Help make Edinburgh a ‘smart city’, youngsters told

Edinburgh Castle (JANE BARLOW/PA)

Schoolchildren in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, are being encouraged to show their creativity and help the city embrace a ‘smart’ future. 

Local businesses and organisations have teamed up for a project designed to increase the number of children using data science in schools by developing their understanding of data-driven solutions for a range of issues both in and out of school.

It could potentially see, for example, pupils monitoring air-quality in playgrounds, improving the use of digital technology in classrooms, and examining digital methods for managing traffic flow across the city. 

‘Showcase their solutions’

CityFibre, the City of Edinburgh Council and the University of Edinburgh’s Data Education in Schools programme are delivering the Smart City-focused Internet of Things (IoT) pilot programme to primary and secondary schools across the city.

The project starts in the spring and pupils will be invited to attend a Smart Cities event in the city to showcase their solutions. CityFibre will also provide schools in Edinburgh with IoT technology kits, enabling pupils to practice solving challenges using sensors and data analysis, with some of the data they’ll be collecting travelling over the CityFibre network.  

Elaine Doherty, CityFibre’s City Manager for Edinburgh, said: “We can’t wait to hear about the creative ideas school pupils have to use IoT technologies and make the most of Edinburgh’s new full fibre infrastructure. While most schools and City of Edinburgh Council buildings have been connected to full fibre, construction is well underway to extend the benefits of a full fibre network to almost every home and business across the city with the first homes to be connected next month.” 

‘How data can be used for good’

Professor Judy Robertson, Chair in Digital Learning, at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Education, Community and Society, said: “The project will encourage young people to think about how they can use sensors and data to understand their environment and to develop tools that can improve their local communities, learning how data can be used for good. The project is a fantastic addition to our Data Education for Schools project.  

“By bringing business, schools and the university together we can ensure that we are providing young people with skills and confidence to take full advantage of the opportunities provided within our data driven society.” 

Council Leader Adam McVey said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people across Edinburgh to explore how digital technology can change the way we live our lives – and to help us come up with data-driven solutions for some of the challenges facing the Capital. 

“Thanks to this partnership with CityFibre and the University of Edinburgh, the next generation of problem-solvers will gain the skills needed to deliver a truly smart city for the future.” 

Click here for more information about CityFibre’s Gigabit City projects.

Author: Simon Weedy

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