Skygod
Posts: 211
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Re: Classroom Setup

Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:22 am

Quote from obarthelemy on November 5, 2011, 19:14
@skygod: looking at your projects, wouldn't the actual people over there be interested in actually profiting from the Pis ? I mean, a documentary about the lady making silk is fine, but wouldn't she prefer a web site selling her stuff direct, for 10x what she's getting now ? The two projects may actually feed on each other.


The silk is a vivid golden yellow colour and is sold to a company that makes the robes for the Buddhist monks, so gives a supplementary income and 'good Buddha', but we could see if she will allow part of her output be sold via mail order however I'm not sure that the volume will be sufficient for anyone to use practically.

The mushroom grower is actually doing very well, but it's long days and hard work planting, maintaining, harvesting and distributing on a commercial scale. Freshness is the key here, so it would be exceedingly difficult to arrange any additional distribution channels.

The rice harvest is sold to the government (the new government is in the process of giving a minimum price guarantee to Thai farmers, so you'll see world rice prices going up really soon), but yes we have been considering making it possible to buy 1kg bags by mail order from named farms showing exactly where it came from and when it was harvested. (Fresh grown rice is considerably different to the stuff you get in Western supermarkets which will often be several years old).

Distribution is the biggest problem, as the basic post office cost to send mail is much higher than the Royal Mail in the UK. (1kg UK to Thailand costs 12 GBP, whereas 1kg Thailand to UK is 20 GBP)

If the kids can be taught more planning, then the existing processes may become more efficient and thereby generate extra income, but money per se is not a driving force for most of the community.

solanum
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Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:54 pm

Re: Classroom Setup

Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:34 pm

Quote from liz on November 3, 2011, 22:40
This sort of bureaucratic stuff is why we've been suggesting that interested teachers and parents might like to look at after-school clubs as a way to reach the kids who may be interested in this sort of thing. We agree; it's a massive hurdle, and we hope that the Free Schools movement in the UK represents a step away from this sort of managerial muddling of things.

You aren't going to escape it completely because of how state funding works to get it into schools.

However... :) What you really need is downloadable lessons plans so an after school club can get a handful of these and get off the ground and running. It would have to be broken down into several grade levels, like in the US I would break it up into elementary(3rd-5th, middle(6-8) and high school(9-12th grades) and probably college level. Which covers -very- basic, to advanced topics in shorter lessons, with say a quiz or a test at the end of each lesson to very the lessons have been learned.

There is a big push in the US for in home schooling, and this could fit -that- curriculum which means you are getting outside of the bureaucracy to some extent, but you are also dealing with "teachers" who have very little background in the subject, and a lot of them do not even have any background in teaching or education.

The simplicity of the ARM arch, actually leads to easier teaching of advanced classes, such as assembly, writing a compiler,etc. with a low cost of entry.

Skygod
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Re: Classroom Setup

Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:02 pm

Solanum,

It would be great to have a basic syllabus to work to with measurables at the end of a 'stage'. I am not skilled enough to devise a syllabus, but have the passion to teach one even if it means that I have to teach myself first.

It's a lot to ask of the foundation. but basic teaching blocks would be useful in order that the teachers fulfil the expectations of the foundation.

I cannot teach how to program, but I can provide an infrastructure and refer questions to the appropriate bodies to get answers.

solanum
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:54 pm

Re: Classroom Setup

Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:20 pm

Quote from Skygod on November 6, 2011, 02:22

If the kids can be taught more planning, then the existing processes may become more efficient and thereby generate extra income, but money per se is not a driving force for most of the community.

Computers are mainly used by farmers in the US to track yields. For example, you can find differences in yields between fields or animal, plant varieties, or you can find differences in application rates of fertilizer, and planting times, harvesting techniques, tilling techniques, and yield times, etc. A spreadsheet or a database program could help a lot.

Say you can only plant 80% of your fields because of weather, which ones have the historically highest yield? or if you can plant early, which varieties will give the highest yield. Or when is the best time to apply fertilizer and how much?

You can apply these "scientific" techniques from rice to silk to mushrooms. The computer merely is helping to keep track of the data so you don't forget and it is easy to find.

