Smart Campus: Enhancing Geography Education at Hills Grammar School with SenseCAP Sensors in Australia

To enhance geography education for Year 11 and 12 students, making it more immersive, data-driven, and globally connected, Hills Grammar School collaborated with One Planet Education Network (OPEN) and created a smart campus solution. The solution involved deploying SenseCAP sensors and weather stations across the school’s campus, which collect reliable, accurate, and real-time data for the students to get valuable insights into geography. Through a virtual connection with the University of Maryland, students gained practical insights into the application of the sensors for real-time data collection, further highlighting the value of geography education in addressing contemporary environmental challenges.

In February 2010, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science funded a nationwide Citizen Engagement Program: Inspiring Australia. To improve science communication and help engage the Australian community with science, Inspiring Australia has rolled out a range of programs and expanded existing ones to help achieve its goals, among which improving urban weather and environmental data for use in science and geography education in schools all around the country has been an important approach. Set in over 52 acres of campus, including an eminently beautiful and natural parcel of land in Kenthurst, 30km northwest of Sydney CBD, the Hills Grammar School is one of the schools that is dedicated to embracing the Inspiring Australia program.


With an enrollment of over 1000 students, providing diverse and inclusive education for children from Pre-K to Year 12, the Hills Grammar School has been applying STEM education and curriculum-aligned classroom activities for some years. However, the challenge at hand was to make education more immersive, data-driven, and globally connected. Hills Grammar School wanted to empower its students to explore the complexities of the environment and climate, bridging the gap between theory and real-world observation.

sensor locations
Locations of the sensors in the campus


To help its students engage with science more interactively and prepare the students with skills to master emerging IoT technologies, the Hills Grammar School collaborated with One Planet Education Network (OPEN) and set out to revolutionize geography education for Year 11 and 12 students. OPEN, a mission-driven social enterprise founded by George Newman, specializes in STEM+Project-Based Learning, with a focus on sustainable community development and the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This innovative partnership aimed to enrich student’s learning experiences and deepen their understanding of the environment.

The solution lay in the deployment of 15 number of SenseCAP sensors in 6 different sites across the school’s campus. These sensors included four SenseCAP S2103 CO2 sensors, three SenseCAP S2104 soil moisture/temperature sensors, three SenseCAP S2102 light intensity sensors, and three SenseCAP A1101 vision AI sensors. In addition, two SenseCAP S2120 LoRaWAN 8-in-1 Weather Stations were installed to collect microclimate data.

The sensor data is sent to the cloud via the Helium LoRaWAN Network, which is already accessible in the area without any special network infrastructure needed, only a Seeed Studio SenseCAP M1 LoRaWAN Indoor gateway.  Together with the live dashboard created by OPEN, and its partner Hitechdb, which is based on Ubidots software, the data can be visualized and accessed during classroom activities, allowing students to engage directly with their surroundings, thus turning the school’s campus into a living laboratory for geography education.

SenseCAP Devices Deployed at the Campus
SenseCAP Devices Deployed at the Campus
Solution Dashboards

Why Seeed Studio’s Advanced Perception System

SenseCAP sensors were the perfect choice for this project due to their reliability, accuracy, and real-time data capabilities. These sensors provided students with the opportunity to access valuable data that enhanced their understanding of geography. SenseCAP sensors are known for their ease of use and seamless integration, making them ideal for educational environments.

These sensors provided students with the opportunity to access valuable data that enhanced their understanding of geography.  Moreover, SenseCAP’s ability to provide real-time data ensured that students could actively monitor and analyze the ever-changing weather conditions, air quality, soil moisture, light levels, and CO2 levels, and impacts on local biodiversity, facilitating a more hands-on and engaging learning process. This first hand exposure to sensor technology has equipped students with the practical skills necessary for future academic and professional pursuits.

SenseCAP Devices Deployed at the Campus

“OPEN’s partnership with Seeed Studio has allowed for the evolutionary development of hands-on citizen science field research programs by OPEN.  This is a truly remarkable development for education, and for all of us. With the combination of Seeed’s versatile SenseCAP sensor technologies and OPEN’s open network data, academic researchers and student citizen scientists can begin to better understand the underlying forces that are rapidly changing life on our small planet.  Backed by this empirical data we see students taking the lead in formulating novel and practical solutions to our many global environmental challenges.”  –  George Newman, CEO at One Planet Education Network, LLC (OPEN).


The deployment of SenseCAP sensors played a pivotal role in enriching the educational experience at Hills Grammar School. Year 11 and 12 Geography students at Hills Grammar School engaged in an international learning initiative in collaboration with One Planet Education. During this program, the students had the unique opportunity to virtually connect with the University of Maryland in the USA.

The virtual sessions featured students from the undergraduate course in the Environmental Monitoring Lab at the University of Maryland, specializing in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science and Mechanical Engineering. They shared their profound insights into how the SenseCAP sensors were effectively utilized for real-time data collection. This data, including weather conditions, air quality, and greenhouse gas measurements, was employed to quantify and monitor various environmental factors.

This unparalleled learning experience enabled Hills Grammar School students to grasp the practical application of SenseCAP sensors and understand their critical role in addressing real-world environmental challenges. By expanding their global perspective, it underscored the immense value of geography education in contemporary environmental studies and problem-solving.

Virtual session
Virtual Sessions with The University of Maryland

One Planet Education Network (OPEN) is an organization with the goal to make students worldwide enthusiastic about science and understanding different cultures. They want to ensure students are ready to work in a modern, technology-focused world and solve big problems that affect us all. OPEN gives students the chance to use new technologies, to communicate with each other and experts globally, and to share their cultures and histories. They value respect, equality, and listening to everyone, including traditional cultures. 
Hills Grammar School is a renowned educational institution that offers a comprehensive and enriching learning experience to its students. Known for its commitment to academic excellence and holistic development, the school provides a diverse range of programs and extracurricular activities that foster intellectual growth, creativity, and personal growth. With a strong emphasis on values, character development, and community engagement, Hills Grammar strives to empower students to become compassionate and responsible global citizens.

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November 2023