William Kamkwamba at TED Global

William is an amazing young man from Malawi who powered his home with a windmill of his own design. Check it out. Note that, though it's hard to see in the video, he got a standing ovation from the crowd.

Bootcamp In Full Swing

After a what amounts to full year of preparation, bootcamp is underway, and I'm helming a code class. Time to put up or shut up.

So far, things are going pretty well. After a shaky start with the blogs, it looks like most of the students are rocking on them, and we're starting to see some outstanding work posted. They're tired (weren't we all, way back in 2006,) but they seem to be getting on.

Here are my students' blogs:

Akiko Rokube

Carlos Lopez

Elie Stevenson

Fengyu Hao

Jessica Johnson

Pasquale Chieffalo

Jia Zhang

Joana Kelly

Joanna Zdeb

Lynn Maharas

Michael Thibodeau

Rohini Metharam

Stephanie Mendolia

Wai Sze

Mill of the Mind In ARTnews!

Our Mill of the Mind project, in which Sims are subjected to the deprivations of the Milgram experiment, got a mention in ARTnews. Awesome!

Pleech Nominated as Finalist in Instructables Contest!

This is pretty awesome. The Pleech Instructable was nominated as a finalist in Instructables' Laser Cutter contest. If I win it, I'm donating this mad machine to the school. If not, enh, it's still pretty cool. Seems like this is the year for homemade wind power!


A new cell phone? Ho-hum. A new cell phone running on free software? It's been done, but you've got my attention. A new cell phone running on free software, using completely open hardware? And they'll give you the tools to bust it open and make it easy to solder stuff onto its I2C port? RAWK!

Kinda makes you wonder... what would YOU hook up to a cell phone, if you could? Gets me wondering about some of the tech I saw in Malawi, particularly in the health sector.

Grand Jury Duty

So, I'm here in the waiting area for jurors in the Superior Court in Jersey City. I'm up for grand jury selection, which ordinary would be really cool, but is pretty bad news for me right now. If I get picked, then I'm on the hook for one day a week for 11 weeks, which pretty much disqualifies me from teaching bootcamp and would seriously endanger me in a few of the classes I'm taking in the fall--in fact, I'd fail out of them by failing to attend.

I'm going to throw myself on the mercy of the court and try to get myself excused or, at least, postponed until next year.

N95 Blogging

I'm blogging this from a cafe here in jc. This N95 has proved to be a true geek swiss-army knife. Just needs an RSS reader, and I'd be all set!

Testing Out Drivel From Malawi

Hey, all! As you've noticed, posts have slowed to nearly nothing on this blog--but that doesn't mean I'm not blogging! Check out the lively OSI Fellows blog to see what Chuck, Eric, Jon, Linh, and I are up to.

I'm about half way through my stint in country. I'll be heading up north to Mzuzu and should be taking lots of pictures. Be sure to check the OSI blog on Thursday to see what I've posted.

Also, I'm trying out a new piece of software called Drivel. I like it because I can work offline and write, rather than having to spool up the interface from the web. Connections are flaky and slow here, so it's a good tool to have in my kit.

Malawi or Bust

Almost exactly five hours until chocks away! Staying up all night getting my stuff together and generally trying to wear myself out so I can sleep on the plane.

I'll be working for the Malawi Health Equity Network as part of my fellowship with the Open Society Institute's Public Health Program. I'll be doing a variety of design work in country for the next month, with more work for several months thereafter.

Off to the Warm Heart of Africa I go!

Scratch and Release

Beaten to the punch by MIT on this one: Scratch. It does most of what I had in my first Design and Education project, which itself was a proposal to extend MIT's Logo Blocks into a more general-purpose multimedia programming application. Admittedly, mine was more of a game than a toolbox, and had a specific narrative structure in mind, but as far as using graphical means for exploring programming goals, Scratch does a really amazing job.

I'd like to spend a few days with this and try to work past the visual bling to get into it as a teaching tool. But I'm encouraged by it and I'd like to see how well it could be used for intro programming classes like CDT Bootcamp.

Copyright Mike Edwards 2006-2009. All content available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, unless otherwise noted.

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