouraged to think creatively by engaging in STEM activities in order to enhance their UMI-related career prospects in a constantly competitive and demanding work environment.

UMI-Sci-Ed project offers an integrated, collective, experiential and open online environment for teachers and students, which:

  • allows students understand, use, develop UMI applications and consider their societal implications
  • improves digital and UMI-related skills of teachers
  • stimulates students to envision a future career in UMI technologies
  • enables (in long-term) a societal reform towards responsible research and innovation

UMI-Sci-Ed STEM methodology

In order to achieve its objective, UMI-Sci-Ed project has designed a training framework that contains the following tools and methods:

  • Online networking platform for education, self-evaluation, interaction and professional guidance
  • Repository of educational material, tools and activities incorporating UMI technologies
  • Repository of STEM educational scenarios and projects that can be implemented in formal and non-formal education settings
  • Communities of Practice (CoP) formed around the scenarios and the involved technologies
  • STEM career guidance services

The UMI-Sci-Ed platform is an online and open source platform designed to support the members of CoPs in the creation and sharing of STEM education scenarios, the design of UMI-related projects based on these scenarios, the realization of these projects in formal and non-formal education settings, the evaluation, adaptation and upgrade of the scenarios by the CoP members and the exchange of experience between them. The platform includes an open repository of educational material and educational scenarios, presentations and articles on UMI topics, as well as educational activities (classroom projects and activity sheets, evaluation questionnaires etc.) and tools (forums, blogs, wikis, chat etc.) that support the CoPs associated with the STEM educational scenarios.

Teachers and trainers are trained to use UMI technologies to support science education in a well-structured educational process, supporting learners in understanding their synergies, the functional components of IoT applications, as well as their potential in various application sectors.

UMI-Sci-Ed project is being implemented with funding from H2020 programme under the coordination of the DAISSy research group. You can find more info about the UMI-Sci-Ed project and access the project platform at: http://umi-sci-ed.eu/

There is no easy road in realizing STEM education

During the ALL DIGITAL Summit 2018, the workshop How to promote STEM education and training with Mobile and Internet of Things technologies was organized by Prof. Achilles Kameas and Dr. Theodor Panagiotakopoulos, both of the DAISSy research group (http://daissy.eap.gr). The workshop was addressed to forward-looking teachers, trainers and training providers of courses / projects on digital skills, who wanted to learn how to design and implement STEM education activities using UMI technologies.

Workshop participants had a first-person experience of the online platform that contains the STEM scenarios and supports the UMI-Sci-Ed project CoPs. Participation in one or more CoPs ensures support from experienced colleagues, so that a STEM scenario can be implemented successfully.

'Hands on…the Internet of Things' education scenario

During the workshop an introductory level STEM scenario called “Hands on… the IoT” was presented as a case study. The scenario focuses on the development of a simple IoT application that improves user experience of recycling by measuring the waste level in a recycle bin and sending the data to the cloud and to the user’s mobile phone. It can be used in both formal and non-formal educational settings and aims to facilitate the acquisition of basic UMI skills.

The main learning outcomes of this educational scenario include connecting the physical world and personal experience of learners with UMI technologies, recognizing the role of IoT in future life, exploring the possibilities of developing new applications and improving everyday life through IoT, designing and implementing IoT applications and envisioning of a future professional career in IoT technologies (and UMI in general).

The basic idea is to ask students to create an IoT application for “smart” recycling. The application will measure the level of recyclable materials within a recycle bin, create local indication (with LEDs) regarding the fullness of the bins, inform the public (through mobile phones) and transfer level values to the cloud so that municipal authorities schedule their actions (e.g. route scheduling of trucks). Possible extensions include optimizing truck routes (daily basis) so to keep public satisfied and minimize cost and analyzing data to make long term decisions (e.g. where to put extra bins).

Four Steps

“Hands on… the internet of things” is realized through four steps: introduction, experimentation, implementation and reflection. During Introduction stage, the UMI-Sci-Ed project, the UDOO kit and the platform are presented, together with an introduction to recycling process and to smart devices. Then, in Experimentation stage, students are introduced to the theory and practice of simple electronic circuits, go through UDOO setup and Arduino programming and are asked to make distance measurements with UDOO and ultrasonic sensor. They also learn the physical quantities related to the measurements and their magnitude and how the physical quantities can be “translated” to digital values with the use of sensors.

Having acquired the necessary background, students are now ready to formulate the problem and design a solution. During Implementation, they design a system for recyclable materials level measurement and implement the system with simplified bins and recyclable materials. They use math formulas, software and experimental measurements for the comparison of physical quantities, implement electronic circuits with sensors and actuators and display the level and volume data on an IoT platform. This stage contains hands on activities, student team work and platform usage.

In the final stage, Reflection, students have to participate in a public debate with the community on IoT and privacy, search the Internet for information and exchange views, justified opinions and arguments. Then they discuss the ways that this application could be extended in order to make our lives easier and what other physical quantities could be measured and used for the problem of waste collection.

The purpose of this scenario is make students consider whether they would like to follow a career related with UMI technologies, therefore becoming UMIque!

 

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