Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Journey Map

In preparing for my talk on Journey at Adventure Design Group, I made a little animated map of where Journey to the End of the Night has been played.

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Journey Log

We just finished what I’m calling the “alpha run” of journey log, a system for logging runners running Journey to the End of the Night/SurviveDC-style games. There were a fair number of data issues, but I think it’s a really cool combination of mobile app (Android and iPhone versions) for recording and web app for storing and visualizing runner patterns during the night. You can see visualizations of the checkpoints, chasers, and runners (with individual runners getting their own pages). The web visualizations are done with a rails/mysql backend, using flot, jit, and Google maps javascript libraries.

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SFEdu Startup Weekend/DemoLesson

In short: we won!

I took part in the first Education Startup Weekend this past weekend, a great event where you try to create a viable startup over the course of 54 hours. You can read the NPR story here or a great writeup from one of my teammates here. My team created DemoLesson.com, a career listing site for teachers where every teacher has a teaching video, so that school administrators doing the hiring can get real information much earlier in the process. You can see a splash page here. The concept is pretty straightforward, but there’s a real need to be able to see teachers teach before flying them out for an in-person interview and demo lesson. I liken it to coding interviews for developers: you want to be able to see the person doing what it is you’re actually hiring them for. There was a lot of positive feedback from Teach For America, the charter school administrators we talked to, and the teachers we interviewed. The weekend was also a competition, and out of 14 competing teams, the judges thought ours was the most viable. It was a great team, a great experience, and a lot of fun.

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The Dr. Who Postcard Project

I just gave a short talk at Noisebridge’s 5 Minutes of Fame on a Dr. Who Postcard project; the code is open sourced on github. See more details at the postcard project page!

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Scatterplots, jQuery, and Class Size

A couple of days ago, Nathan at FlowingData posted a parallel coordinates plot showing a relationship between student-to-teacher ratio and mean SAT scores. In the comments, a lot of people said that they would have rather seen scatterplots, and also mentioned that the percent of students taking the test could also have been a factor (due to selecting the higher-performing students to take the test). Like the weather, a lot of people complained about it, but no one did anything about it.

Since the data was readily available from the National Center for Education Statistics, I thought I’d download it and just make some quick scatterplots. Of course, this also seemed like a good opportunity to play around with flot, a really neat javascript library for generating plots and graphs.

The end result is here. I think it’s quite decent.

Before you say anything, I agree: it would be better if it had reference lines for the US average for X and Y axes, a color scale to indicate color values, and used something other than HTML tables for layout. If you cry out for them, I will add them.

Update 11/17/2009: I added a color scale and reference lines for the US Average, in order to have a little better showing in the Flowing Data competition. I’m still showing my poor layout skills, though.

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Khaaaaaan!

Perhaps in response to passing my dissertation defense (so that I can now look at numbers for fun rather than because it’s actually useful), I have finished modeling “How many a’s do people use in ‘Khaaaaaan!’?” Yep. After the idea was suggested by Kevin Martin, I just couldn’t help myself. If there was any doubt about my being a geek, I think those doubts can be pretty well laid to rest now.

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Iranian Election Updates!

I’ve finally had some time to finish updating my 2009 Iranian Election Analysis, to the point where I’ve changed the page on math.umd.edu to point here. I’m kind of disappointed to find no real statistical evidence of fraud, but I do like the fact that by looking intensely at the data, you can find explanations–in particular, finding weaknesses in the 1st, 2nd, and final digit frequency analyses.

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