Thursday, May 17, 2012

A few app ideas at the end of class

I think the linked science classes ended well. Students were whining about having to turn their iPads in because they were using them until the end, and all the feedback we got was positive. I really want to figure out how to get these in our classroom, and I think I'm ready to try to allow a variety of devices at the same time.

Really, this has been one of the best IF fund projects I've been a part of.  I've learned so much, and have had a great mind-twisting experience in terms of how I think about the functionality of my classroom. 

I had a few more ideas for simple apps in the classroom.

1) The Stabilization Wedge Game
This could actually be something that the folks at Princeton might want as it is becoming a global way of looking at solutions for climate change.  The idea is that we have a variety of solutions to try and stabilize our greenhouse gas production over the next few years.  Do we do that with energy efficiency or nuclear power?  The Carbon Mitigation Initiative has created a bunch of different options that are possible and included the amount of carbon reduction that would exist with each option. The app I envision would have different wedges representing each of these options, and a stabilization triangle.  Students could choose and drag different wedges to the triangle to come up with their solution for carbon reduction.  We could give them different scenarios so that each group had a different country, each company had different needs, etc. As usual, I'd love for them to be able to email me a jpg or other image of their final wedge-filled triangle.

2) A SIMPLE Graphing App
I still can't find any sort of easy graphing or charting app.  I just want students to be able to make a simple visualization from a set of data. They should be able to plug in the data, make some choices about the graph: graph type, title, axes, legends, and colors.  Everything I can find out there is all crazy powerful scientific calculator-type graphing and I don't need anything that sophisticated.
A website I often use is

3) A Sustainability Triangle
I use this as a tool for finding a solution to any environmental issue, particularly those classified as environmental injustice.

Everything in black is set and doesn't change.  Each point represents one of the three aspects of a sustainable human system: social equity (the people have to have what they need, be healthy, and "happy"), environmental (the natural capital has to be available and uncontaminated, and systems have to work well and be stable), and  economic (a system needs to at least get out what it puts in, if not more depending on what type of economic system you are in).  The center represents 0% sustainability for all the points. The outer points (marked with red lines) represent 100% sustainability. 

So I give the students a case study, and they have to draw a sustainability triangle within the above template.  For each point, they determine how sustainable the situation is. In the example here, I think the people aren't very content, so I gave it a 30% sustainability rank, the pollution is just a little problem so I gave it a 70% rank, and the company involved is making huge profits so I gave it 100% sustainability rank. You then connect the points on the line so you have a triangle (yellow) within the template triangle.   Each student makes their own triangle, and defends it.

What would be great is to have an app that has the black template triangle on it, and a movable internal yellow triangle that slides up and down each point so the students could set the yellow points at their particular sustainability ranking. Or, students could enter a % in each of three text fields and the yellow triangle would move as indicated.  Again, it would be great to be able to have this emailed to me so I can see what their thoughts are.

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