Auteursarchief: dannysword

Teaching Project Management, Stephen M. Portz

This is a resume of the article.

Everything you do is a project.

The article goes into problems that arise in Team Project Based Learning(TPBL).

Motivation Levels

While heterogeneous grouping is best, good students can be doing more than their share and less motivated ones can hide away. A solution to this includes well designed and administered TPBL.
Features of TPBL include team rewards, individual accountability and equal opportunities for succes.
Teach students essentials of effective project management, e.g. using a Gannt chart.

Gantt chart, wikimedia

Time management

One of the students most essential needs is learning how to budget time. (Lucier, 2011)

A plan should start with identifying all the tasks needed to complete the project, with help from the teacher. Assigning a task number and amount of time.  The planning should take into account constraints between tasks, e.g.  a certain task  has to be performed before another can start.  So tasks should be sequenced. After this responsibility of tasks can be assigned to each student.

Monitoring on-task behavior

Evidence of each task completed should be provided.

Engagement in the work can be monitored by cross referencing the planning and the completion of the tasks. Progress can be graded.

Differentiated grading

Assign three different grades:

  • project grade (rubric)
  • project management grade (was the progress on time)
  • individual participation grade (peer evaluation)


Portz, S.M. 2014, “project management”, Technology and Engineering Teacher, vol. 73, no. 7, pp. 19.


A conversation about connections with Peter Block

In this article Peter says connected communities can change the world, and libraries are at the forefront of that revolution.
Empowerment, stewardship, and accountability are at the heart of what makes libraries function.

He describes how people aren’t connecting anymore (in real life). Meetings like in a town hall or church are patriarchal and not designed to meet and communicate others.

Libraries are among the last places where people of different class meet.

It’s really coincidential that i came along this article: when IC2 began i went to the library for the first time in years and after getting some books on project management I sat down in the small reading room. I noticed that people said hello to each other when they entered. And after a while they began discussing current items in the news, reflecting on the quality of magazines, etc. It struck me that they were all very polite to each other and respected each others ideas. Having spent years on internet forums this is quite refreshing.

Good to read that Block encourages the community, something I am trying to stimulate in my project plan.

Brandes, J. (2013). A CONVERSATION ABOUT CONNECTIONS… PETER BLOCK. American Libraries, 44(1/2), 65.

Resume: Seven Principles for Change Management – Gordon Stanley

1. Plan for change from a solid base.

Supply relevant and convincing data
Be beware that how we make use of it matters. It is important to have a handle on the strengths and weaknesses of available data and how it can be marshaled in support of the change programme.

2. Identify discrepancies between formal and informal practice in the organization.

Understanding informal practice can contribute to the understanding why formal rules were not followed, e.g. unworkable, better alternatives, … and can lead to an adjustment of formal practice.

3. Control expectations about the proposed changes.

Working out what can be done is affected by the extent to which expectations about proposed changes can be handled and controlled.
While it is desirable to have high standards in education, they need to be achievable to avoid disappointment with the result. Reality checking is an important element in controlling expectations about change.
Change may also challenge people out of their comfort zone.

4. Select change agents carefully.

Inside or outside agents?
It is important to check on the track-record of any change agent!
Inside agents should have a track-record of leadership and have a clear focus on data-driven decision making.

5. Build support among like-minded people however they are recruited

For successful change to occur it is essential to build social consensus among those affected by the change. This means paying careful attention to getting those who are most agreeable to the direction of the change on side and then using this base to expand the numbers on side. There needs to be clear communication of the objectives of the change and agreement to resolve issues identified in the consensus building process.

6. Identify those opposed to change and try to neutralize them.

Those opposed to change should not be allowed to appropriate basic issues.
Listen to critics carefully: there may be some important truth in their criticism that may have been overlooked; if the criticism is not valid then in dealing with the critic one can rehearse the communication message that will need to be honed for successful agreement to the change.

7. Avoid future shock

Setting time frames for change is an important part of the planning process.
Many plans for change are unrealistically future-oriented.
Long-term time frames can have an aspirational value and move thinking beyond the immediate problems + a sense of direction allows individuals to see what the future holds.
If the horizon is too far into the future there are fewer objective criteria against which to measure alternative solutions. Moreover the longer time frame provides more opportunity for opponents to build support.
Continuing uncertainty about the future is very disabling to the efficient operation of an organization.


Leading change is a risky business and challenging. Not leading change is even riskier because change is a necessary factor in management of all contemporary organizations.
The assumptions driving change need to be constantly examined so that meaningful results can flow from the planned change.


Stanley, G. 2006. Seven Principles for Change Management. Sustainable Leadership in Education. University of Sydney.

Continuing education : Alice programming environment

Today I went for a day continuing education on Alice at Centrum Nascholing Onderwijs, University Antwerp. Purpose was to find a solution for the problem that some students in our web design course for the unemployed had difficulty with programming because they had no previous knowledge. We are searching for something that can give a good introduction to them, teach them logical reasoning and that they can learn on themselves.

Alice is “a programming environment to support the creation of 3D animations, the Alice Project provides tools and materials for teaching and learning computational thinking, problem solving, and computer programming across a spectrum of ages and grade levels. It allows students to learn fundamental programming concepts in the context of creating animated movies and simple video games. In Alice, 3-D objects (e.g., people, animals, and vehicles) populate a virtual world and students create a program to animate the objects.”

It’s a good example of learning by gaming, Alice feels like a game, van create games, even simple actions can have great effects.


There was a course available online, consisting of mostly youtube videos. Unfortunately there was a problem with the videos, some could be played by some students, and others not. The teacher was able to go over the content demonstrating the main aspects of working with the interface and programming through easy manipulation of existing blocks of programming logic. We’ll have to evaluate it further to see if it is adequate for our students, since there is a lot of manipulation involved that is not directed to logical thinking itself.

Important message here : technology can fail, and a backup plan should exist, if possible.

Reflection on TEL2

My vision on the propositions:


collaboration in learning is correct, we learn from each other by seeing other and new views on things. It was not always easy to understand, someone telling something for a few minutes from his point of view, with his background in knowledge and understanding, is not always easy to follow if mine are very different. There often wasn’t enough time to ask for much elaboration.
We used the Blackboard platform, email, google+, google docs, prezi, programs for making diagrams,… to work together. I never was a fan of prezi, I always felt there was to much clutter around when focussing on one point that made you deviate, but I’ve seen some nice uses this semester.
The conversations in the chat were very playful, stimulating and creative, they brought a wide spectrum of related items to the topic.

Collaboration outside the online lessons could do better in my opinion. I had email sessions, live chat and video sessions that helped, but this could be more structured and/or more used. I certainly have an appreciation for people’s work outside this training and realise that agendas are hard to accord. Funny thing happened during a video session with Bram and Wendy: we all had the feeling that the description of the wiki tasks had changed during our working on it. I checked with the form I downloaded in the beginning of the semester and found no difference. Is it our understanding of the tasks that changed?

Self reflection

One of the biggest issues i had myself is the confrontation with an enormous amount of data. Going through papers, selecting appropriate ones, analysing them and taking the appropriate messages has surely taken a lot of self reflection emotionally and psychologically. e.g. motivating myself to hold on, taking the necessary rest and distance, taking walks in nature to clear my head.
Also checking from time to time if I wasn’t wandering of to much from the initial item (which happened easily and often)…

The biggest realization was when we kept on asking for more feedback and Richard said something that made me realise that in my school paradigm I had always expected assessment, the work wasn’t finished until somebody else told me how good it was. Now I’m not saying that feedback isn’t necessary 😉 Certainly as a novice in an area it’s hard to assess the work that has been done and your findings.


The guided readings were of a high difficulty level, what made that I had to reflect and research on how to handle them. They also were a good preparation on going through dozens of papers for the tasks since most papers are easier to understand, what lightened the work.
After a while it seemed that although differently formulated, the same messages were coming back in different papers. Sometimes there was one sentence in a paper that made the difference in my understanding of a subject.


Much of the work was self-steered, although there was guidance, many questions stayed unanswered. This made the learning more accidental, using google scholar and twitter with directed search words and whatever selection I made after skimming was the item I studied. Doing series of new searches on questions that arose from this made me sort of a rhizomatic learner.
In TEL2 this approach seems feasable, but can it be used in all courses? I still have the notion that some fields of study need a foundation where students can build there own learning on. Studying this way will require a great adjustment of students, teachers and staff, not to mention the legislative impositions, actually whole of society. Education has mostly followed on jobs that were necessary. Here we are making students ready to educate themselves. Either for existing jobs or for jobs that don’t exist yet, what I hear is exactly the point. Is this kind of learning for everybody? I have my doubts, it requires quite a lot of personal potentials. A great deal depends on passion and personal motivation. Maybe this is the most important foundation we have to lay for students, bring them in contact with the things they want? Giving them the freedom to explore this, then it could be for everybody.

Own research on developments in HCI

a.Everything is a Remix Case Study: The iPhone

This video shows how the iphone was a clever remix of a brilliant new idea, the functionality of existing phones with buttons and of the representation of traditional mechanics on a touchscreen. As concurrents adopted and improved on the first iOS functionality Apple itself also took the interesting functionality of it’s concurrents and implemented it in it’s successive versions of the OS.

b.Artificial Intelligence

An example of automated recording of human/computer interaction :
“Zuckerberg also spoke about the social network’s artificial-intelligence initiatives:
There is one more evolution in our strategy to understand the world that I want to mention. In September (2013), we formed the Facebook AI Group to do world-class artificial-intelligence research using all of the knowledge that people have shared on Facebook. The goal here is to use new approaches in AI to help make sense of all of the content that people share so we can generate new insights about the world to answer people’s questions.”

Adding to that “Facebook mulls silently tracking users’ cursor movements to see which ads we like best”  and the fact that facebook could be tracking every keystroke, so even the messages you wrote but decided not to post could be recorded.(

Google is also doing “Deep learning” :
“Going from raw kinds of data and build up higher and higher level of features.”
E.g. speech recognition : from raw wave forms to what is actually said

Cognition as a service

CaaS powered apps will be able to think and interact with consumers like intelligent virtual assistants


Deep Learning, Self-Taught Learning and Unsupervised Feature Learning (Andrew Ng)
Some content :
– The “one learning algorithm” hypothesis
– Seeing with your tongue
– 2 biologists spending a year on an island documenting on different ways how monkeys pick up things

c.Game world

The game world is one af the frontrunners if it comes to HCI. Traditionally working with keyboard, mouse and hundreds of joysticks and controllers, one of the first great improvements on HCI I saw was on my playstation2 console : the Eye toy camera which could capture the player and project him inside the video game Kinetic. It was actually the reason I bought the console 🙂

Then came Augmented Reality, which puts a layer over the real world.
For example the game Ingress (

An example of an Augmented Reality game with a 3D depth sensing :

In this example there is still the need of a screen, but with the combination of a google glass, the environment can be almost everywhere. No need to be at your computer or gaming console, and a much more active gaming experience can be possible. Take a first person shooter, instead of sitting on the couch pressing buttons to make a caracter move on a motionless tv, the gamer could actually be moving himself. Like a track in a paintball park yet virtually.

I found an example of other technology of this, GVX, and they call it extreme reality :


Peace of Mind Through Your Smartphone
For the first time, you can record your own ECG using the FDA cleared AliveCor System on your smartphone and use AliveInsights™* analysis services to have a cardiac technician or cardiologist review your ECG recording in as little as 30 minutes.

Remote virtual surgery via Google Glass and telepresence

Body piercing controls wheelchair

e.Relation to the environment

In recent years more and more devices, sites, apps want to know where you are located, this to bring you tailored information.


f.Immediate future of interfaces

Spoken word, gestures, wearables, gaze, touch, holograms


The Siri trivia challenge: how many of these 50 things did you know Siri could do?

Robot system interpret speech and talk back :


inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way


Exoskeleton : A Real-Life Iron Man Suit That Could Be as Comfortable as Pajamas

Gaze – eye tracking

Tobii rex

Some research even suggests that our universe itself is only a hologram…

g.The next step in HCI is BCI : brain-computer interface


artist uses brainwaves to manipulate the motions of water

Burning Man’s next big thing is a 15-foot-tall brain-controlled brain


Surrealistic Mind-controlled Dress Changes Shape, Lights Up at Your Will

Taily : wearable moving tail

Cat ears


Operating the computer with your brain

Thought controlled bionic arm


Mind-reading wakamaru robot teachers keep students focused : Engagement levels were monitored using a $200 EEG sensor to monitor the FP1 area of the brain, which manages learning and concentration.


h.The future of HCI

Some points of the video:

  • Spoken interaction
  • multiple people interacting
  • eyetracking
  • the computational environment must be smart enough not to interrupt the flow of and between humans
  • we need to move to where computers can take actions for you

i.Distant future

BBI : Brain-to-brain interface

Non-invasively translate human intention to stimulate a rat’s brain motor area responsible for tail movement.


j. matrix ?


Distributed Cognition : Toward a new foundation for Human-Computer Interaction research (James Hollan, Edwin Hutchins, David Kirsh)

Take home message

The proposition is an integrated framework for research that combines ethnographic observation and controlled experimentation as a basis for theoretically informed design of digital work materials and collaborative workplaces. The research focussing on distributions of cognitive processes across members of social groups, coordination between internal and external structure, and how products of earlier events can transform the nature of later events.


Working on a single computer with local information is been quickly passed by with working in a complex networked world of information and computer-mediated interactions.

Distributed cognition(DC) theory is here proposed as a new foundation for human-computer interaction(HCI). The theory focusses on whole environments : what we really do in them and how we coordinate our activities in them.

Furthermore an intergrated research framework is sketched and selections of earlier work are used to demonstrate new opportunities in the design of digital work materials.

