Encouraging Educational Equity: Learning in Smart Cities of the Future

Atelier Aitken Future learning street networks.jpg

Education is the premise for our progression as a society and species through which architecture and its greater infrastructure serves as a facilitator for accessing and transferring information to civilisations.

The ability to openly and freely access and understand information is key in providing all members of society with the tools, abilities, and drive to progress. Informational equity will in turn help to create societal equity.

We’re looking for opportunities in our cities, as they evolve into ‘smart’ cities to combat a range of societal issues such as inequality, isolation and attention deficit disorders, health issues from increasingly sedentary lifestyles, as well as environmental issues.

 Our first strategy is to tap into, and expand, an existing network of street light nodes. We believe that this network could provide readily available nodes for experiential learning and educational ‘gaming’ through projection and AR. This will become easier as cars are largely removed from inner city streets and replaced with foot traffic and ‘smart’ bicycles. Learning can be further improved through other technologies such as emotional technology, audiotherapy, aromatherapy or chromatherapy.

Smart ‘street’ lights create a network of interactive information and entertainment

Smart ‘street’ lights create a network of interactive information and entertainment

These nodes can also be used to help facilitate physical gaming, which can be used for educational, entertainment and social development purposes. ‘Dash’ shown below is an educational game we designed involving Augmented Reality problem solving tasks. We believe that these kinds of games would be easy to integrate into the fabric of a ‘Smart’ City.

Dash: A problem solving game against time.

Dash: A problem solving game against time.

Regarding gaming and education, rewards are crucial for motivation – mastery is a rewards; ‘players’ are driven to repeatedly practice in a game until mastery is achieved. Random elements added to rewards increases motivation. Storyline games are more emerging and engaging. Play teaches survival skills, coordination, and social interaction skills at a young age.

Our second strategy explores the potential of self-driving (SD) pods, which we propose will be used as mobile classrooms to provide more ‘in-situ’ & ‘experiential’ learning opportunities to improve knowledge uptake as well as critical thinking skills for students. We also see them as being able to provide educational opportunities in neighbourhoods where the population are less educated or simply need opportunities to up-skill themselves to either re-enter the workforce or keep moving forward with the times. These relocatable modules can be used for learning games, such as Escape. AI systems will help distribute the learning hubs around the city in a fair manner.

Self-driving pods can be used as mobile classrooms to increase ‘experiential’ learning.

Self-driving pods can be used as mobile classrooms to increase ‘experiential’ learning.

 Our third strategy is to develop a PAI (Personal Aid Intelligence) system, which would be available to everyone. It responds individually to each user, using emotional intelligence, to ensure that everyone is given learning opportunities that works best with their learning style and learning needs.

A PAI system can provide both digital and physical assistance to users.

A PAI system can provide both digital and physical assistance to users.

PAI System acts as:

  • teacher/ facilitator for accessing and learning how to utilise information

  • portal to the network – classes, filters, and organises information

  • physical manifestation of the network’s information that does not output as written/ spoken regurgitation

  • reads the mood, abilities, behavioural and emotional responses, etc of the learnee

  • transformer of space through projections and experiential experiences and representations of the learnt information

  • controls a atmosphere best suited for learning and productivity through therapeutic atmospheres – chromotherapy, audiotherapy, etc.

Barrier free learning in the city offers the opportunity for people of all ages to learn, play and learn to love learning. Sparking curiosity is an essential ingredient for learning.  

Increasing digital literacy across the population can help to decrease ignorance & increase tolerance in society. It also allows people from lower socio-economic groups free and unfettered access to the latest technology and information available to develop the necessary skills to help both themselves and their family. Providing opportunities for adults to learn or re-learn is essential as change continues to accelerate.

These proposed innovations hope to remove barriers to learning for the majority of people in society.