Saturday, June 30, 2012

Google Faculty Development Workshop -- Day 3

Did Google save the best for last? I don't think so because all the days have been great.
The final day saw participants taken through Google Apps for Education: Calender, Gmail, Google docs. A hands on session on Google+ was also held and that had a lot of engagement as the interaction between the presenter and participants was great.
Baris, a software engineer at Google also had a cool session where he took participants through a typical software design approach used by Googlers. Participants finally decided to build an app to help solve traffic problems in Accra and indeed, in Ghana.
Another brainstorming session was held after the programm when a numberof folks stayed behind for about fifteen minutes after closure, to talk with Baris about malaria and help him understand issues on the ground so as to be well informed to build an infrastructure that can mitigate the harm caused by mosquitoes, and prevent them from 'invading' the rooms of their 'potential victims'.
Baris with some participants discussing malaria

It was a great event and the knowledge base has been really dense.
I do hope to be here next year, and fully help advance the mission of Google in making technology an integral part in education.
Related articles:

Friday, June 29, 2012

Google Faculty Development Workshop -- Day 2

The second day of the workshop has been full of activities, mostly the writing of codes. Participants were introduced to the creation of Android apps using the Eclipse IDE. It was confusing at first but became enjoyable once things were made clear during the breakout session that saw participants break into groups of two for the apps competition.
A number of cool ideas were floated by the teams as they presented their apps during the show and tell session. It was fun. The team that won the competiton created an app that allowed users to report (utility) faults in their communities.
Friendships were forged, networks were created, and a collaborative spirit heightened. Who says distance is a barrier to the acquisition of Knowledge? If you think so, then you haven't met determined folks. Most of the participants -- myself inclusive -- came from locations far from the venue in Accra. That being said, I met Caleb, an enthusiastic fellow from the University of Ibadan who flew all the way from Nigeria for the workshop!
The event ended on a very good note. I look forward to the final day tomorrow that looks at the integration of Google Apps in Education.
Participants at the workshop
Related articles:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Google Faculty Development Workshop -- Day 1

Obum from Google introducing the Google African University Program 
Google is at it again! This time, interacting exclusively with Computer Science Lecturers, Professors, and Administrators in Sub-Saharan Africa. The beginning of this week saw the team in Nigeria where they met Faculty from about 20 universities for three days. Today they met Faculty from 15 universities in Ghana, at the Alisa Hotel. The workshop will end on Saturday.
With the changing trend in the Industry, it is expedient Curricula is adjusted to better suit the needs of users/consumers. Thus a collaborative community of academics who are introduced to the use of Google's tools and developer platforms for instruction and research is highly beneficial.
Participants were introduced to Web 2.0 technologies, The Google App Engine, and the Google Web Toolkit. Do check out the Google Developers University Consortium that was launched about a couple of days ago.
Personally, it is an insightful event that I pray continues, and yield the fruits it is expected to bear. The classroom setting made a great impact. However, I felt a bit intimidated because the programming language used is one I hardly am conversant with -- Java!
I however enjoyed the first day and look forward to the next couple of days that promise to be full of brainstorming sessions, hand-on experience and fun.
Related articles:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Letter to my unborn child

Credit: Kalongi

Tomorrow marks the day most men would be celebrated in their various homes -- Fathers' Day!
As I sat through the day thinking about my dad and his sacrifices for me and my siblings, I thought of  writing a letter (of a sort) to my unborn child. Here goes:

Dear Son/Daughter,

It's with ambivalent feelings that I write this letter to you.
I trust all is well with you up there? Well, your folks down here are doing okay. Thanks for asking.

My thoughts are filled with how you are going to look. Will you be having your mum's eyes or my ears -- or both?
The joy you would bring into our home is always a refreshing thought. 

I pledge and look forward to being you partner-in-crime, protector, and above all, your best friend. *wink* 
I can't wait to see you happily drain your mum's milk factories, while throwing your legs about happily.
Looking forward to your first sound, steps, crush, heartbreak, love -- and squabbles with our neighbours' kids. Ha-ha-ha
In all these, know that my shoulders will always be available to give you support and comfort.

Really, there's a lot I wish I could say but I'm overwhelmed by the thought of holding you in my arms, and watching you grow into a humble, passionate and responsible individual.

Until the day my orgasm gives you the impetus to drill into your mum's egg.

Your Papa.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Welcome to iWitness -- in Ghana

A couple of months ago, I struck an acquaintance with Daixy, the Social Media coordinator of GhanaDecides -- a BloggingGhana project that seeks to cover issues pertaining to the forthcoming elections in Ghana. I was fascinated after she introduced me to the project as it presented an opportunity for individuals to broadcast the news of Ghana's forthcoming elections to the world.
I thought to myself, "If we are tired of having our country and continent given a negative image in the media by both foreign and local media, who better to set the record straight, than ourselves?"
GhanaDecides became a fixture in my lectures (during breaks) where I educated and advised students to make their voices heard in the campaign known as iRegistered. The iRegistered campaign covered Ghana's first ever biometric voter registration.
Personally, I believe all has gone according to the expectations of the project team based on the responses got. Or maybe not?
That being said, I stumbled upon a project being undertaken by Adaptive Path (a User Experience design company in the USA) that seeks to take social media to another dimension -- iWitness. The free tool iWitness went live a couple od days ago!
iWitness is a pretty cool tool I think would further enhance the GhanaDecides project. It reads tweets (and even Flickr and instagram updates) in real time, based on location and time. It works solely in a browser. All you do is enter a location and a time, and voila, news becomes readily available to you.
Screenshot of the iWitness app. Location: Accra

The downsides of the tool I think has to do mainly with the fact that it's mostly for desktop browsers that are Webkit-based, such as Chrome and Safari. But hey, it's an evolving open source project. It shouldn't be long before we have it being supported on mobile browsers and all other browser as well. Developers can hack at the source code on Github.
iWitness is also advantageous to the GhanaDecides cause as it doesn't require a hashtag (which the campaign so far has depended mainly on) for any particular news.
Just go ahead and try the tool.
I will like to have your thoughts on it via your comments on this post. ;-)
You can read more on iWitness on this blog post by the creators.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Finding the square root of an integer using Calculus

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to find the square root of an integer (especially imperfect squares), but had no calculator close by? I have. I however remember learning a Calculus trick (in senior high) that has always come to my aid in such situations. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, and come along as I share this trick. The trick requires that you identify some things:
  • The integer (Obviously!)
  • A perfect square that can be got from the integer
  • The remainder in subtracting the perfect square from the integer
The steps involved in deriving the formula for finding the square root of an integer is shown below:


As an example, let's find the square root of the integer 7:

PS: You will notice (after a number of practices) that the values got using this method differ slightly from the ones got from the calculator. Do not be alarmed, the values are still correct nonetheless.

I do hope this is helpful and would come in handy when we need it.
Please let me know what your thoughts on any other trick you know. Waiting for your comments. ;-)