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TMCNet:  DISTANCE Launches the Internet of School Things - An International Collaboration Focused on Advancing Education through New Technology

[August 21, 2013]

DISTANCE Launches the Internet of School Things - An International Collaboration Focused on Advancing Education through New Technology

Aug 21, 2013 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- DISTANCE, a consortium for furthering education through advanced technologies, today announced its new "Internet of School Things" project. The GBP800,000 collaborative development, led by industry and academic experts, leverages the emerging power of the next great Internet paradigm, known as the Internet of Things, to develop innovative methods for teachers and students to take a more active role in creating and sharing digital content in schools. DISTANCE was awarded funding for the project through the "Internet of Things Demonstrator" programme run by the Technology Strategy Board, the UK's innovation agency. The consortium will initially work with at least eight schools across the UK to define how the Internet of School Things can enhance learning in science and other subjects, such as technology and geography. DISTANCE's goals are to have students and teachers measure and share data--using new technology on the emerging Internet of Things--in ways that help make learning fun, link directly to the curriculum, and ultimately inform the design of the next generation of schools. In turn, this initiative will help incentivise UK businesses to collaborate with the education space around a technology market that analysts expect to be in the trillions of dollars, while setting the conditions to better prepare children with unique skills to work within the digital economy.

The consortium is made up of ScienceScope, Intel, Xively (formerly Cosm), Explorer HQ, Stakeholder Design, University of Birmingham's Urban Climate Laboratory, UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, and The Open University Department of Computing.

DISTANCE will accomplish its goals by creating an information hub in the cloud using Xively Cloud Services(TM), an open and massively scalable cloud platform purpose-built for the Internet of Things. This will enable the consortium to identify the mix of incentives required to encourage educators, students and businesses to share certain types of data openly for the first time. The key innovation is the provision of a platform and service layer to connect schools with third-party service and application providers, who can then supply Internet-enabled measurement equipment and interpretation software.

The consortium plans to work with the schools on participatory design at the end of the 2013 summer term. Schools piloting the ecosystem will focus on four themes: transport, energy, weather and health. Over the summer, DISTANCE will be developing a range of exciting apps and visualisations of data that can be collected by schools, together with comprehensive curriculum-based activities for the schools to trial in the autumn term. Following these trials, the consortium will develop comprehensive resources using the Internet of Things that can be used at scale across the UK as the project moves into its second year.

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