INSPIRATION

Smart cities bring digital literacy to the classroom

The evolution of Smart Cities is well underway as companies around the world begin to implement trends and technologies that incorporate the idea of a smart city. Innovators worldwide are working together to find new ways to make their city a smart city while also looking up to cities who have become “smart city hubs”, i.e. Barcelona. With the future of cities going digital, it is becoming increasingly important for students to be digitally literate.

A smart city can be defined, according to the Smart Cities Council, as one that has digital technology embedded across all city functions. This includes traffic, agriculture, architecture, and more. The idea of a smart city is to serve as a solution for issues such as waste, traffic flow, lighting and disaster planning. With half of the world population living in cities, there is now a shift in focus on how to create and maintain a sustainable living space for the current and future citizens. With the help of technological advancements and innovative ideas, the management of city structure and resources is aimed to become more efficient and sustainable for a better future.

The introduction of “smart” enabling companies are emerging as well, such as Schneider Electric, an energy management organization that utilizes digital transformation and makes it “possible for IoT-enabled solutions to seamlessly connect, collect, analyze and act on data in real-time delivering enhanced safety, efficiency, reliability, and sustainability.” Companies like Schneider Electric are emerging as a result of smart cities, making this idea become more of a reality.

With the goal of cities to shift to a more technologically driven atmosphere and the emergence of more digitally-centered companies, citizens around the world are encouraged now more than ever to become digitally literate. This means understanding and keeping up with technological trends. Public education sectors are urged to allow more digital learning spaces for students and to make it a basic requirement in school.

Some countries have already begun adding digital literacy courses into their school curriculum to have student begin learning the technological trends at an early age. In 2016, the Irish government revealed their plans to bring coding classes to primary schools and computer science to graduation requirements as an effort to “equip students with the necessary skills to live in a digital world.”

The creation of a true “smart city” requires “smart citizens”, meaning people who are capable of understanding how these technological trends function. With this understanding comes innovative ideas that help with the goal of a sustainable smart city. According to Citymetric, “a true ‘smart’ community is a community that commences with its citizens – the community's actual needs, challenges and comparative advantages – and that is able to address these by means of comprehensive innovation and digitalisation strategies, harvesting the full promise of what digitalisation affords.”

To maintain the positive effects that smart cities are destined to bring, and to make it a sustainable one, one must be digitally literate. Schools around the world have begun incorporating digital learning tools in their curriculum to introduce students to the technologically driven future that is the smart city. Our world is shifting to become more digital. It is important for citizens to have the proper education needed in order to function in an ever-evolving digital world and it all begins in the classroom.

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