a questionnaire to establish Grand Challenges in the domain is now available


(thank in advance for your time and contribution)


In a not far future 70% of the world’s population will live in densly populated urban centers bringing back us to the XVI-XVII century; although nowadays the dimensions are scaled up and cities are huge aggregates with huge problems.
From the Far East, to the Americas and to Europe, cities, villages and their surroundings are trying to solve urban problems by evolving towards a new dimension in which the information infrastructure becomes an indispensable asset of our life, contributes to the development of info-ecosystems embracing 'smart mobility and last-mile logistics', 'smart health', 'smart government', 'smart culture and tourism', the sustainability of the natural resources and the green economy. Such integrated effort of info-urbanism represents a practical realization of the infrastructural background needed to reify the UL part of the DULP framework (D -> Design Inspired Learning; U -> Ubiquitous Learning; L -> Liquid Learning Places; P -> Person in Place Centred Design; see previous workshops DULP@ICALT2010, DULP@ICALT2011, DULPSPeL@ICALT2012) and, inevitably, leads one to wonder about what the forms of future smart education will be.
The virtual infrastructure - web and mobile - will be integrated more closely with the physical landscape - internet of thing and sensible physical places - incorporating the latter into a complex ecosystem which will bring forward opportunities to learn from everyday life. Technologies, increasingly embedded into the everyday spaces and artefacts, will make the places not only more sensitive but also responsive and, potentially, coevolutionary (TEP - Technology Enhanced Places) giving rise to new landscapes in which one can experiment, seamlessly, the integration of physicality and virtuality.

The problems hidden behind the smart city framework, however, are quite relevant:
a) Very often in today's models of Smart Cities, ICT (Information and Communication Technology) infrastructures are mainly considered as indispensable assets to optimize the consumption of resources and to streamline movement across the city: goods, people and data. In other terms ICT is seen as enzyme and catalyst able to optimize city's processes both in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.
The field of education is no exception: in all smart city benchmarking and ranking, in fact, education is considered to be an enabling factor that impacts the quality of life only in terms of infrastructure and services (density of schools, provision of content and services through large band width, ability to produce competencies necessary for the functioning of the system, etc.)
Such models tend to underestimate the relevance of the letters D and P of the DULP framework. Individuals who live in the city can not be considered just numbers; they are people who in their actions are driven by motivations and expectations, individual desires and needs, who have their own styles. Individuals that with the increasing complexity of the society also need to learn how to define and redefine on the fly their evolutionary path to realize their expectations.
b) To avoid possible new 'divides' and become, thus, 'smart citizens', individuals need to acquire new skills. At present it is not completely clear what such skills would be and how their acquisition may be facilitated by the technological context, and through it assessed. In other words, what  are the dimensions of  “digital ethniticity” when is comes to ICT and learning in smart cities? It seems that technical skills will be no longer sufficient and that the individuals need to acquire more and more the so called 'people skills', whose acquisition is much more complex to monitor.
c) No smart city model can be considered universal because local cultures and constraints have a key role in determining the route toward the development of a smart city and, therefore, future educational paths and processes; it implies that the approach toward the smartness of the education must therefore be a 'glocal ' one, in which technologies are expected to respect the characteristics of the context (cultural sustainable development)