Enhancing Education in Underserved Schools: The Internet Backpack as Cyber-physical Infrastructure

Lee W. McKnight, Danielle Taana Smith, Wednaud J. Ronelus, Ryan Ondocin, Prasanta K. Ghosh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This paper assesses the results of a STEM education pilot project bringing cyber-physical infrastructure for broadband connectivity, trusted devices, and secure cloud and privacy and rights-protecting edge cognitive computing and wireless services, to underserved New York City school children at Timothy Dwight PS 33X in the South Bronx, PS 91 Albany Avenue School and PS 316 Elijah Stroud Elementary School, both in Brooklyn, New York, USA. This pilot study, initiated in 2017, demonstrated how the innovative Internet Backpack could bring immediate connectivity and digital and physical (cyber-physical) resource-sharing including cognitive wireless networks to many school children simultaneously, much faster than previously thought possible, or affordable. Projecting from this successful pilot, in this paper we explain how we anticipate that the results will serve to focus further action by all stakeholders on the broadband underserved wherever they may be. We suggest utilizing the Internet Backpack to develop a gap-filling last few hundred feet road map of where broadband connectivity is otherwise lacking and hence hindering school children's education performance and opportunities to explore STEM learning topics. This model can guide future buildouts of broadband Internet and cyber-physical infrastructure to help address both the Covid-19 pandemic emergency and the ongoing, longstanding systemic societal emergencies exacerbated by limited Internet access in resource-constrained communities. Our initial pilot data shows improvement in both student scientific reasoning and science mastery when uninterrupted Internet connectivity is provided, allowing students to engage in both curricular and extracurricular science projects unimpeded by digital divides. Larger-scale studies, if replicating these results, could guide educators and policymakers towards utilizing cognitive systems such as the Internet Backpacks, and Science/IoT curricula, for efficient cloud to edge connectivity and innovative educational content, changing the equation for greater digital inclusion in urban and rural communities, quickly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2021 IEEE International Conference on Cognitive and Computational Aspects of Situation Management, CogSIMA 2021
EditorsNicolette McGeorge, Alicia Ruvinsky, Mare Teichmann, Leo Motus, Mary Freiman
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages32-38
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781728176987
DOIs
StatePublished - May 14 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event2021 IEEE International Conference on Cognitive and Computational Aspects of Situation Management, CogSIMA 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: May 14 2021May 22 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2021 IEEE International Conference on Cognitive and Computational Aspects of Situation Management, CogSIMA 2021

Conference

Conference2021 IEEE International Conference on Cognitive and Computational Aspects of Situation Management, CogSIMA 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Period5/14/215/22/21

Keywords

  • Broadband Connectivity
  • Cyber-physical Infrastructure
  • Digital Inclusion
  • Internet Backpack
  • Science Education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Decision Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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