Recently the London Knowledge Lab hosted an Education Hackfest, in which students from 5 schools in the London area. The kids produced interactive sensing projects and apps over the course of two days using Arduino, LilyPad, Raspberry Pi, MIT Application Developer for Android and other tools to think prototype ways to “re-design” education. I was privileged to be able to play a supporting part and advisor to some student of the groups. Check out the website for further details and videos.
I’m very excited to have contracted with publisher John Wiley & Sons to write a new book, Arduino Projects for Dummies. It will give an overview of using the Arduino microcontroller platform and feature about a dozen projects with straighforward instructions on how to build them. The LED matrix above is just one example of the variety of programmable, interactive, sensing and actuating projects you can build. The book is due out in Spring of 2013. Reserve a copy on Amazon today!
Really worth the 10 minutes.
In my research on the Next-Tell project, I’ve been showing teachers how to conduct research with their own students, using a a method we’ve developed to support teacher inquiry into student learning (TISL). One of our groups of teachers was very eager to understand how new ways of teach STEM topics were working out at their school. We’ve been using soundCloud to share audio recordings of students discussions after their work in class. The technique is pretty useful, because it allows teachers to share their own analyses with each other, and to discuss with each other their impressions of their students’ progress - a method of formative assessment. It also helps them to analyse their own teaching practice. I made a short video about it to demonstrate how it works.
Recently on the Visual Analytics group on LinkedIn (which is worth joining), the discussion turned to the subject of colouring stacked bars. In addition to a lot of useful pointers proferred by the group, one person posted a vast list of links related to colour and font selection. It is such a useful index of tools and resources, I have to share it!!
For what it’s worth, I see very little value in using stacked bars – they are not very effective for making reliable visual comparisons among values. The featured image (above) is about as good as anything I’ve seen generated by info graphic professionals!
To select the right colors (a range of):
- http://colorbrewer2.org/ (my favorite one… so easy)
- http://www.colorschemer.com/colorpix_info.php color picker
To help users who have limitations of visual perception:
- http://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/contrast-analyser.html compare two colors in term of contrast
Scientific information about colors:
- http://fr-fr.colourlovers.com/blog/ http://fr-fr.colourlovers.com
- http://www.spadixbd.com/freetools/jruler.htm (to measure anything on your screen)
Theory and usage:
I’ve been working on a new project, inspired by the recent demise of someone very close. It raised a lot of questions for me and roused my creative urge to make them more concrete hem in some way. Of course that inspiration also runs smack into my research and work in the sea of information and information design. Signage has always fascinated me and this will be a new project in my Signs series.
It’ll mimic a one-plane projection display and will compose questions to ponder, randomly selecting and composing sentences from a constrained vocabulary and grammar. Before sending the laser-cutting job to the awesome folks at cut-laser-cut I prototyped the project in Processing. It’s always better to tweak the interaction and design before shelling out for production. Still a few grammatical dependencies to tweak in the code, but it’s getting there…