ARMONK, N.Y. - 29 Jul 2009: Eight of 10 students 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 by IBM (NYSE: IBM) called the Smarter Planet University Jam. Nearly 2,000 students and faculty from more than 200 universities from 40 countries took part in the Jam along with top IBM experts, clients and business partners. Students around the world showed that they are eagerly seeking opportunities to work together with industry to create a Smarter Planet, and they are extremely optimistic about the future.
“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, vice president of technical strategy and university programs, IBM. “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. They are boldly challenging the industry to transform that vision into their reality, and IBM is committed to meeting that challenge.”
To ensure a continued dialogue with university students, IBM plans to create a student advisory board, which will collaborate with IBM on recommendations for future student involvement in Smarter Planet initiatives. IBM also announced plans to launch a Facebook application that allows students to connect with IBM mentors. In addition, IBM is launching a new program for employees to remotely initiate and oversee student projects in Smarter Planet areas.
“Jammers” contributed hundreds of progressive insights during the massive crowdsourcing session, brainstorming on topics including the skills students need to be competitive in the globally integrated economy; environmental protection, water management and conservation; fostering pollution-free and inexpensive energy; and providing advanced healthcare as the world’s population continues to grow rapidly, especially in developing nations.
IBM’s report highlights the results of the Jam, which pointed to the positive outlook that students have about how they can affect the future as well as confirmed their incredible thoughts on education, going green, and other ideas to build a smarter planet.
Skills for a Globally Integrated Economy
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.
Jammers also discussed that success in the services-based global economy requires academia, government, and industry to work together to create “T-shaped” people with deep knowledge in one discipline and broader knowledge in other areas. To meet this need, IBM has pioneered an interdisciplinary curriculum called Service Science, Management and Engineering (SSME), and is currently working with 250 universities around the globe. Jammers identified project-based teams – across geographical, disciplinary and institutional boundaries – as the preferred model for this interdisciplinary education, ensuring a mix of business, technical and liberal arts knowledge for the development of richer, more innovative solutions.
Green and Beyond
The report also showed that this generation is definitely going green. Faculty and student jam participants contributed over 100 examples and ideas of how their universities are, or could be, “going green”, including:
Other Jam Highlights
Other highlights from the Smarter Planet University Jam emerged from the following areas:
Several universities held Jam sessions during class or hosted special events on campus. Pace University combined Computer Science and Environmental Studies classes to jam together on its campus in Pleasantville, New York. “The Smarter Planet University Jam was one of the most exciting and innovative experiences I have ever been a part of. IBM is setting the standard for the corporate world to start learning from the people that depend on them,” said Taylor Vogt, a student majoring in political science at Pace University. “This kind of free-flowing forum is extremely vital to the sustainability movement, where far too often good ideas are never shared or worse, never listened to. I was proud to be a part of this experience.”
“Innovative programs like the Smarter Planet University Jam underscore IBM’s dedication to helping our students acquire the skills they need to succeed,” said Dr. James Tien, Distinguished Professor and Dean, College of Engineering, University of Miami. “The Jam allowed our students the chance to learn from their peers around the globe and to work in conjunction with industry on real-world issues that they, as tomorrow’s leaders, have both the power and the responsibility to solve.”
Faculty Awards and Student Recognition
Two faculty members stood out as Jammers with unusual perception and ability to think forward. The top faculty contributor was Dr. Ismail Ari, assistant professor of electrical engineering at Ozyegin University in Istanbul, Turkey. Dr. Ari will receive an IBM Faculty Award to seed collaborative research with IBM in Smarter Planet topic areas of mutual interest. Some of his notable contributions included metrics for smart cities, the use of augmented reality to involve citizens in city planning, and development of smart evacuation systems.
A second IBM Faculty Award for research in Services Science, Management and Engineering (SSME) went to Ravi Nemana, executive director of SSME of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Nemana contributed key ideas and insights, including discussion on smarter healthcare for emerging regions and ideas for mobile applications that integrate social networks to help individuals manage their healthcare.
IBM also recognized 20 students for their insightful and innovative contributions to the Jam. The full report, including the list of top student contributors from around the globe, and podcast interviews with Jai Menon and the Faculty Award winners, are available at www.ibm.com/university/smartplanet_jam. In addition, a blog with a deeper view from Jai Menon is available at www.asmarterplanet.com.
IBM works with thousands of universities around the world to provide faculty with the resources they need to help millions of students build competitive skills for a smarter planet. More information about IBM’s Smarter Planet Education and university programs is available at www.ibm.com/press/smarterplaneteducation or www.ibm.com/press/university, and information about the IBM Academic Initiative and the resources it provides to faculty and students is available at http://www.ibm.com/academicinitiative.
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