Sunday, 2 May 2010

A really long day on Saturday

We had a really long day on Saturday. We all met for breakfast at 6:30 am and arrived at NIIT at 7:45am.

We finished assembling the mechanical parts for first table by around 9:30am - thanks to the dedication of Mark who worked hard in the Delhi heat. The AC was ON in our room but it took a long time for it to become effective.

I made a mistake in the number of LEDs that we ordered - forgot that we were assembling 2 tables and had only ordered enough for 1.  So we had to rely on some creative soldering from Abe to stretch the number of LEDS to fit both tables.

At about 11:30 I left with Swati to visit the Vasant Valley School. It was a long 1 hr drive to the school. The school clearly caters to a very different market segment with its huge and well kept grounds, good computing facilities and a biotechnology lab (for a school?).

We showed our photosynthesis application (thanks to an earlier post by Izzy) to the school teachers to get their opinion on the topic and find out the student level for appropriate for our content. After looking at the content the teachers felt that students from Standard 9 would be appropriate for our content. This is interesting because the content was designed for keystage 3 in UK and it seemed to fit more Standard 10 students from Radico Center government school - so there are perhaps some differences in learning outcomes across different countries and types of schools.

We got back to NIIT at about 2:00 pm ready to dig into our long overdue lunch. None of us had eaten since 7:30 am. But the first set of students from the nearby school had came-by to  trial our system and software further adding to our lunch delay. But the students tested our system well and helped us identify some bugs that need fixing.

It was interesting to observe the students. Initially they were quite shy and scared of touching the table but after about 4 to 8 mins they got comfortable using the table and were more focused on discussing roots, stomata and photosynthesis. So it looked like students are able to effectively engage with our application and system.

By about 4pm Mark was clearly exhausted from the work and was feeling increasingly uncomfortable. He left NIIT to head back to the hotel while the rest of us stayed on. We did some further testing of the system and tried to minimize the number of false detection of finger touches. There seem to be some issues with the brightness (& spectral spread of the lamplight) of the projector that is affecting the camera's detection.
We finally decided at 7pm that things are not too bad after a bit of tweaking and that we should sort things on Monday.

Our goal now is to look into putting the tables in the two schools by around Monday afternoon. The first table is ready to be installed but we need some Aluminium Ls to cover the Led wires before letting students work with it.

We (all except Mark) went to Essex Farm (appropriate given we've just come from Bristol :)) for dinner at about 8:00 pm and were back in the hotel by about 10:pm.

It was a really long day all of us were busy fighting various issues from 8:00 am to 7:30pm.

I hope we can install the tables in the two schools on Monday.

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