Agriculture is one of the industries that has the longest history on our planet. It’s essential to the continuation of human life and the development of civilization. According to FAO, by 2050 the world’s population will reach 9.1 billion, and our food supply must increase by 70% to meet the future demand. How can we meet this challenge while the arable land on earth is decreasing? Needless to say, the advance of technology should be adopted in empowering agriculture for the new era! Speaking of the future, one of the best ways for creating a sustainable future is through education, especially youth education.
There is no doubt we need to integrate agriculture with technology and education. We are honored to collaborate with Microsoft and the National FFA Organization (FFA) on the FarmBeats for Students program. The program provides hardware, student experiences, and custom curriculums to teach students about artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things in the context of digital agriculture.
Since 2019, there has been continuous communication between Microsoft and Seeed about bringing the FarmBeats to the classroom. Seeed is happy and honored to join hands with Microsoft and FFA on launching the FarmBeats Student Kit. With more than 1 year of testing, refining and optimization, we are excited that the FarmBeats Student Kit is now released. It consists of software, curriculum & resources, and hardware kits.
Microsoft Excel enables students to stream the data from sensors, visualize it and analyze the data.
With Lobe.ai, students can easily build, train, and apply machine learning models to track and inform plant health.
Curriculum: With the close collaboration between Microsoft, FFA, and educators, the FarmBeats for Students Program also comes with a curated curriculum aligned to the NGSS, CSTA, and AFNR standards. The student activities can be done in the classroom, or at home.
The curriculum includes engaging activities for students with step by step instructions for educators:
The Activity Guides provide important background information and walk students step by step through the activity with opportunities to journal and reflect upon what they have learned.
The Educator Guide provides background and deep-dive information for each activity to support educators preparing to bring the curriculum into their classrooms.
All agricultural concepts and performance objectives in these activities are associated with the Learning Objectives (LO) and Enduring Understanding (EU) at grade levels 9 – 12 from the AI4K125 Big Ideas.
The hardware kit enables students to get hands-on experience to learn about sensor technology and how the data collected from different sensors affect the growth of the crops; thus they understand soil conditions and crop health, and are able to make better decisions with data-driven insights.
The hardware kit comes in two versions: one with Raspberry Pi 4 included, and the other without a Raspberry Pi 4.
If you do not already have a Raspberry Pi 4, please choose the version with Raspberry Pi 4 included. With the hardware kit and the abundant resources available at Microsoft FarmBeats for Students site, you can dive into the emerging world of IoT in your school or home garden, or at your local maker spaces or Fab Labs and apply modern data-driven decision-making techniques to grow plants.
The two versions of the hardware kit are now available for pre-order on the Seeed website. Please click the link or the image below to order one now!
(Raspberry Pi 4 included)
(without Raspberry Pi 4)
With the hardware kit, student experiences, and curated curriculum, you can get hands-on experience, learn about artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, and data science whether you are in the classroom, at home, or through distance learning courses, and then you can apply the knowledge to growing plants in the real world.
The FarmBeats for Students Program made its debut on March 4th, the World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development. The FarmBeats for Students program educates the next generation on the technologies that will bring a long-lasting, positive impact on our planet. With an understanding of AI, machine learning, and the IoT, tomorrow’s farmers will be more efficient, producing more while using less of our planet’s finite resources.
We are honored and pleased to join hands with Microsoft and FFA to make the technology and resources available for students and educators, giving them what they need to gain the knowledge and skills for precision farming and sustainable agriculture. We are eager to see more organizations, institutions, companies, and individuals, especially the next generation joining this endeavor, and step by step, we can march further to a sustainable world!