The Social IoT Project: Innovative, International, Inspirational

by Andreea Cotoranu

For three consecutive days in November, the Seidenberg community got larger and more upbeat thanks to the visit of friends from places far away. As part of its commitment to provide students with transformative experiences, and to grow innovative and responsible citizens, the New York City Design Factory (NYCDF) at Pace University partnered with Design Factory Korea (DFK) at Yonsei University to pilot a project-based learning experience around the Social Internet of Things (IoT) theme.

The Social IoT Project, led by DFK, aims to encourage students to understand IoT technologies and connect these technologies with UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through this project, students have an opportunity to strengthen their social entrepreneurial skills for the 21st century, including complex problem solving; critical thinking; creativity; and social innovation. Students are encouraged to explore local interpretations of social issues, analyze and design an IoT based product or service, and validate and evaluate the social impact of its business model. As part of the project, student teams at DFK and at the project partner institutions, including Pace University, engaged in specific courses/projects to address a social problem of their choice. The solutions designed by the student teams, which aimed to integrate IoT or artificial intelligence components, were showcased as part of a gala which included project pitches and prototype demonstrations.

The Social IoT Student Gala featured 18 student teams from six design factories across the globe, for a total of 58 students!  In addition to NYCDF (project host) and DFK (project lead), design factory (DF) and institution partners included:  Aalto DF (Aalto University – Finland), Cali DF, DF Javeriana Bogota (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana – Colombia), and Fusion Point (Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya Barcelonatech – Barcelona).

Teams were judged and awarded based on several different criteria. Here are the winners!

  • Social Innovation Award: PeriBear (DFK)
  • Design Innovation Award: Olive (DFK)
  • Digital Social Entrepreneur Award: AgriTech (NYCDF)
  • Judge’s Choice Award: Blood Pressure Project [RBAC] (CDF)
  • Faculty’s Choice Award: VH (DFK)
  • Team Impact Award: Mind Matters (ADF)
  • Industry Award: Marcalli (Fusion Point)

An Innovation Development Workshop led by the DFK team offered students and faculty the opportunity to work together to further iterate on the solutions developed and presented as part of the Gala. For the workshop, teams from different design factories were paired based on common goals. Two team pairs were recognized with the “Innovation Award” for their prototypes:  AgriTech (NYCDF) & Smart Farmers (DFK), and Mirror Mirror on The Wall (NYCDF) & LIKA (DFK).

Last but not least, students and faculty were inspired by visits to NYC-based companies well-known for fostering innovation: SAP America, Intersection, Sidewalk Labs, Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures and StackOverflow.

The Social IoT Project is one of a series of collaborative projects supported by the Design Factory Global Network (DFGN), a network of innovation hubs in universities and research organizations across five continents. DFGN “is on a mission to create change in the world of learning and research through passion-based culture and effective problem solving. Shared understanding and common ways of working enable Design Factories in the network to collaborate efficiently across cultures, time zones and organizational boundaries fostering radical innovations.”

“Through projects like the Social IoT we aim to plant and nurture innovative thinkers. Students learn by doing and build skills for careers that do not exist yet. The conditions for this kind of learning could not be achieved without like-minded partners such as DFK, the DFGN community, as well as friends from academia and industry. I am grateful to all for their commitment to drive change through passion-based learning in an interdisciplinary, international context,”  said Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean for Academic Innovation and Director of the NYCDF.

On this note, “gomabseubnida” (thank you) DFK, ADF, CDF, DFJB, Fusion Point and the bigger DFGN family for participating in the Social IoT pilot! We look forward to hosting the 2019 edition!

Our thanks also go to Ursuline Foley, and Suresh Kumar (Seidenberg Advisory Board members), and John Lynn, Partner and Co-Founder of The Studio Project, and Seidenberg’s entrepreneur in residence.

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About: The NYCDF is a center for innovation and creative problem solving within the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University. NYCDF welcomes students of all majors, and across New York City and Westchester campuses! 

NYCDF’s most popular projects include courses like Product Development Project (PDP), Product Innovation Project (PIP), and Challenge Based Innovation (CBI). As part of these 7-month long experiences, students travel to Helsinki (Finland), Graz (Austria) and Geneva (Switzerland) to develop solutions for challenges presented by industry clients. However, for students looking to understand what NYCDF is all about, check out CIS102Y Design Thinking and Innovation.

In addition to courses, the NYCDF supports other project-based experiences, such as the four-day Nexus Maximus or the 36-hour RAT Relay for Global Good, all designed to provide students with opportunities to learn by doing.   

Students interested in NYCDF experiences can contact Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean for Academic Innovation (acotoranu@pace.edu).

Pace GenCyber brings cybersecurity to high school classrooms for the third year

Pace University’s GenCyber teacher workshop has completed its third year! The NSA and NSF-funded program, organized and run by the Seidenberg School, took place from July 13-21 and involved a wonderful cohort of high school teachers from across the nation attending lectures, discussions, lab exercises and activities pertaining to topics in cybersecurity.

Twenty-three high school teachers attended the Pace University Pleasantville campus to learn fundamental cybersecurity concepts and to study new resources and methods to facilitate integration of cybersecurity material into their class curricula or after-school activities.

Workshop participants were introduced to cybersecurity first principles, cryptography, web security, access control, biometrics, and cybersecurity analytics. The curriculum, designed and delivered by Seidenberg faculty and staff, was based on a combination of interpersonal, intrapersonal and kinesthetic learning activities that aimed to ensure participants got the most from their time at Pace University.

The GenCyber program is part of Seidenberg’s outreach efforts to infuse STEM and cybersecurity education into high school classrooms. As a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, Pace strives to prepare the next generation of cybersecurity professionals for the challenges of the future. Through programs like GenCyber, Pace University supports teachers across the country in teaching the fundamentals to their students.

GenCyber participant Ron Conwell, who teaches Career and Technical Education at Clarkson Community School is Clarkston, MI, said: “Of the professional development experiences I have been to, this rises to the top just based on the amount of student engagement experiences that we were able to participate and engage in. We got to actually use [Raspberry] Pis, actually do the labs, and engage in the experiences ourselves rather than have to focus on just taking notes while other people talked.”

Ed McGinnis, who teaches Computer Science at St. George’s School in Newport, RI, agreed. “There were lots of resources and lots of info received. We were given links and tangible things to take home to use immediately in the classroom.”

Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean of Academic Innovation and program director said that “through Pace GenCyber we aim to educate high school teachers about cybersecurity. Curricula taught in high schools is particularly well suited for integration of cybersecurity, since cybersecurity problems can often be reduced to the fundamentals of mathematics and computer science.

“Through the Pace GenCyber curriculum, we not only teach cybersecurity, but we also showcase the connections between cybersecurity topics and the participants’ teaching disciplines, as well as provide the tools needed to infuse the material into the classroom. Pace GenCyber is more than just a summer workshop, it is a community of faculty, students, teachers, alumni, government and corporate leaders who contribute to shaping the future of cybersecurity.”

GenCyber is made possible through funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency. The 2017 Pace University GenCyber program was designed and administered by Andreea Cotoranu (Program Director) and Dr. Li-Chiou Chen (Lead Instructor), with teaching support from Seidenberg School faculty Dr. Charles Tappert, Dr. Yegin Genc, and computer science high school teacher Jigar Jadav (Mamaroneck High School). Credit is also due to Barbara Woodworth and Jill Olimpieri, as well as Seidenberg students Tianyu Wang, Elizabeth Molloy, Kaitlyn Bestenheider, Steven Porras and Tristan Still. ​