1. Introduction

DC studies the organization of cognitive systems, which goes beyond the individual and includes interactions between people and resources and materials in the environment.

Principle of boundaries :
traditionally individuals, DC looks for cognitive processes wherever they occur on the basis of functional relationships of elements that participate together in the process.
A system that can dynamically configure itself to bring subsystems into coordination to accomplish various functions. A cognitive process is delimited by the functional relationships among the elements that participate in it, rather than by the spatial bringing together of the elements.

Principle of range of mechanics :
traditional views look for cognitive events in the manipulation of symbols inside individual actors.
DC looks for a broader class of cognitive events and does not expect all such events to be encompassed by the skin or skull of an individual.

Applying principles to observation of human activity “in the wild”, 3 kinds of distribution of cognitive process become apparent :

– may be distributed across the members of a social group
– may involve coordination between internal and external (material or environmental) structure
– may be distributed through time in such a way that the products of earlier events can transform the nature of later events

2. A DC approach

2.1 Socially DC

Emerging idea : social organization is itself a form of cognitive architecture. (Images of a social/cognitive ant society come to mind)
ant contact networks
Cognitive processes involve trajectories of information (transmission and transformations), so the patterns of these information trajectories reflect some underlying architecture.
Since social organization—plus the structure added by the context of activity—largely determines the way information flows through a group, social organization may itself be viewed as a form of cognitive architecture.
DC includes phenomena that emerge in social interactions as well as interactions between people and structure in their environments.

2.2 embodied cognition

cognition is the result of interactions between the internal (mind) and external (body, environment). The work environment can become part of the cognitive system.

2.3 culture and cognition

Distributed cognition is influenced by and influences itself the historical cultural environment, a reservoir of resources for learning, problem solving and reasoning. As such we are standing on the shoulders of giants, but are also blinded to other ways of thinking.
Rethink model of individual mind.

2.4 Ethnography of distributed cognitive systems

“The term ethnography has come to be equated with virtually any qualitative research project where the intent is to provide a detailed, in-depth description of everyday life and practice.” (

Study application of knowledge : how knowledge is used to perform action in/for certain events and how information is arranged in material and social world.
Participant observation is used to examine technical expertise.

Identifying critical features :
The airspeed tape on the left shows us a very narrow operating range at the top end of our altitude capability. That is, your range of acceptable airspeed is from about 212 to about 245. The “chain” above that shows the area of high speed buffet, meaning parts of the aircraft, above that speed, will begin to go supersonic.
On the bottom of the tape is the yellow line we call “the hook,” which is the slow speed stall. If you go below that speed, your airfoil will stall, and you will fall.

3 An integrated framework for research

DC theory identifies a set of core principles that widely apply. For example,

  • people establish and coordinate different types of structure in their environment
  • it takes effort to maintain coordination
  • people off-load cognitive effort to the environment whenever practical
  • there are improved dynamics of cognitive load-balancing available in social organization.

Cognitive ethnography seeks to determine what things mean to participants in an activity and to document the means by which the meanings are created, often with revealing and surprising result. E.g. the use of structure that was not anticipated by the designers.
This can only be discovered by observation : real world observations, for which a rapport is needed, and experiments.
Creating a loop : from observation to theory to design to new tools.
Design proces can also reveal new aspects of behaviour to be included in the loop.

3.1 ship navigation

The true bearing to a point is the angle measured in degrees in a clockwise direction from the north line.

DV came into existence by the study of navigation aboard US Navy ships where outcomes that mattered to the ship were the product of the interactions of several navigators with each other and with a complex suite of tools. 

3.2 Airline Cockpit Automation

Pilots using electromechanical airspeed indicators develop perceptual strategies that rely on the perceptual salience of the spatial location of the airspeed indicator needle in a space of meaning- ful speeds. Our new instrument not only preserves this property; it makes it perceptually even more salient.

3.3 Beyond Direct Manipulation

In direct-manipulation interfaces the objects on-screen are meant to be so closely coupled to the actual computational objects we are dealing with that we are supposed to feel as if we are manipulating the real objects themselves and not just their stand-ins.

3.4 History-Enriched Digital Objects

Good examples of these are google search, where the websites that are visited by other users who searched the same topic are included in the search algorithm. And also google Analytics, whose job is to record the usage of a website.

4. Conclusions and future directions

HCI research focus is no longer confined to the desktop but reaches into a complex networked world of information and computer-mediated interactions

More info

Website distributed cognition and human-computer interaction laboratory

Related areas

interaction design, user interface, ergonomy, AI

Related papers

A Moving Target—The Evolution of Human-Computer Interaction, Jonathan Grudin Microsoft Corporation, USA (

Project Streamer (

Brain-Computer Interfaces in Medicine (