SMART technology is being brought into Scottish classrooms to help pupils prepare for a future in a data-driven world.

In a world-leading initiative, primary and secondary classes in south-east Scotland will learn how to interpret reams of statistics produced by sensors tracking environmental conditions in their schools.

The scheme, backed by the Scottish and UK governments, will see pupils being introduced to the Internet of Things (IoT) – networks of connected devices which are capable of collecting and exchanging vast amounts of data.

Learning to make sense of the data will enable pupils to improve their school environment, as well as equipping them to navigate an increasingly complex digital landscape and preparing them for work in new data-driven industries.

All 550 schools will be offered classroom sensors that gauge CO2, temperature, humidity, air pressure and light levels, and some involved in the £9.5 million project will also receive outdoor air quality monitors, soil moisture sensors and weather stations. Each device will be linked to a high performance computer at the University of Edinburgh where the raw data will be converted into graph form, which pupils can readily access.

This example of the IoT in action means that pupils – accessing graphs on laptops, tablets or a PC – can make informed decisions that will help create optimum learning conditions in class.

Two Midlothian schools – Roslin Primary and Newbattle High – have piloted the IoT project, part of a wider Data Education in Schools programme.

A key objective of the £1.3bn Deal is to make Edinburgh & South-East Scotland the ‘Data Capital of Europe’.

Professor Judy Robertson, the university’s chair of digital learning, said data skills development is relevant across all curriculum areas, topics and themes.

She said: “Data has been hugely significant in decision-making around Covid, but it influences many areas and having the skills to use data effectively and responsibly is increasingly important.”