[Sugar-devel] The quest for data

Sameer Verma sverma at sfsu.edu
Sun Jan 12 15:32:46 EST 2014

On Sun, Jan 12, 2014 at 6:33 AM, Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 3:37 PM, Sameer Verma <sverma at sfsu.edu> wrote:
>> On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 3:26 AM, Martin Dluhos <martin at gnu.org> wrote:
>>> On 7.1.2014 01:49, Sameer Verma wrote:
>>>> On Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 12:28 AM, Martin Dluhos <martin at gnu.org> wrote:
>>>>> For visualization, I have explored using LibreOffice and SOFA, but neither of
>>>>> those were flexible to allow for customization of the output beyond some a few
>>>>> rudimentary options, so I started looking at various Javascript libraries, which
>>>>> are much more powerful. Currently, I am experimenting with Google Charts, which
>>>>> I found the easiest to get started with. If I run into limitations with Google
>>>>> Charts in the future, others on my list are InfoVIS Toolkit
>>>>> (http://philogb.github.io/jit) and HighCharts (http://highcharts.com). Then,
>>>>> there is also D3.js, but that's a bigger animal.
>>>> Keep in mind that if you want to visualize at the school's local
>>>> XS[CE] you may have to rely on a local js method instead of an online
>>>> library.
>>> Yes, that's a very good point.  Originally, I was only thinking about collecting
>>> and visualizing the information centrally, but there is no reason why it
>>> couldn't be viewed by teachers and school administrators on the schoolserver
>>> itself. Thanks for the warning.
>> In fact, my guess would be that what the teachers and principal want
>> to see at the school will be different from what OLE Nepal and the
>> government would want to see, with interesting overlaps.
> You left out one important constituent: the learner. Ultimately we are
> responsible for making learning visible to the learner. Claudia and I
> touched on this topic in the attached paper.

Thanks for the paper. While we did point out to Portfolio and Analyze
Journal activities in our session at OLPC SF Summit in 2013, I didn't
include it in the scope of the blog post. I'll go back and update it
when I get a chance.

> Just to place all my cards on the table, as much as I hate to suggest
> we head down this route, I think we really need to instrument
> activities themselves (and build analyses of activity output) if we
> want to provide meaningful statistics about learning. We've done some
> of this with Turtle Blocks, even capturing the mistakes the learner
> makes along the way. We are lacking in decent visualizations of these
> data, however.

I haven't had a chance to read the paper in depth (which I intend to
do this afternoon), but how much of this approach would be shareable
across activities? Or would the depth of analysis be on a per activity
basis? If the latter, then I'd imagine it would be simpler for
something like the Moon activity than the TurtleBlocks activity.

> Meanwhile, I remain convinced that the portfolio is our best tool.

I think the approaches differ in scope and purpose. In the RFPs I've
been involved in, the funding agencies and/or the decision makers
either request or outright require "dashboard style" features to
report frequency of use, time of day, and in some cases even GPS-based
location in addition to theft-deterrence, remote provisioning, etc.
The same goes for going back to an agency to get renewed funding or to
raise funds for a new site expansion. In a way, the scope of the
"learner<->teacher" bubble is significantly different from that of the
"principal<->minister of edu". One is driven by learning and pedagogy,
while the other is driven by administration. Accordingly, the reports
they want to see are also different. While the measurements from the
Activity may be distilled into coarser indicators for the MoE, I think
it is important to keep the entire scope in mind.

I am mindful of the "garbage in, garbage out" problem. In building
this pipeline (which is where my skills are) I hope that the data that
goes into this pipeline is representative of what is measured at the
child's end. I am glad that you and Claudia are the experts on that
end :-)


> regards.
> -walter
>> cheers,
>> Sameer
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> --
> Walter Bender
> Sugar Labs
> http://www.sugarlabs.org

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