Begin the Dream Sequence
Walking back to our separate hotels after the first day of the festival, the day Nick and Sam debuted the tool the class brought, I had a brief conversation with Robbie, the youngest member of the class. He was blown away by everything that Sam and Nick had accomplished in such a short amount of time. They went from an initial idea from Nick to a class brainstorming session with all of Future Class to a built out prototype from Sam and his friend in one week’s time. Robbie was amazed to be involved in the experience of the class and to be at Drumbeat. He said he’d “never been around people like this”, meaning people who just did instead of talked, who thought big and tried despite the fear of failure to create.
I asked him if he was happy he said “yes” to coming. “Yea! This is one of the greatest experiences of my life!”
What about us, here at FutureClass, the collaborative independent study tutorial I’m guiding at Duke, and newly returned from an exhilirating and eye-opening Drumbeat Festival in Barcelona? We’ve been set the challenge to complete some work on the prototype of a classroom attention device that everyone talked about, that one student firestarted with a stunningly subtle idea, and that another, working with a friend not in the class, actually developed independently into an app. Now the Mozilla developers have pledged to help us bring this to full fruition.
-Cathy Davidson, Learn Intellectual Property by Doing
On the Tool
The “Classroom Attention Barometer” is a tool to enable interactivity in situations where that is not always possible.
Though it was described as being for a lecture situation, there are other, more intimate settings where a tool that functions as this tool does would be of use.
The premise is that we want a super simple, easy-to-use, HTML-5 based app that lets speakers and lecturers get real-time feedback on their talks. This opens the door for audience members to report their level of attention, comprehension, and engagement with the material being presented.
The prototype of the tool was very basic, written in java, taking advantage of the HTML5 Canvas tag. The way it is used is as follows:
A speaker/lecturer provides the URL to the tool.
People go to the tool on a computer or mobile device they are automatically logged in to the tool. There is a graph output and three buttons:
Up, Down, and Neutral
As people go through the lecture they click one of the buttons to manipulate the graph collectively. This readout is then provided to the lecturer either in real time or after the lecture so that the lecturer can then determine what worked and what flopped
This prototype was just the tip of everything that was discussed in our class sessions, but it was the central component of the all inclusive “class in a box” interactivity kit we discussed.
To follow the development of the tool, visit the Mozilla project wiki: