Practice Shapes : Android App To Learn Shapes

Only way to learn something is to learn it by yourself.

Recently I have been playing with Canvas in android and it has been fun! ūüėÄ

As they say knowledge is knowing tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in vegetable basket. And best way to persist new gained “wisdom” is to put it in use.

Practice Shapes is a fun app both for kids and grown-up kids (Yes. You!), to test their drawing skills. Though I know drawing on a mobile screen¬†with your fingers is not your favorite thing, but still you will enjoy it! ūüėÄ

Download the app from play store :

 

This app is open source : You can fork it at https://github.com/priyankvex/Practice-Shapes/

 

TECH STACK : 

  • Android¬†SDK
  • Bitmap Images of Shapes

The power lies in not reinventing the wheel, but to use it to move forward.

OPEN SOURCE LIBRARIES USED : 

  1. Universal Image Loader
  2. Sugar ORM
  3. Fancy Buttons

To Create Images : 

To create images for the app on which user draws, i used GIMP. These are just simple images with transparent background.

Right now, there are total of 18 images in the app under 3 difficulty levels.

If you can add more images feel free to do so.

Screenshots of app : 

drawing_ss

hard_shapes_ssscore

Download the app from play store :


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How Mobile Devices Can Change the Educational Technology and Education?

Educational technology is growing rapidly and thus is catching everyone’s attention. At the same time mobile devices are part of are lives from a long time now. Students and teachers are increasingly embracing tablets and e-book readers in their personal lives.

Accessibility of educational technology is one of the biggest barrier that we are facing. Mobile devices are best way to make this problem less serious.

Advantages of mobile devices to be used as platform for ed-tech :  

  1.  Easy accessibility and availability.
  2. Inexpensive than other tools like desktops and laptops.
  3. Smaller is size and thus easy to carry.
  4. Rich application environment to distribute content.
  5. Highly accepted device by all people.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs about better engaging students in class, seeing how instructional support areas can use the devices in terms of working with students, and finding out if faculty and staff can use them to be more efficient and effective,‚ÄĚ says Lisa Young, an instructional design and educational technology faculty member at SCC.

With growing popularity of mobile devices we have enormous possibilities to enhance the current education system. We can put content on e-books, applications etc. The current generation is so innate with mobile devices that use of mobile as a platform for ed-tech will only make it more intuitive and fun for them.

 

‚ÄúLike any new technology, it takes a while to see where it fits,‚ÄĚ says Ron Bonig,

Of course this will take some time. We are still in phase where educational technology is not that crosses everyone’s mind as a necessity. Some people still think smartphones are hindrance to education. But i very firmly believe that string development programs in this field will cause them to go with the flow.

Despite its potential mobile computing is yet to reach the mass educators and students as a platform. But who knows we are at the starting of a revolution that will change the education scene forever!

MIT 11.133x : Implementation and Evaluation of Educational Technology ‚Äď Week 3 Sum Up

What does it take to implement a educational technology? You have the idea that can supposedly change the world of ed tech and learning, but how to implement it?

Throughout the course, in the past 3 weeks I was constantly having my idea of creating an ed tech. With each passing week the course taught me something new which can be used to carve the idea even better.

By the end of 3 weeks I was having a very clear vision of what area of learning I have to target in my ed tech implementation, but again no technical knowledge was there on how to shape up the implementation wire-frame.

This week was about Implementation of education technology. What does it take to successfully implement an ed tech? What are the challenges and what should be done to overcome them.

I was having an idea to implement a learning management system, actually an start -up idea! So all the course material was used to carve the idea only.

Barriers in implementation : 

Course introduced the i5 framework to evaluate all the aspects associated with the implementation of ed tech.

i5 framework

 

The graphic above describes all the aspects of ed tech. It covers all the barriers in implementation of ed tech.

Professional Development of teachers and educators : 

Next important topic discussed in the course was professional development of the teachers and educators. After all teachers are the one who are going to use the ed tech, thus development of their attitude towards ed tech is the key factor.

Professional development is long term process and needs constant effort over a long period of time. We need to connect teachers to the ed tech world and constantly work to make their attitude constructive towards it.

Equal investment should be made both on tools of ed tech and the teacher’s development who is going to use that tool.

While implementing an ed tech we should be constantly in touch with the teachers and educators. Their feedback on prototypes is the magic potion.

On enhancement I can think of is results in schools come pretty late. It loses the context of the test which was given by the student. Making a Assessment Tool  for the school can create a lot of difference.

Goal of ed tech implementation should not be to only present the information to the student but to orchestrate a learning environment around them.

I was relating all the ideas to my ed tech start-up idea. And this was the exact next thing tackled by the course.

