Teaching IoT to the Next Generation of Leaders, Innovators, Doers and Dreamers

Think Big Foundation SensED Pilot Program

Preparing students and educators to be leaders in emergent technologies

Earlier this year, the Kansas City Council approved a $15 million agreement with San Francisco based Cisco Systems Inc., to turn a two-mile stretch of the streetcar line into a “Smart City” network – the largest deployment currently in North America.  Over the past few years, the definition of “Smart Cities” has evolved to mean many things to many people. Yet, one thing remains constant: part of being “smart” is utilizing information and communications technology and the Internet to address urban challenges.  

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows us to connect people, processes, data and things in order to improve the quality and livability of cities, communities, buildings and more.  It’s time to teach our kids about the Internet of Things.

Think Big Foundation is launching an education pilot, in partnership with Cisco, to bring Internet of Things know-how to high school and college students in Kansas City. We know that the number of connected devices is skyrocketing, and the global economic impact is significant, especially given Kansas City’s unique position as a leader in IoT.  Today’s students will be using and building the smart cities and communities of tomorrow.  It’s time to prepare them to lead in emergent technologies.  

Screenshot 2015-08-10 09.56.20

The SensED IoT program provides Internet of Things recipes and makes them available to educators and students so they can learn about the underlying technologies and applications — and gain a critical understanding of this new technology.

Embedded in our program are key learning opportunities to ignite critical thinking and build digital literacies, including:

  1. What are sensors and embedded computers.
  2. Basic electronics.
  3. How to program connected devices.
  4. Using GitHub.
  5. How to connect devices to the Internet.
  6. Characteristics of real-world sensor data.
  7. How data accumulates over time.
  8. How to share data with other people.
  9. Where standards are needed.
  10. Considerations for security & privacy.

We believe educators need fresh tools to teach digital literacy, programming and emergent technologies.  The SensED IoT program is designed to help educators learn to teach fundamental principles of computer science in innovative and engaging ways.  We believe developing early literacy is critical to ensuring that students not only understand how it works, but see the personal and social impact of their experience, and can connect their education to the abundance of new opportunities within this rapidly expanding field.

We are among a growing community of practice sharing inputs and outcomes to expand and extend the body of work in teaching IoT to the next generation of leaders, innovators, doers and dreamers.  

SensED Partners

About Think Big Foundation

We are social innovators spreading community impact as a learning enterprise to connect people to new futures. Whether they are entrepreneurs, teachers, civic or nonprofit leaders, students, startups, industry professionals or community organizers, the Think Big Foundation sees an imperative to advance the relationship between business/enterprise and education in order to deliver an improved outcome for students, the economy and the broader community.

Learn more about SensED IoT

About Kari Keefe

Kari is the Executive Director of the Think Big Foundation - educating entrepreneurs and fueling innovation for the design and development of education in smart cities.


  • downtobusinesskc@gmail.com' Tracy Bentley says:

    I could help you accomplish your mission, reaching the inner city youth. Since 2009, on a part-time basis I’ve been substitute teaching in more than 5 school districts, as I cultivated my own consulting business, it worked to supplement my income. Ask Herb Sih about me, he knows me well. He is acquainted with the work I’ve done to serve Veterans and he knows that I add value to anything I set out to do. I have a natural propensity to connect with youth, I make their learning experience relevant and can help spark and sustain interest in your program. I know what makes these students tick and if you are interested in talking to me, I’d love to chat. Call me, 816-536-4549 and lets see how both of our missions can be accomplished.


    Tracy Bentley
    (816) 536-4549

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.