Output 4 - Pilot studies with smart IoT planters in learning spaces
Partners will put into educational practice what has been described and analysed in the previous outputs (IO1, IO2, IO3, and IO5). DOUKAS as the lead partner of IO4 will coordinate this output by creating a training methodology which all the other partners will follow for the pilots.
Firstly, the piloting organisations will provide the project with at least one school or university learning space. Each school that participates in this output will receive a number of smart planters. The partners will choose the plants according to the local climate and preferences (class councils may be invoked to decide collectively which plants they want). Attention will be paid to health and safety of children and adults by e.g. avoiding allergies (e.g. pollen) as this might affect the progress of this output. After acquiring the plants, each partner will decide where to put the plants (classes, corridors, library, leisure hall). Ideally, the plants should be in a place where students have access to them on a daily basis. Health and safety experts will advise the setup and local technicians will support the connectivity of sensors. A teacher along with their students will be responsible for taking care of the plants and read the instructions for the microcontrollers and the sensors.
The pilot’s duration will be one semester, with every partner being responsible for deciding the exact timing according to their academic calendar. Each partner, along with DOUKAS assistance, should take into consideration the time of the year that is preferable according to the CO2 levels, running air condition systems, heating, or whether it is more feasible to have plants in the learning spaces during wintertime, when there are no allergies.
UPM will provide each school with all the sensors and the microcontrollers as well as the knowledge on how to use and connect them to the monitoring app. It is important for the results of the evaluation (IO5) to use the same technology in order to be as accurate as possible. DOUKAS will come up with ideas that will help this technology to be suited for children (and university students as well), for example, all cables should be placed in a way that it is not dangerous for children or that the cables do not get wet which may cause problems both for the students and the technology. During the study, children will take care of their plants and simultaneously read and interpret the data from sensors and actuators measuring certain elements such as humidity, acidity of soil, etc. With the help of the mobile monitoring app, teachers and children together will check on the plants performance and
well-being and take the necessary steps to make them thrive. Teachers, along with the partners and the researchers, will help students maintain their plants, while at the same time learning about the respective species, the environment and the handling and reacting to datasets. Ambient technologies may be used to allow for on the spot checkups of the planters, while the connectivity allows for ubiquitous access to the plant information.
The university partners with the required technical know-how will help teachers in a first level and students in a second level whenever they face problems with technology (e.g. apps or connection problems). The teachers will be able to directly contact the University partners via a help & support email.
Finally, as teachers are not experts in that field and as it is not a common teaching methodology, all educators that will take part in the pilot session will participate in the C1 training and the SPOC (IO1) in which partners, that already have the know-how will train them on how to implement this teaching methodology in the classroom. Moreover, teachers will be trained on how they will evaluate their pilots and how the project partners assume that the plants in the learning spaces will bring an advantage for students.
The pilot studies conducted through this intellectual output will contribute valuable experiences and data to the evaluation study in IO5. All teachers and students participating will be asked to become research subjects for the extensive analysis and evaluation in IO5 and provide valuable input to improve the pedagogic methods and implementation further.