Jade Did Drumbeat: A Field Journal

It's Interactive and Ethnographic

The End (of the festival)


An empty HASTAC Tent post Festival

Robbie's Tweet

The festival ended on November 5th. We all started making our way back home on the 6th and 7th.  Our biggest souvenir was the amazing experience.

Even though things didn’t go as planned, things happened as they should have.  We did not expect Mozilla to want to take on our project.  If the project will go forward is now in the hands of Future Class and that is an amazingly empowering position to be in, especially as students.

We also grew closer as a group.  Up until this point, we’d gotten to know each other, but we hadn’t really gotten to talk and learn about each other.

Aside from the awesomeness of Drumbeat and the important things we have to get moving on, I wanted to acknowledge and honor how important this was to me and, I think, our group. In these spaces we’ve managed to build important things between the six of us that I hope will lead to some long-term productive collaborations and friendships.

Whitney, from her first post Drumbeat email to the listserv

So, I leave with this is to be continued, by the individual members of the class. I am sure this experience was impactful in ways we are aware of and ways we are not… and it only took 2.5 days.

The Tool

Nick and Sam Present the Tool

Nick and Sam Present the Tool

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

It all started with an idea from Nick

The Prototype

The Prototype

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.

Sam, Our Contribution to Drumbeat, Future Class Website

The Prototype

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: