Individualized Student Services

WolfWheels

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgmkW86Kq1g&fs=1&hl=en_US]

On the theme of bike sharing, I thought I would share the news of a program developed by the students of North Carolina State University.  It's called Wolfwheels, and it was rolled out in the Spring of 2010 for students, faculty, and staff of the university.

 
It's like many other bike sharing schemes we've seen, however it is tailored specifically to meet the needs of the unique university setting: bikes are rented for a day ($3), weekend ($6), week ($18), or entire semester ($150); they are maintenanced on campus with the students' help (providing for some practical education); and, they can be rented in groups by dorms, clubs, or other campus groups to coordinate group rides, social events, or field trips. 
 
When I spoke with Timur Ender, one of the program's student founders, he told me that only one bike and one wheel had been stolen since the program's inception in late March of this year.  As he says, "pretty small hiccup if you look at the grand picture."  In order insure against theft, the check out of bikes is linked with your campus ID card, so if it is not returned, you can be held (financially) responsible.  However, due to this security feature, bikes are currently unavailable to guests of the university -- a clear opportunity for improvement in my view, especially seeing as though universities are home to incredible amounts of guests every year.
 
Though this program is not yet engaging with social media or other technological facets of bike sharing, I wanted to share it as inspiration to other university students or small communities where a similar program could work.  As Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
 
-Terra Curtis

Our Handbook on Innovation in Services and Mobility in Cities - "Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend" - now out!

We are pleased to announce that our new Handbook on Service Innovation in Cities is now out, published by the DesignLondon at the Royal College of Art. The result of a collaborative effort involving more than 20 contributors, the book presents rich original data and serves as a resource for professionals from both public and private sectors, as well as entrepreneurs, engaged in the complex yet potentially profitable market for service innovations in cities.

You can flick through and order the book now at Amazon (UK), Amazon (US).

Mobility is not a technology, but a paradigm shift. The user, as citizen, professional, or visitor is in a state of mobility represented by the ubiquity of mobile phones in our society. Why this book asks, have highly appreciated services like mobile parking, tourism services, or solutions for the visually impaired not taken off despite the astronomical investments into digital infrastructures in the past decade? Why, have these infrastructures not had the productivity impact that the internet had on our economies, when more than 60% of the world population have access to them?

256 Billion Euro is the sum of opportunity presented in this book, following real business cases and examples of mobility and service innovations in cities. Drawing on the rich insights of Living Labs Global, the book illustrates what defines the market for mobility, neglected by many for its complexity. It logically structures the market opportunities, frustrations and successes, and actors that make or break success into a coherent call for action to fundamentally change how we deliver services in cities.
This book reveals important insights for public leaders, local politicians, service professionals in public and private organisations, entrepreneurs, technology experts, consultants and researchers interested in promoting innovation and excellence in cities today.

Study on Mobile Phones in Education

Last month the World Bank launched an international initiative to study the use and the potential application of mobile phones in education in the developing world. The study, titled "The Use of Mobile Phones in Education in Developing Countries", plans to fill gaps in research that has until now focused on: (1) advocacy pieces about how phones *could* be used in education; (2) 'studies' of how phones have been used in a small pilot by one teacher somewhere; or (3) conceptual (often academic) discussions of the potential utility of mobile phones within various learning environments (often drawing on rich existing research into the use of PDAs for learning). (*As reported by the World Bank Development Blog) [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFWk6I2Huvw&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0] [Reader's note: The above YouTube clip showcases the Text2Teach program implemented in the Phillipines and is part of the larger BridgeIT program]

Through this initiative the World Bank plans to play a similar role in mobile education initiatives as it has in other mobile initiatives, namely mobile banking, using its institutional presence to make sense of existing, discreet initiatives and create opportunities for scalability, commercialization and gains in efficiency.

According to the World Bank's Edutech blog, the study intends to accomplish the following:

This study proposes to:

1. Map the existing universe of projects and initiatives exploring the use of mobile phones in education, with a specific attention to developing countries. 2. Map the existing and potential uses of mobile phones in this regard, comparing and contrasting such uses with other ICT devices, relevant to specific education challenges, needs and contexts found in a number of developing countries 3. Document lessons learned so far from key initiatives in this area, proposing tentative guidance for policymakers and various stakeholder groups in this fast moving area. 4. Propose a conceptual framework and way forward for further analytical work to aid in the documentation and rigorous impact cost and impact assessment of the use of mobile phones in education.

The study will run through December of 2010. For now, I hope the folks at the World Bank make an effort to explore mobile applications specifically in continued education courses.

Study on Mobile Phones in Education

Last month the World Bank launched an international initiative to study the use and the potential application of mobile phones in education in the developing world. The study, titled "The Use of Mobile Phones in Education in Developing Countries", plans to fill gaps in research that has until now focused on: (1) advocacy pieces about how phones *could* be used in education; (2) 'studies' of how phones have been used in a small pilot by one teacher somewhere; or (3) conceptual (often academic) discussions of the potential utility of mobile phones within various learning environments (often drawing on rich existing research into the use of PDAs for learning). (*As reported by the World Bank Development Blog) [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFWk6I2Huvw&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0] [Reader's note: The above YouTube clip showcases the Text2Teach program implemented in the Phillipines and is part of the larger BridgeIT program]

Through this initiative the World Bank plans to play a similar role in mobile education initiatives as it has in other mobile initiatives, namely mobile banking, using its institutional presence to make sense of existing, discreet initiatives and create opportunities for scalability, commercialization and gains in efficiency.

