Connecting Students to Next-Gen Pilots

We have nine amazing projects underway in Chattanooga and Kansas City to pilot applications and associated curricula that leverage high-speed networks for learning. The 16-week pilot period started on May 16 and we had a chance to check in with the grantees on the progress they’re making, the challenges they face, and what they’re most excited about as their projects unfold. Since many of you might be working with them directly, or looking for some inspiration for projects you’re working on your own, we thought you might like a glimpse of what’s been going on as the summer starts.
Three weeks into the pilot period, we asked grantees a few questions and here are some of their responses:
What do you anticipate will be the greatest challenge over the next fifteen weeks?

  • “…The majority of our work will take place in a very short period of time and that will be a very big challenge.” [Cross-city Gigabit-enabled Learning Platform]
  • “I anticipate that the timing of the software will be the greatest challenge during the fifteen weeks. We are projecting that it will take 8-10 weeks of development, but we are very confident in our development team. Additionally, timing is very important because we need enough time for user testing so that children can have the best experience.” ~ [Pennez: Read2Think]
  • “Building a bank of mentors that can be effective for participating schools.  I’m modifying this a bit with corporate sponsors who can provide mentors more easily and without friction on time out of office.” [SensED IoT Student Innovation Challenge]

What impact of the pilot do you think will matter most to participants?

  • “They will be part of developing a brand new technology that incorporates art and technology.” [Raspberry Python Music Genie]
  • “Education is undeniably important, and specifically using virtual reality as a learning tool will leave a unique impact on participants. Users will be surprised by the level of immersion and the efficiency of learning. Most participants will find the experience engaging and like us, be in awe of the possibilities presented.” [ViatoR]
  • “I am hopeful that the information the students gain from going through the pilot process will help them to think differently about design and its potential to positively or negatively affect the environment – and by having data in a clear and measurable way, that this message will stay with them.” [Open Data + 3D Models]
  • “I think teachers will be stunned to see the scope of the projects that middle and high school students came up with in our initial pilot, and the ease with which the program can be integrated into a school subject or as a club.” [SensED IoT Student Innovation Challenge]

What part of your project are you most excited about?

  • “Seeing students come up with their own questions and ideas about the project, as well as engage authentically with scientific research and 4K technology.” [Streaming 4K Content for Learning Experiences]
  • “I am excited about the technology piece of this project. I feel that technology can change education and create excitement in…classrooms. With gigabit internet we not have the power to beam high definition video into the classroom at real-time. There are so many opportunities for entrepreneurial growth.” [Gigtank 4K: Scaling from Micro to Macro]
  • “Personally, I am most interested in actually using the 4k microscopes. As a former Biology teacher, I am excited about what this will look like and how it will be different than what I have experienced before – as a student and as a teacher.” [Cross-city Gigabit-enabled Learning Platform]
  • “My team and I are most excited about impacting how children can read. We know that if we can help how children can read then we can change their lives.” [Pennez: Read2Think]

We plan to bring you more updates and ideas as the pilot period progresses. If you have any questions for our grantees, feel free to leave them in the comments section. In the meantime, start thinking about what you might want to work on and propose for our second round of funding, which closes on October 18. Learn more about the process on our website.