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The PBL opportunity that empowers students to help solve the global food crisis [Video]

By Team ISTE 11/23/2016

The global food crisis is one of the biggest problems facing the world today, and it’s also one of the most complicated, encompassing a wide variety of issues from obesity to endemic food insecurity. And it’s a problem that affects, in one way or another, nearly all of the planet’s 7 billion residents.

But there’s good news! Your students can become part of the solution.

To solve some of the worldwide issues that make up the global food crisis, Caleb Harper, director of the Open Agriculture Initiative at MIT Media Lab and his team have created a “personal food computer” that they hope will allow people around the world to affordably and efficiently grow their own food, optimized for nutrition, flavor and resource use. Each computer, attached to a small growing chamber, can replicate the ideal climates and chemical conditions for growing various types of food using data drawn from an open source, globally connected platform where digital “farmers” upload, analyze and share their growing “recipes.”

Although it may sound complicated, the OpenAG initiative is designed to be accessible to collaborators of any age or place, including K-12 students.

Harper recognized that OpenAG has the hallmarks of an excellent global project-based learning initiative: It solves a real-world problem, and it calls on students to tap into a number of the ISTE Standards for Students. As knowledge constructors, participants actively explore real-world issues to pursue solutions. As computational thinkers, they identify, collect and analyze data to facilitate their problem-solving. And as global collaborators, they contribute constructively to a global project team that is working toward a common goal.

Find out how the OpenAG’s personal food computers work and how your students can get involved by watching Harper’s full ISTE 2016 EdTekTalk.

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