We started our teaching careers in classrooms of roughly 35 students meeting them several times each week. Using overhead projectors, textbooks and written examinations as we tried to prepare them for the business world waiting outside. At the time most of the students were Finnish, but we happily welcomed occasional exchange students.
Today we are constructing a virtual learning platform for Dutch, Romanian and Finnish engineering, ICT and design students. This all happens in an international IoT Rapid Protolabs project where the goal is to rapidly prototype Internet of Things solutions for European small and medium size businesses.
We have truly come a long way from the classrooms where we first started.
Why IoT rapid protolabs?
Because we are craz
We got the money
Knowledge Alliance programme in the Erasmus+ scheme funds ambitious projects to foster co-operation between European higher education institutions and businesses. The aim of the programme is to strengthen European capacity to innovate. After having established a research-business network representing five European countries, we submitted a bid to Brussels in 2017. Fortunately were one of the selected 20 projects out of 170 proposals. The evaluators of our proposal gave credit to our plan for its innovation potential and pedagogical ambition.
The Internet of Things is experiencing explosive growth, and will impact almost every industry. In 2020, the worldwide IoT market is expected to be worth $3 trillion. That amount is larger than any individual European country’s Gross Domestic Product other than Germany. IoT revenues in the EU could increase to more than €1,181 billion by 2020 with over 20% annual growth rate. However, enterprises remain cautious when it comes to IoT implementation due to perceived risks of adopting IoT at scale, insufficient investments, and organizational barriers to change. Furthermore, individual EU countries’ IoT capabilities vary considerably. In short: Europe needs more talent in IoT.
How to create IoT Rapid protolabs?
With the help of our friends
Our project team has teaching and student pool in three different disciplines: ICT, design and engineering. In addition, we have one German company (247 Grad) creating us a new kind of technical arena on which SMEs and student groups will actually work on and a Finnish ICT company Houston Inc. to support agile prototyping actions. Moreover, the curriculum design, pilots and evaluation will be carried out with the support of a Dutch educational sciences team from Leiden University and the quality of project activities will be coordinated by an Italian research institute (Fondazione Bruno Kessler).
First course pilots will be offered in spring 2019. At that time also Haaga-Helia students facilitated by Haaga-Helia, Technical University of Delft and Polytechnic Timisoara teachers will start prototyping projects commissioned by companies. After several rounds of pilots we hope to have established a permanent IoT lab arena in Haaga-Helia’s and other European higher education institutions curriculum that will continue to improve not only the content specific IoT skills but the e-skills defined in the European e-Competence Framework (CWA 16234:2014 Part 1. CEN) as well as attitude and soft skills that are required of future experts in cross-border e-business.
From closed to open learning environments
In the early days of UAS history we teachers were at least under the illusion of controlling what happened in the classroom. The learning environment we will create in IoT Rapid labs project is everything else than controllable with plenty of moving parts and stakeholders as this video demonstrates. Yes, you need to have money and friends to experiment this, and yes, it helps if you are a bit
cracourageous. But yes, these kinds of learning environments prepare students for their future careers in a much better way than what was possible in the (good) old days in classrooms.
Gerard Danford is the project coordinator and Johanna Vuori the internal evaluator of IoT Rapid Protolabs. Both work as principal lecturers in Business Programmes at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences.