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New Projects in the Education and Learning Comunity

Posted by turbogeek on October 6, 2005 at 11:57 AM PDT

Once again, a fine crop of great projects in the Global Education and Learning Community. This time we have some normal fare for our community in terms of math with Algebra and Path Planning plus study aids and teacher aids with a Study Buddy and an Open Gradebook. We also have a student working on a programming assignment, an educational web site, and an online exam.

But this time we also have a very cool project called Clicker that aims at creating an open source version of the "clicker" device we see in some classrooms today. As you may know, the clicker is used to get instant feedback to a teacher and can be used for classroom interaction. In essence, it is like an audience participation vote device. Clickers are not always cheap or even well made and many schools put the burdon of cost and care to the student. It is inevitable that a student would see that there might be a better way. I recently was watching a documentary (Scientific American Frontiers?) that used a clicker and was amazed at the contortions of students trying to hit the infrared detectors in the classroom - not a ringing endorsement. There has to be a better way and so open development to the rescue. Let's see if we can create a better system!

Here is the summary list. Click below to see the slightly summarized details from each of the project proposals.

clicker - Open source "clicker" implementation

Monos - Monos Algebra Software

papaf - Path Planning Framework

CLEW - Collegiate Educational Website (CLEW)

StudyBuddy - Mindmapping, essay organiser, revison scheduler

wordsearchpuzzle - A project for a programming class

OnlineExamination - A user friendly exam

Open-Gradebook - A easy to use, non-intrusive grading system for teachers.

Clicker - Open source "clicker" implementation

This is a project to build an open source "clicker" implementation. Clickers are used in the education community to allow students to input answers, using remote control style devices, into a professor's computer. As a college student this project owner is rather annoyed at having to spend a small fortune on clickers and their associated "services". He also believes the open source community can build clickers and clicker software better, faster, and easier than commercial concerns. Plans: The software side will be built very soon. We will be building a client-server style interface, where a server side interprets the input from clickers, and aggregates/formats the data. Clients will be able to use XML-RPC or a Socket connection to retrieve and manipulate the server side.

Monos - Monos Algebra Software

The Monos Algebra software provides the ability to compute with monomial and binomial ideals. It provides the following mathematical objects/computations:

• Monomials and Monomial Ideals

• Binomial and Binomial Ideals

• Compute a binomial groebner basis.

• Compute a groebner basis of a toric ideal from matrix.

• Compute an integer kernel for an integer matrix.

• Compute a scarf complex for an ideal.

It also provides:

• A full Java library API.

• Integration with smallx XML pipelines.

• Integration with xeerkat for grid computing.

• A scripting language based on R5RS.

There are no know issues in the current release. A binary release is forthcoming but the source should build and work. All the source for the library, programs, or web applications are in CVS. There are also ant build scripts for all the projects built from the Netbeans IDE. There is a demonstration of the Monos Algebra Software deployed at milowski.com. This application interacts with a set of web services that use monos for computations. You can also submit computations on a Xeerkat based P2P grid to compute larger results. Monos was developed by R. Alexander Milowski. See his website for papers on the algorithms uses.

papaf - Path Planning Framework

This project is aimed to allow the quickly test and compare of new algorithms of path-planning problems. Those algorithms, can be used to route IP packages, plan robot's paths, get a better route between two places, and more. The project is looking for new algorithms, so if you have one, please contact them. The docs are currently in Portuguese, so please help translate them.

CLEW - Collegiate Educational Website (CLEW)

Collegiate Educational Website (CLEW) that is being used at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

StudyBuddy - Mindmapping, essay organiser, revison scheduler

This project has two main objectives. First, llow the phased development of a free, high quality tool designed to help students study more effectively (see StudyBuddy Outline on the StudyBuddy project page). The second objective is to create the opportunity for intermediate level Java students to learn how to apply their skills and knowledge to a remotely managed, team based software development project. Although the primary goal is to develop a high quality tool, the environment of this project is intended to allow people to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes.

wordsearchpuzzle - A project for a programming class

Sometimes we get projects that are for helping a student with a goal. Please see the project home page for specifics about the class project. Looks like this fellow could use the help of a good begineer programming mentor.

OnlineExamination - A user friendly exam

A user friendly exam project consist of objective type questions.

Open-Gradebook - A easy to use, non-intrusive grading system for teachers.

A easy to use, non-intrusive open source grading system for teachers. Parents and students will be able to login to the system and see progress as well.