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Smart Technology Brought into Scots Classrooms Through £9.5m IoT Project

David Paul


smart technology
A new initiative has been launched to give pupils access to cutting-edge tech to help them “prepare for a data-driven future”.

Pupils from schools across southeast Scotland are set to gain access to the latest smart technology as part of a new, world-leading initiative.

The £9.5 million UK and Scottish Government-backed project introduces kids to the Internet of Things (IoT) and helps them to make sense of the data.

Primary and secondary classes will learn how to interpret statistics produced by sensors tracking environmental conditions in their schools.

Classroom sensors that gauge CO2, temperature, humidity, air pressure and light levels will be offered to all 550 schools.

Some of the schools involved in the project will also receive outdoor air quality monitors, soil moisture sensors and weather stations.

Each device will be linked to a high-performance computer based at the University of Edinburgh where the raw data will be converted into graph form, which can be accessed by pupils.

This means that students can make informed decisions that will help create optimum learning conditions in class.

Giving the pupils this access will not only enable them to improve their school environment but also equip them to navigate an “increasingly complex digital landscape,” as well as preparing them for work in new data-driven industries.

Commenting on the smart technology project, Simon Chapple, Head of Data Technology at the University of Edinburgh Classroom solutions said: “The sensor network will introduce the secure and safe use of connected IoT sensors in the taught curriculum and play a crucial role in aiding the development of data literacy in schools.”

The IoT project has been piloted at two Midlothian schools – Roslin Primary and Newbattle High – and is part of a wider Data Education in Schools programme.

So far, pupils and teachers at Roslin and Newbattle have worked with engineers, data educators and technologists to design a range of classroom solutions.

The project will now be extended across every school in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Scottish Borders. Support will be available to pupils and teachers through the Data Education in Schools Team at the University.


UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “The UK Government’s £260 million support for Data Driven Innovation around Edinburgh is equipping people with the skills and knowledge to make the most of an increasingly data-driven world.

“This fantastic programme gives students the tools they need to learn about data and use it to improve their school environment.”

The £1.3bn IoT project is being funded as part of the Edinburgh and Southeast Scotland City Region Deal. Announced in 2018, the deal aims to drive growth across the region and includes investment in skills and employability, transport, housing, innovation, and culture.

A key objective of the deal is to make Edinburgh & South-East Scotland the ‘Data Capital of Europe’.

Professor Judy Robertson, Chair of Digital Learning at the University of Edinburgh, said that data skills development is relevant across all curriculum areas, topics, and themes.

“Data has been hugely significant in decision-making around Covid, but it influences many areas and having the skills to use data effectively and responsibly is increasingly important,” Robertson added.

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David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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