SALSA: a Smart Cities Open Challenge winner

The Open University is a leading partner in the MK:Smart initiative. To capitalise on the strategic opportunity created by the Higher Education Funding Council of England’s (HEFCE) investment in the MK:Smart Project and with the aim of opening up new lines of inquiry and application in areas such as the humanities, social sciences, business and management, health and education,  the Open University announced a “Smart Cities Open Challenge” in the summer of 2014.  SALSA is one of the three winning projects (the others are noted below).

SALSA grew from the Institute of Educational Technology’s prior research into mobile and contextual learning, and builds on our expertise in a number of research projects, including:

MASELTOV: a European funded project exploring how smartphones might support language learning and social inclusion for recent immigrants into Europe.

Mobile Pedagogy for English Language Teaching: investigating how mobile phones can be used to support English Language teaching and learning for adult learners.

Personal Inquiry: exploring how mobile devices can support inquiry based learning while out and about, for school children and their teachers (2007-2010).

Through these projects we’ve built up an expertise in how mobile devices might help learning in and around the city, and the projects have thrown up as many questions as answers! One aspect we’re really interested in considering is how the provision of context-sensitive resources support learning, and this is one of the key goals of SALSA.

The other two Open Challenge winners were:

The SmartDframe project. Data-driven evaluation framework for Smart City projects – Dr Sally Caird and Prof Gerd Kortuem, Faculty of Maths Computing and Technology

The SmartDframe project will develop a new ‘smart city evaluation framework’ to support city development and regeneration programmes. Working closely with the MK:Smart initiative, European city authorities, industry stakeholders, academics, and policy-makers, SmartDframe aims to trial a smart city evaluation framework that is data-driven, impact-focused, holistic, well-defined, and  transferable across projects. This will allow systemic monitoring, inter-comparisons and evaluation of city projects.

 The Internet of Green Things: citizen science and sensing technologies – Dr Jon Rosewell et al, Faculty of Maths Computing and Technology

This project will support citizen-science investigations based on biological and environmental monitoring in Milton Keynes. These will combine data from a sensor network with observation and recording by citizens and school children. They will develop and deploy a sensor network based on low-cost sensors. These sensors will communicate via the emerging ‘Weightless’ protocol for M2M communication used in the pilot Internet of Things (IoT) trial commencing in Milton Keynes. Combined data will be openly accessible. Organisations such as local schools, the Parks Trust and local natural history societies will be invited partners. Participatory workshops will be help to identify and define suitable investigations.

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