School’s IoT network teaches students about climate change

A secondary school in Sheffield has created an IoT network to educate students about both the emerging technology and climate change.

Smart cities have the potential to help monitor things such as pollution and improve residents’ quality of life. It’s hoped the experience will help students in using IoT technologies in later life while instilling the need to reduce our environmental impact as a species.

The school’s IoT network was set up by the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation, a charity set up by the founder of WANdisco.

David Richards said: “Jane and I know how passionate young people are about the health of the planet and we are helping them to measure and analyse the environment.

“We want to encourage students to use their imagination and creativity to apply what they discover for the benefit of the world around us.

“We believe there are enormous environmental, social and economic benefits to be unlocked and we are keen for the students to follow their interests and see where it leads them.

“These are the building blocks of enterprise and entrepreneurship.”

A long-range, wide area network was established on the roof of Tapton School, which allowed thousands of devices to connect up to six kilometres away. Raspberry Pi microcomputers were fitted with sensors for measuring temperature, pressure, light level, color, three-axis motion, and compass heading.

Each device is capable of taking 20,000 measurements per day to unlock deep insights about the city. The students met Steve Jubb, technical manager for the Urban Flows university research project, for an understanding of how real-time data is used to monitor local environments.

Mr. Jubb said: “We enjoyed working with the foundation’s students who showed a real hunger for knowledge and understanding.

“The future of our environment will rest in their hands and we were very happy to show them how to measure the impact of city life on the world around us.”

Lessons around climate change and the IoT were provided by undergraduates from the Sheffield Engineering Leadership Academy at the University of Sheffield.

A wider curriculum created by the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation is being rolled out across schools. The curriculum introduces students to team-building, data and predictions, statistics and sports analytics, algorithms, privacy, regulations, visualization, filtering and many more relevant and practical topics.

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