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Board Space

A solution for computers and smart phones to assist as students work through problems in the sciences.
by

Kevin Nelson

on 8 December 2013

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Transcript of Board Space

Board Space

Dynamic Multi User Problem Modeling and Simulation “Board Space” Plugin
Conceptual Submission: Pearson Coding Competition
Kevin Nelson PSU Sophomore

The ability to teach distinguishes humans from machines. Creating an effective teaching dynamic through a computer is a sizable task requiring a number of pluggable utilities. Networking allows for multiuser applications, a territory well known by Pearson, as online classroom environments could easily be classified as multi-user applications. While traditional blackboards allow for 2-Dimensional diagrams, the graphical ability of computers allows for fast and accurate 3-D rendering, namely “Board Space.”
Mathematics and physics rationalize the world around us. Modeling online class work after the classic textbook problem structure tends to limit the utility of computers. As classrooms move to the cloud, why can’t they be as immersive as video games which often take students away from their studies? The answer is simple: improve the quality of online classes.
This application will improve several aspects of teaching and working over the web. First, the perspective given to a student to analyze systems will be dynamic, allowing for a more intimate understanding. Secondly, multiple users will be able to interact with the same system from different physical locations. These features of this application will bring the blackboard into the online classroom, remove barriers, improve the learning experience of students, and provide a useful utility for professors.
Born out of a game concept utilizing leap motion. The idea of placing magnetic charges in space to manipulate the movement of charged particles in space led to a more modest, practical, concept of graphical models for problems in electromagnetism. Initial development efforts for an electrical field visualizer led to the realization that the resources, utilities, and base structure implemented for such a task could provide so much more. For the purposes of this coding competition, this rough game concept evolved into a network based graphing and modeling space. BoardSpace 0.0 will include a graphical vector calculator utility for the visualization manipulation and analysis of surfaces and vectors as well as a physics and statistics toolkit. If we can give people a virtual world in which to perform witchcraft, why can’t we give them a space to do math?
Support for new technologies is an uncertain investment; devices may or may not become widely used and commonly supported. That said, in 2013, what can we say has changed about interfacing with computers since the incorporation of monitor, mouse, and keyboard? Three things come to mind: (1) the increased power of C.P.U.s allows for increasingly powerful smart phones, (2) touch screens have become the interface of choice for the pocket computer, and (3) touchless technologies have emerged in both gaming and utility, as Microsoft Sony and Leap motion continue to develop new sensors and 3-D cameras.
“Board Space” allows for vast long term development. For example, a text recognition application could allow for handwritten problems to come to life on the screen, if a mobile app could be incorporated via the API allowing handwritten functions and variable definitions to be interpreted and passed into the board space. Furthermore, gesture support could be implemented in the manner that spaceX has coupled the Leap motion controller with AutoCAD -- after 0.0 of course.
Possible forms of “Board Space” include (while not limited to) Node.js serving javascript || processing || groovy or c++ served by Ruby rails. The application could operate as a website, standalone program or pluggable application.
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