IoT Education &

Workforce Development

Global City Teams Challenge

Spring 2017

Preparing for an increasingly sensor- and data-driven world.

The Need

Today’s students and our broader workforce will be building and using the smarter cities and communities of tomorrow.

The time to start learning is now.

The Solution

We’re creating and deploying Internet of Things learning recipes modeled after smart city use cases and making them available to students to build functioning sensors that generate data.







Use Cases

GitHub Site, Classrooms, Workshops

Spin-off Initiatives


World Population Comparison

The number of connected devices is skyrocketing

The global economic impacts are staggering

Everyone will be affected by these changes.


Montgomery County, Maryland

Key Concepts: Internet of Things



Greg Toth / IoT Dev Labs

Hardware & Sensors

Open hardware that’s readily available.

Modular sensors and actuators that are plug-and-play.

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Raspberry Pi

BeagleBone Black

Intel Galileo & Edison

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Grove Pi +

Grove Intel IoT Edition

Grove Cape for

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More than 200 types

of sensors available.

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Learning Approach

Real-Time Data Exchange





Other Sites





What can be sensed?

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Air pressure
  • Location
  • Light
  • Noise
  • Soil moisture
  • Energy
  • Traffic
  • Motion
  • Buttons
  • Doors
  • Proximity
  • Time

Students build hardware and software to collect, exchange, analyze and compare real-world sensor data.

Students learn about hardware and software through hands-on mentoring, workshops and hackathons.

Students analyze collected data and compare between teams, taking into account differences in location, timezones, climates, etc.

Students brainstorm how this fits into a Smart City ecosystem.


Real-time data exchange site containing “data rooms” where students can continuously post real-time sensor data to share.


Pre-written program templates that can be modified, mixed and extended by students.

Written in common open-source languages.

Maintained on project GitHub site.

C / C++

GitHub Site

Custom Flash Cards

Custom-designed paper flash cards with pictures and descriptions of each hardware and software component needed to implement recipes or create entirely new solutions.

We’re experimenting with this as an additional learning aid.

Learning Opportunities

  • Sensors and embedded computers
  • Basic electronics
  • How to program connected devices
  • How to connect devices to the Internet
  • Using GitHub
  • Characteristics of real-world sensor data
  • How data accumulates over time
  • How to share data with other people
  • Where standards are needed
  • Considerations for security & privacy

Example High School IoT Projects

Real-time button polling machine to poll students as they enter & leave the building.

Environmental monitoring station to learn how to measure the environment.

Detecting automobile collisions to speed up emergency response.

Measuring air pollution generated by idling cars.


“Students have never been so engaged in a classroom activity!”

“I was very pleased with the level of autonomy and self-motivation this project provided.”

-- Janice Bailey, Clarksburg High School Technology Teacher, Clarksburg, Maryland


“A fantastic way to whet the appetites of student-learners.”

“There’s nothing like experiencing first-hand, how the IoT will ultimately impact our lives.”

-- Darrell Andrews, Bishop O’Connell High School Technology Teacher, Arlington, Virginia


“The projects require high-level cognitive thought processes that demand creativity.”

“Students are allowed to try new student-generated solutions and to learn through failure – which is a natural part of the iterative design process.
Students almost always ‘cycle back’ to a solution!”

-- Bill Edmisten, Yorktown High School Technology Teacher, Arlington, Virginia

Related Virginia Tech Research

Cyber-Physical Fingerprinting for Internet of Things Authentication

  • Develop ways to authenticate IoT devices in a rich cyber-physical environment
  • Know what’s connecting to an IoT ecosystem
  • Foster research and education team focused on Internet of Things, data and student engagement

Contact & Links


Name: Greg Toth



Slide deck:

GitHub site: