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Bill Gillies - Editor

University jammers foresee an intelligent, interconnected planet

A new report released yesterday shows that eight of 10 students around the world want universities to revamp traditional learning environments while over 90 percent want to join or start a Green Advocacy group at their campus. 64 percent of students believe that the world has a chance to reverse carbon emissions by 2025, and 60 percent believe that education and efficient transportation offer the best hope for sustainability of our cities.

These are just a few of the findings of a remarkable crowdsourcing process held earlier this year by IBM called the Smarter Planet University Jam. Nearly 2,000 students, faculty, IBM business leaders, technologists, governmental officials, and industry partners from 40 countries around the globe took part in the Jam and demonstrated both enthusiasm and optimism about opportunities to work together.

A team of Jam hosts, facilitators, and subject matter experts analyzed the approximately 2,700 posts contributed by jammers to identify the key insights and ideas for innovation across five theme areas: smart skills and education, smart water management and green planet, smart grid, smarter healthcare, and smart cities. Their report in .pdf can be downloaded here.

Jammers foresaw the need to create a new model of university education around smarter campuses, which are interconnected, enriched and fed by on-the-ground knowledge being developed over social networks. Universities would incorporate broader use of virtual environments and videoconferencing to enhance learning, interaction, networking and communication. In a poll conducted during the Jam, 82 percent of those polled believed that “virtual worlds” are a great place to learn these future skills.

“The Smarter Planet University Jam was the first time that so many university-aged students came together in an online forum to brainstorm ideas to better our world,” said Jai Menon, an IBM vice president. “Students are confident that their future will be a smarter place – a world where they will drive cars that get 100 miles per gallon, learn in virtual classrooms connected with students across the globe, and where they can run their businesses on a secure, energy-efficient and interconnected grid.”

The Jam explored important topics such as:

* Innovations needed to protect the environment and conserve resources
* Interdisciplinary skill requirements for students (and schools) to compete in a smarter world
* How to create smarter healthcare by improving quality, safety and effectiveness – but at an affordable price
* How to create smarter cities by using information technology to build attractive, sustainable urban environments quicker and cheaper
* Innovations needed to transform today’s electricity grids into smart grids

A Jam is an Internet-based platform for conducting conversations through brainstorming- connecting diverse populations of individuals-to gain new perspectives on problems and challenges, and develop actionable ideas centered around business-critical or urgent societal issues.

Tags: Government, School/College, World


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