I love this idea of seeing numbers over a timeline. Extremely engaging and interesting work.

ICTs for Development

I’ve entered the ITU data on mobile phone penetration for all countries from 1998-2008 into a Google Docs spreadsheet, and then added the Motion Chart visualiser (the same engine made famous by Hans Rosling and TED, though they use the Gapminder Trendalyzer version).

Unfortunately, WordPress scripting rules mean I can’t post the active chart here. To access the spreadsheet data and Google Motion chart, you need to go to:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tUzZsw5SoG_jXRDl6p8tRCg&single=true&gid=0&output=html

Screenshots below give an indicator of how you can visualise the data. The chart offers three main means to visualise (bubble, bar chart, and line graph) via tabs at the top right. You can change the axes and element colouring/size, and highlight individual countries. For bubble and bar, the main point of the chart is that you can click play (bottom left) and show how things change over time. (Note playback speed variation control, and also the ability to drag…

View original post 126 more words

Advertisements

On Schooling

For days and days it has been occurring to me to reflect back on my school days and on the education I had. The curriculum included natural sciences and languages along with slighter glimpses of other subjects, resigned to be termed as extracurricular. One can look at the curriculum and can be best assured to say that everything ought to be known is well there. But I guess the larger question is how to approach this knowledge. As I have come to believing that approach to know changes or alters the knowledge itself. My teachers were competitive and interesting, and they perhaps had tried telling us what all they knew. However I feel that few factors were always acting in opposition to the entire process of knowledge acquisition.

First, it seems that the entire process of acquiring knowledge  is somewhere inflicted with a flawed notion of timing. The fact that there is a course to be finished by a particular deadline doesn’t allow much room both for students as well as teachers. Teacher wants to finish the course on time and then moves on to setting a paper for students to attempt. How rubbish! Can’t the process of knowledge acquisition be more fluid and continuous. Can’t be free from parametric identifiers of percentage and rankings?  Having time bound milestones often results in an environment which is competitive for no reasons. To make things worse, it’s not just the timing rather the valorization of being on time that kills individuals at the end. There is so much of shame associated with not being on time that it doesn’t even allow many to say NO.

Second, it seems that the teachers themselves work under a huge pressure of abiding to a particular syllabus. Any aberration from a prescribed syllabus is hugely suppressed and demotivated. The position a teacher holds, not only in the society but even with in the education system itself, doesn’t give him much power to defer to the popular notion of syllabus and prescription. There is so much of onus bestowed on people who set the syllabus rather than on those who teach the syllabus. I have seen and met few people who work as advisory members to curriculum committees and not all the time are they correct. But any communication which suggests so is seen as a wild act, often intolerable.

I am raising these questions as I still sense same forces at work. What do you guys say?

How simple the things can be?

Here is an interesting read from Wired. The link mentions various patents registered against the name of celebrities. I find this quite interesting for two reasons. First, all of these patents are filed by people who are not scientists. Rather these are the people who were musicians, cameraman, performers and other creative professionals. This asks us to extend our thought of seeing things so narrowly- a kind of skepticism that we had acquired in an age of specialization. Second, all of these patents are so lucidly illustrated or explained that it kind of highlights the simplicity of thought. It also gives one an idea that patents could also be about very simple ideas provided they are novel, illustrative and communicable.

Credits: Wired Dot Com

Tactile Computing Workshop

The video shows a prototype exploring the idea of making ambient lighting sensitive to the presence of people dwelling in a home. During this project, we created electronic sensors using textiles and other components. We used these sensors in the floor to sense the people walking over it. Inputs from these sensors are then used to control lighting in the space.

This workshop was conducted during Jan 2006 session at NID, Ahmedabad by Joanna Berzowska.

Art in a restroom- An attempt to explore ‘Dadaism’

This project attempts to put ‘Objects of art’ in a space like “public restrooms”. We explored ‘Dadaism’ an art movement. The exhibition was conducted in the male and female restrooms inside the campus of NID.