Moonshot Makes Students Part of the Smart City Solution

Creating smart cities is not only for architects and technologists, increasingly students in both K-12 and universities are becoming involved in building smarter communities.  One program working in this arena is Moonshot, run by Senior Google Engineer, Katy Kasmai. She works with K-12 students helping them create what she calls “10x solutions” to complicated problems.

“These are high-impact, high-value solutions that are also very complex to implement,” says Kasmia, “but if implemented, have the potential for exponential value and can change things in an immeasurable way.”

In one of her introductory lectures, she uses Elon Musk’s Mars colonization efforts as an example of creative problem solving. She then asks the students to brainstorm ideas to solve climate change and then categorize their solutions based on difficulty level and value before putting them in groups to make their final designs. She calls this process an Exponential Sprint – to stop settling for incremental solutions and to start thinking 10x.

Moonshot is an open-source curriculum, and Kasmai intends to keep it that way. The goal of her work, she says, is not monetary but to use education to give kids a purpose. The curriculum is flexible and can be applied to a full-time school year, a single class, after-school programs, or even a weekend or conference experience. Schools and other groups interested in the program can find more information at Exponential Education.

“The future depends on the ability of cities to adapt to changes and remain sustainable. This high level of adaptiveness requires high levels of creativity,” says Kasmia. “It only makes sense to enable the kids with the opportunity to create their future.”