Thing like customer databases, and keeping track of the commodity markets and prices are probably inconsequential in this scenario.

Since these are -low- power devices, a simple windmill (even made with a woven reeds or savonious out of a 55-gal barrel) and a car generator and battery and simple 12v wiring could power these devices without getting extremely complicated or expensive.

For your tomatoes, I would recommend "hydroponic" or "aeroponic" tomatoes, rather then trying to graft them onto eggplants. You make your "fertilizer" solution out of basically ground up dung (bats or chicken is the best) then dissolved with water. The medium is basically pebbles or sand. You can water it by hand, look for self-watering pots on something like instructables.com. or (http://www.urbanorganicgardene.....container/) Tomatoes will grow year round as long as they don't freeze. You can extend their growing season with a hoop house, but the plastic might be cost prohibitive old window glass works too if you can find it. Other vegetables like lettuce can also be grown using this technique. or maybe rice can be started in the hoop house and given a head start on the season, earlier harvest usually means higher profit for fresh produce. (i know extremely little about rice production.) But low power LED lighting is being used for grow lights and can be used with the 12v systems "off-Grid" systems now too.

jacklang
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Re: Classroom Setup

Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:32 pm

Quote from Skygod on November 6, 2011, 17:02
Solanum,

It would be great to have a basic syllabus to work to with measurables at the end of a 'stage'. I am not skilled enough to devise a syllabus, but have the passion to teach one even if it means that I have to teach myself first.

It's a lot to ask of the foundation. but basic teaching blocks would be useful in order that the teachers fulfil the expectations of the foundation.

I cannot teach how to program, but I can provide an infrastructure and refer questions to the appropriate bodies to get answers.


The Computing at Schools group has proposed one, after a lot of hard work:
http://www.computingatschool.o.....Curric.pdf
Further work is being done to turn it into lessons.

In the US ACM has published their K12 curriculum http://csta.acm.org/Curriculum.....r2ndEd.pdf endorsed by the Computer Science Teachers Association http://csta.acm.org/index.html

AlanCox
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:11 pm

Re: Classroom Setup

Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:54 pm

Quote from Lob0426 on November 1, 2011, 18:58
The display issue is going to be the single largest outlay of cash for a school. But this is still much cheaper than buying even netbooks for a class room. At home the family TV will work just fine.

I would disagree. In countries like the USA the largest outlay will be the legal costs when the patent trolls come knocking on school board doors.

Alan

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Jessie
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Re: Classroom Setup

Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:06 pm

I doubt we will see any patent trolling here. First the US has a pretty decent installed base of computers in our schools (even if most are out dated.) Second, ask the World Wrestling Federation how going after a charity went for them (the World Wildlife Fund.)

A more relevant possibility is that lobbyists or illegal incentive programs would keep them out of our schools. For example Microsoft or Apple. But again with the proliferation of Windows PCs in our schools I doubt the R-Pi will even be a purchase consideration.

manicgeek
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Re: Classroom Setup

Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:19 pm

@Skygod

I'm really impressed by your plans, can I ask a question? Have you involved the local kids in planning it? Or gone through your plans with them, so that they can get an idea about what you've had to consider to come up with it? Involving them early and generating enthusiasm for it, would be a good way of making them think about how to plan something like your classroom.

And a thought. Wouldn't it be a good thing to have case studies from people carrying out projects like yours for the Foundation to be able to point to. You know a quick write up in plain text which explains the project, it's objectives and how you've planned it. There was another one I saw around here from someone who is planning on doing something with solar panels on a pacific island, which again would provide a good case study for others to be able to take inspiration from.

Skygod
Posts: 211
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Re: Classroom Setup

Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:48 am

Quote from manicgeek on November 10, 2011, 23:19
@Skygod

I'm really impressed by your plans, can I ask a question? Have you involved the local kids in planning it? Or gone through your plans with them, so that they can get an idea about what you've had to consider to come up with it? Involving them early and generating enthusiasm for it, would be a good way of making them think about how to plan something like your classroom.