Ed Tech Start-Ups : 

There is great potential for start-ups in the field of ed tech. Especially for the ones working on products for school curriculum and for efficiency in school operations.

Challenges faced by the ed tech start-ups : 

Honestly this was the exact same thing going in my mind before I played this video. My reaction was “Get out of my brain!”.

  1. Lot of ed tech start-ups
  2. This creates lot of tools having scattered ideas.
  3. Lack of practical testing.

Ed tech industry is slow when it comes to giving feedback on products. But that is exactly opposite of fast paced rapid development methodology of start-up culture. This is where the problem lies.

A remedy can be to include schools in the pipeline of development cycle and give them prototypes on regular basis to get feedback.

What comes after conceptualizing your start-up idea? Entrepreneurship!

Entrepreneurship in the field of ed tech : 

There are lot of challenges here.

  1. These guys are real difficult buyers.
  2. Getting fit in school budget is tricky.
  3. Sales are seasonal.
  4. Selling at the right price is always a challenge.

Few things that can be done to make life little less miserable can be  :

  1. Blended learning should be emphasized.
  2. Understand the tech requirements.
  3. Freemium model is great to get customers and collect data.

The course also included some start-up stories of ed tech entrepreneurs. Though stories are too long to be discussed here (I am already feeling sleepy :P), but the essence can be stated pretty easily.

Make products that are easy to learn, support the pedagogical features, are easily accessible and most importantly fun to use.

Mistakes made by start-ups  : 

  1. Not understanding data privacy.
  2. Terms of service should be flexible.

Teaching is the profession without which no other profession can exist.

Throughout the course I was having the idea of how can I make education more effective using ed tech. Keeping indian scenario in mind, I will look forward to implement a LMS (Learning Management System).

To take the first steps towards it I will be working on Assessment Tool for teachers and students both.

Being a software developer I also looked for open source organizations working in the field of ed tech. I found BuilmLearn¬†pretty impressive. ¬†Especially the idea of making education apps for mobile. Considering india’s economy mobile can be a very good step towards implementing technology and innovation.

I will look forward to get in touch and contribute to this organization. More on this another post. (Almost falling asleep on keyboard ūüėõ ).

Last week of the course left. See you guys next time.

 

 

MIT 11.133x : Implementation and Evaluation of Educational Technology ‚Äď Week 2 Sum Up

Here is it end of week 2 of 11.133x. And we are back with the  sum up.

This week was about many aspects that one should deal with while implementing an education technology, like deciding education technology framework, how to analyse a ed tech, technology buying process etc.

This week started with TPACK. What is TPACK and why does it matter?

TPACK is a framework which combines 3 knowledge. These are technological knowledge, content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge.

Content knowledge : 

It is the focus on the content that we have to teach and deliver to the students.

Pedagogical Knowledge : 

How to teach that content? What methods are we going to use to deliver that content to the students. For example using group discussions, debates etc.

Technological Knowledge  :

Decide what kind of technology support is required to achieve this. It can be a case that technology is not  the best solution. This aspect should be analysed very carefully.

Next was a video on logistical and instructional half of an ed tech.

Logistical and Instructional half to decide the use of ed tech : 

1. Logistical half : 

  1. Cost of that ed tech and funding available to implement that ed tech.
  2. Access of the ed tech to students and teachers.
  3. It should be equal for all. For example all must be using same tablet.
  4. Usability of the ed tech. How easy is to use the ed tech.
  5. Best ed tech is the one that students already know how to use.
  6. Flexibility. Multi-use of the ed tech is possible or not.

A great example on flexibility of ed tech is popcorn machine and chefs knife. Though popcorn machine is very good at making popcorn, but it can’t be used for other purposes. On the other hand chef’s knife takes some time to learn, but can be used in many ways.

2. Instructional Half : 

  1. Quality of learning. How effective that ed tech is in improving the quality of learning. How much does it help to deliver complex topics to students.
  2. Efficiency. How fast can students pick up the concepts by the use of the ed tech.
  3. Possibilities of creation of new opportunities.
  4. Collateral skill development.

 

Next in the course was a video on initiative on BYOD (Bring your on device) and and 1:1 student to device ratio in Maine.

In India, this can be possible by giving tablets, as Indian schools run on a tight budget. But 1:1 ratio is where the power lies.

Cloud based ed tech apps also have a great future and applications. Users can access all the information just using a website.

Each week brings new mind opening concepts regarding ed tech implementation. I am myself having some ideas on creating a ed tech. Will also look to connect to some open source ed tech organizations.

Let’s see what is in store in next week.

 

MIT 11.133x : Implementation and Evaluation of Educational Technology ‚Äď Week 1 Sum Up

edx

Here is it. End of week 1 of the course 11.133x.

This week was a little more focused on educational technology. It covered various vital topics like  :

  1. Stakeholders in ed tech.
  2. Evaluation and assessment.
  3. What makes a good ed tech?
  4. Future of teaching.
  5. Where to start with ed tech?
  6. Concept of SAMR.

Stakeholders in Ed Tech : 

Stakeholders in ed tech are the ones who are going to be affected by the ed tech the most.

Major stakeholders are :

  • Students
  • Teachers
  • Parents
  • Administration of the educational institution.

Ed Tech companies making the ed tech products.

Evaluation v/s Assessment :

Evaluation is very different from assessment.

For evaluation we need to know our goals and we analyze how well we have accomplished our goals.
Assessment is just checking the state of something.

Why use Educational Technology?

There are many good reasons to choose Ed Tech :

  • Creativity
  • Collaboration.
  • Communication.
  • Breadth and Depth of the topic is covered in a more efficient way.
  • Flexibility.
  • Personalization and differentiation at the same time.
  • Assessment and evaluation.
  • Efficiency.

Blended Learning  :

Blended learning is the combination of learning face to face and distant.

What is happening at the class room is integrated with what is happening at a distance.

What makes a good Ed Tech?

Start with the goals not with the technologies.
Teachers and admins should collaborate and understand each other for successful implementation of technologies.

Tools should be :

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to access.
  • Access to data should be efficient.

Qualities of a good Ed Tech Implementation : 

  • Goals should be clear. What we want to achieve with the educational technology should not be vague.
  • Strong focus should be on professional learning.
  • Goals again should be higher priorities than ed tech.
  • Long range plan should be made regarding that ed tech.
  • This even included funding required to maintain and continue that ed tech.
  • Maintenance of ed tech afterwards.

How teaching looks like in future ?

This is just my perception of how teaching is going to change for good in the near future by the impact of ed tech.

  • More communication between students and teachers.
  • Teaching students how to keep learning.
  • Connecting world to classroom and classroom to world. MOOCs are good examples of this one.
  • Meet individual learning needs.
  • Social context of learning getting more emphasize. This include connecting students to communities for better knowledge transfer stream

Where to begin with Educational Technology?

  • Place to start is were you are not doing well in your study curriculum.
  • Technology should be always in the service of learning goals, not just for the sake of having more technology in the classroom.
  • We get fixated to the logistics technology that we lose track of pedagogy technology.

Concept of SAMR : 

S : Substitution of a tool.
A : Augmenting a lesson.
M : Modify a lesson because of ed tech
R : Redefinition.

Start with objective…. technology will be used to serve that objective.

Keep in mind before choosing ed tech :
1. The pedagogical basics.
2. Implementation in context.
3. Evaluation.

This week was very keen and precise to cover above discussed points related to ed tech.

It actually helps you broaden your point of view as a programmer and creator of ed tech. What goes behind the curtains before one decided to go for some ed tech? What are the hesitations of the customers regarding  ed tech? What are there requirements? This week was all about brainstorming these points while listening to interviews with pioneers of the field.

Next week hasn’t started by the time I wrote this article. Let’s see what comes in next week. Super excited!

 

 

MIT 11.133x : Implementation and Evaluation of Educational Technology – Week 0 Sum Up

edx

This week I started with ¬†another MOOC by Edx “Implementation and Evaluation of Educational Technology”. It is a 5 weeks¬†course going from week 0 to week 4.

So here I will blog about my experiences with the course, each week.

WEEK 0

There was not much in the course in week 0. You can guess that by week number.

Week started with introduction to forums and edx platform and how we are supposed to proceed with the course. Course depends upon peer evaluation for grading which is a cool thing to do for a such an open topic course.

We start with giving our introduction in the forum. Which is again a great thing to begin with you can tell others what are you expecting from the course and what drives you to take the course. So that people with similar interest can come together and collaborate.

Next were some videos depicting history of educational technologies starting back from papers to PCs. It makes you think what are the ways education can be transformed into by the use of proper technologies. I am pretty sure it is all going to be softwares magic. And future is for paperless education that will be super inexpensive and resource efficient.

The 2 very interesting terms introduced were :

  1. Constructionism  : Learning is best done by creating.
  2. Constructivism : Knowledge based on genuine experiences not only based on theory.

There was a video by Sal Khan, Founder of Khan Academy

What i really liked is what Sal Khan said…
How technology can be used to make the teaching and learning¬†ways better.Teachers can have real time dashboards to see who is stuck on what… such software suit can increase the efficiency of current educations systems by many folds.

 

ASSIGNMENTS : 

There was no as such assignment this week. Just we were asked to write a paragraph on our encounter with educational technology and how we absorbed it.

Week 1 will start in 2 days. Very ¬†excited for what’s coming next. ūüėÄ