Archiv für den Monat: Januar 2010


For the usability test at the Bodelschwinghschule I enabled geocaching functionality for the XO. For now the geocaches are hardcoded for each laptop, though. You can display the cache by clicking the ‚Show Cache‘ button. Your position is displayed by default.


Another progress  made is to enable collaboration via the great groupthink library by Benjamin M. Schwartz (get it from its repository). It offers several shared datastructures. The new version of the Pippy activity and Arithmetic are using it already. It look very promising and I’m sure it is a very good approach to encapsulate the collaboration things a developer has to do (even though, the Hello Mesh activity gives a good example how to start with collaboration on an XO).

However, I managed to connect several XOs to let them share the geospace activity. Visulization stuff is in progress; for now only the positions of each XO user is shared, logged and updated.


Usability Test at School

As mentioned in a blogposting before, we visited the Bodelschwinghschule (Primary School in Münster) last Thursday and Friday to make our first usability test for our activity software. Our little test candidates were attending the forth class (highest class degree at a Primary School here in Germany), so they represented a good mean for our target group (kids from 8–12 years).


After a short introduction what Geoinformatics is about, we took out two pupils for each test cycle — one laptop per child ;o). During the test the rest of the class performed Google Earth exercises on a customized Wii-Balance Board.

The test design was focused on the geocaching plugin. We placed some geocaches on the schoolground in the morning. At the beginning of the test we described the task as performing a treasure hunt.


Giving one laptop per child, we observed how the kids were using the laptop and the tools of the activity. The first view was a quite big extent of the world (including Africa and Europe). The current position was marked on the map, so the first task to solve was doing pan and zoom action to get to the extent of their schoolground — a quite hard task for children in that age, though, meaning to overbridge several zoom steps (world, Europe, Germany, NRW, Münster, quarter, schoolground).


During the test we pinned down our observations, e.g. how long it took to perform zoom or pan action, finding the cache itself, respectively. After the test we went over a general questionare, to get an idea of the map use and computer experiences, etc. the kids already have.


On Friday we decided to take two kids per laptop (four kids per cycle) due to time reasons. At the end 16 of 22 children had the chance to test the software. It’s a pity that not every child had the chance using the XO laptop, though all the children were very excited to use it. In the end we did a usual geocaching (with a normal GPS handheld device) with all the children, so hopefully no one was sad.

XO_where is the cache

The results of our test will be available soon.

New Year – News

It took us some time to release the next blogpost… we worked hard on the progress of the project.

1. The software made a big jump onto the next level. Our programming team made the collaboration of the software and the sharing of each XO’s position possible.

2. We are looking forward to our first usability test in a local primary school (Bodelschwingh Grundschule Münster) with a group of 25 4th-graders on Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd. Last friday we already visited the school to check out the test area and the class room.

school visit

3. For the test we mapped the school ground for Openstreetmap, as we use the OSM tiles as map background. The kids can reference their own position to the buildings on the map. We will test our geocaching plugin. Test results and test documentation will be available soon.