According to the World Bank's Edutech blog, the study intends to accomplish the following:

This study proposes to:

1. Map the existing universe of projects and initiatives exploring the use of mobile phones in education, with a specific attention to developing countries. 2. Map the existing and potential uses of mobile phones in this regard, comparing and contrasting such uses with other ICT devices, relevant to specific education challenges, needs and contexts found in a number of developing countries 3. Document lessons learned so far from key initiatives in this area, proposing tentative guidance for policymakers and various stakeholder groups in this fast moving area. 4. Propose a conceptual framework and way forward for further analytical work to aid in the documentation and rigorous impact cost and impact assessment of the use of mobile phones in education.

The study will run through December of 2010. For now, I hope the folks at the World Bank make an effort to explore mobile applications specifically in continued education courses.

Shifting Economies and New Commercial Models in Education

Cengage Learning, one of the largest textbook publisher in the U.S. announced two weeks ago that it would begin renting textbooks to students at discounted rates, Here’s an informative article from the New York Times.   And, here are a number of responses from NY Times’ readers. I anticipate this is the first of many adjustments that publishers and distributors of educational materials will need to make in order to deliver a valuable service to students. Indeed, this modification addresses student’s temporal, calendar-driven, demand for text books and their increasingly strained budgets. But it fails to individualize the content for students and teachers alike. Different classes, different disciplines, different schools, different students ultimately warrant different content and materials---and while I think that this is less prohibitive at the university level as it is easy for professors to supplement class readings with articles and journals and online essays---I believe every student, kindergartners to graduate level, would benefit from a more thoughtful curriculum.

Here are some examples of localized American initiatives:

1) In Arizona, teachers are encouraged to create lesson plans from mixes of online resources, via the New York Times.

2) At last year’s Ted Talks, Richard Baraniuk of Rice University talked about his vision for open sourced learning content----I think this is where we are going, hopefully.  Take a moment to watch a clip from that talk.

Living Lab Grythyttan - A Story of Taste

The small Swedish village of Grythyttan in the municipality of Hällefors should most likely have been a non-distinct place sleeping quietly many miles from the rush and life of Stockholm. It used to be a mining town and its population is just around 1200 people, but instead of disappearing into complete obscurity the town has turned into one of the most exciting and entrepreneurial projects in Europe today. Beginning in the seventies Grythyttan has developed an expertise in the field of food and taste and it has been the goal to become one of the leading centres, when it comes to the world of resturanteering and cooking. Covering all aspects of the meal experience this specialisation has been a great success and it has allowed Grythyttan to go even further. Today Grythyttan has become the site of a truly unique university campus, where the students are able to follow such courses as Chef and Culinary Arts and Meal Science. As a part of the larger Örebro University the campus in Grythyttan offers the only education of its kind in the world and there are programmes ranging from bachelor degrees all the way to PhD level. Simultaneously there has been a significant increase in fresh business developments that are related to the new profile of the village. Grythyttan

But the huge success of this educational innovation has posed Grythyttan with some real challenges. The number of students is going to increase from 450 to 750 and housing and communication will have to be more thought through. On a grander scale if Grythyttan is to maintain its position as a leader in its field, the university and the region must be able to collaborate with institutions and businesses from other regions and countries.

Living Labs Global and A Taste of Media have worked closely with the university, the students and the village council to find a way to meet the challenges, and in the fall of 2007 Interlace-Invent launched the mStudent project in Grythyttan. The whole village has gained seamless access to the internet and Interlace-Invent has made communication between students and the university possible on a whole new level. The technology allows students to use a free SMS service and the student organisations are now able to push information to all its users. The university can make announcements to the students on this platform and administration of such things as applications will be swifter, making communication open and easy.

House of Meals

It has been the ambition to make the mStudent Grythyttan a user-driven project, focusing on the needs and interests of the energetic and creative students. In collaboration with the important student organisations Living Labs Global located the areas where communisation between the students could be better and it has resulted in a livelier social climate, where all the extracurricular activities have seen an increasing interest.

By engaging in this dynamic evolution of new mobile technology, Grythyttan has become a part of the network of European cities, universities and innovative firms that are know as Living Labs. These centres of interactive design are interconnected and as a unit they function as a market place between some of most influential cities and regions in Europe today. This means that the free student services in Grythyttan are now not only supported by a professional infrastructure – they also have a common interface with a wide range of universities in the region and across Europe. At the heart of Grythyttan campus stands the impressive House of Tastes, where eager students are seeking excellence in their art. The large building was the Swedish pavilion at the Expo in Sevilla in 1992, and it is only fitting that it gets to represent Sweden once more, as Grythyttan joins the avant-garde of European innovation.