Data science / IoT / AI curriculum

At XinaBox we are focussed on supporting the development of digital literacy in the classroom. Through hardware, software and learning materials our mission is to take technology beyond the computer science labs and into the mainstream curricula.

We recognise the importance of coding as an element of digital literacy... we see it as part of a greater whole. "Get kids coding" is a chapter in a larger story titled "Get young learners engaged with technology". Coding skills alone do not equate to digital literacy.

This philosophy is at the heart of our newly released data science / IoT / AI curriculum (referred to as MSAI):

The 5 modules that compromise MSAI

MSAI has been developed in partnership with Microsoft and is being piloted right now (Q1 2020) on two continents.

It is a learning journey that involves five modules:

  • Module 1 focusses on data literacy. By the end of the module students are able to design and execute experiments. They are confident using digital tools to gather and analyse data and are inquisitive and insightful in their use of data.  They are equipped to undertake a range of fun and interesting cross-curriculum experiments. 
  • Module 2 covers the basics of coding. By the end of this module students understand the key concepts of software development and the importance of focussing on the needs of the end user during the software design process. They can design and write software that controls novel digital instruments.
  • Module 3 introduces students to IoT and the Cloud whilst looking at key emerging technologies such as blockchain and concepts such as online security. By the end of this module students are comfortable discussing and using cloud based technologies.
  • Module 4 is all about building IoT solutions and using online services in experimentation and solution development. By the end of this module students have developed solutions that integrate with, and utilise, online platforms. 
  • Module 5 looks at AI and how to add Machine Learning to their IoT toolkit. By the end of this module students understand AI and have built a project that utilises ML services.

Each module includes 4-6 lessons that are built using NGSS guidelines and which are linked to the ISTE standards. Each lesson includes extension activities that dig more deeply into the topics covered and which are perfect for project work or for keeping precocious learners engaged. A series of cross-curriculum experiments help to expand and build on the topics covered in the lessons. With lessons, projects, homework, experiments and quizzes, the full curriculum delivers scores of hours of engaging and fun learning.

There are six categories of extension activities

The program is delivered through MS Teams and takes full advantage of all the great productivity tools available in the Office 365 environment. Educators can take advantage of inline marking, marking rubrics, student progress monitoring, a support line and a range of other great built-in features that enhance the lesson plans and which are designed by and for teachers.  The majority of the lessons in modules 1, 2 and 3 are accessible for students as young as 11, and we'll be testing them with even younger learners. They are also engaging for older students.

The XinaBox hardware ecosystem is used to deliver the curriculum. The ease of building circuits with our hardware means that novel digital instruments can used in each lesson without draining valuable learning time. The hardware is an enabler, rather than a central part of the lessons: students use hardware because of the outcomes it enables, rather than as an end unto itself.

Two examples of the sorts of digital instruments learners will build

And the cherry on top is the link between the curriculum and our Quest For Space project, where XinaBox hardware is resident on the International Space Station (ISS). In 2020/21 we plan to send up the MSAI hardware - the same kit that students use in the classroom. We will accompany this with themed lessons and experiments and a competition amongst participating schools to design experiments that will be conducted onboard the ISS. This is an exciting initiative in and of itself, and demonstrates how the hardware ecosystem can be used to deliver learning outcomes beyond the scope of the curriculum itself.

The cost of delivering the curriculum varies depending on the number of students that you intend to reach and across how many classes you share the kit. The cost is 100% capex: no subscriptions, renewals or consumables.  The hardware has proven to be very durable in classrooms so can be reused year-after-year. Calculated over 3 years the per student cost can approach just 20USD. And participating schools have unlimited access to the learning materials, which we are adding to on an ongoing basis. Finally, bear in mind that the hardware is useful across the curriculum, spreading the cost base over more learning time and subject areas.

And with XinaBox you are guaranteed that the hardware will still be relevant in 5 years time: as long as computer circuits are a feature of the digital world the XinaBox system will remain the easiest way to build circuits in a classroom. As new sensors / technology is released it is easy to integrate them into the ecosystem.

During Q1 and Q2 of 2020 we are piloting MSAI amongst forward thinking schools. Please get in touch if you are interested in taking part (you can email enquiries to pm@xinabox.cc). We'll roll out the refined and polished curriculum in Q3 so bookmark this page for updates.

Interested in finding out more about XinaBox? 

  • Why not browse our Blogs page to see what we get up to or what is new in the world of XinaBox. We try to add new blogs weekly and we're usually involved in some pretty cool stuff!
  • Our projects landing page links to scores of projects that are full of great ideas for ways in which our hardware can be used.
  • Or check out our full range - we have more than 80 components (we call them xChips) at the moment and the range will continue to grow.