I've already been asked to help with English speaking skills by the parents and I've also been asked to assist 'uncle' who is the headman of the mooban [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muban ] with getting some of his records 'computerised', so teaching the kids some basic ICT, they can then do some of the work and these are the same kids that will grow up to become the future leaders of the village.

My small LAN will be a primitive Internet cafe, but will not be the gameplay environment that most of these have become in Thailand. The emphasis will be on developing a community Intranet and certain sections of this will then be published on the Internet.

I'm also determining the requirements to do something with solar power to power the setup as the locality is well suited for the technology with a high all year round solar induction rating (4.16 to 5.97 kw/sqm/d with an average of 4.87).

As I've said before, my biggest issue is going to be displays. I simply cannot afford to buy 3 or 4 HDMI / DVI monitors or TVs, so interfacing a smartphone or tablet display is very high on my 'wishlist'.

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abishur
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Re: Classroom Setup

Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:02 am

I know it's not anywhere near as pretty, but the r-pi does output composite video as well (not just HDMI). You'd be limited to 800x600 most likely, but if ultra pretty isn't necessary (or if the older eye's want a larger resolution) then it can be a much more affordable solution ;)
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

Skygod
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Re: Classroom Setup

Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:59 pm

Quote from abishur on November 11, 2011, 05:02
I know it's not anywhere near as pretty, but the r-pi does output composite video as well (not just HDMI). You'd be limited to 800x600 most likely, but if ultra pretty isn't necessary (or if the older eye's want a larger resolution) then it can be a much more affordable solution ;)

Running 3 or 4 old TV's to provide composite is an option, but power requirements are still an issue as these older devices are not likely to be energy efficient.

I'm looking at ways to make people think 'efficiently'. If I can get a low power display issue resolved, then the whole LAN can run for a couple of hours on solar power harvested during the day.

With a lowest solar induction rating of 4.16kW/sqm/day, and an average of 4.87, the whole project could be mains power independent.

(Science lessons are automatically introduced)

Bacan
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Re: Classroom Setup

Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:09 pm

And Budgeting. Can't spend what you don't have. :)

Skygod
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Re: Classroom Setup

Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:53 pm

Quote from Bacan on November 11, 2011, 17:09
And Budgeting. Can't spend what you don't have. :)


I've been informed by a few charitable institiutions that I may be able to obtain solar panels /chargers / batteries at low/no cost if they are to benefit the 'developing world', but any mains power would have to be self funded.

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abishur
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Re: Classroom Setup

Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:41 pm

Quote from Skygod on November 11, 2011, 16:59
Quote from abishur on November 11, 2011, 05:02
I know it's not anywhere near as pretty, but the r-pi does output composite video as well (not just HDMI). You'd be limited to 800x600 most likely, but if ultra pretty isn't necessary (or if the older eye's want a larger resolution) then it can be a much more affordable solution ;)

Running 3 or 4 old TV's to provide composite is an option, but power requirements are still an issue as these older devices are not likely to be energy efficient.

I'm looking at ways to make people think 'efficiently'. If I can get a low power display issue resolved, then the whole LAN can run for a couple of hours on solar power harvested during the day.

With a lowest solar induction rating of 4.16kW/sqm/day, and an average of 4.87, the whole project could be mains power independent.

(Science lessons are automatically introduced)

True they would probably be more power hungry, but I have an older LCD monitor that also accepts composite video, it's very power efficient but has the older connections (it's technically some TV/computer monitor combo device I think). And there's always the active convertor to take it from DVI to VGA, but those are so expensive that if you're buying these screens (i.e. you don't already have them) then you'd probably loose any savings you'd gain by not buying a DVI monitor outright!

Tough predicament to be in. It be pretty cool if you could buy a cheap old laptop screen and attach it straight to the r-pi board. They'd be low powered and all. You can buy a LVDS controller for around $30 but I'm trying to find if I can't build one myself for much, much cheaper!
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

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Jim Manley
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Re: Classroom Setup

Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:23 am

Abishur - were you, or anyone else, able to make any progress on the LVDS controller?

Thanks!
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close! :D
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -- W.B. Yeats
In theory, theory & practice are the same - in practice, they aren't!!!

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