Archiv für den Monat: Mai 2010

AGILE conference

From May 12-14 I was participating in the AGILE 2010 conference in Guimaraes, Portugal, where I presented the project.


It was a nice experience again, the audiance size was around 30 and I had some interesting talks and a very positive feedback afterwards. Especially some portuguese participants from ISEGI were interested in the project, as they already have an GIS integration program in secondary school education (conTIG) and were thinking about putting it one level down to primary school. If you are interested in the paper or the presentation, just contact us.

Rwanda Outcomes

On our last day in Rwanda we met David Cavallo and Juliano Bittencourt from OLPC. They really liked our Geo Activity and the whole project approach, using Open Source data, organizing usability tests, having a didactic concept and performing learning tests. We exchanged a lot of ideas and discussed further cooperation and possibilities. Here’s our plan for the near future:

  • correcting the encountered minor usability and workflow problems (e.g. symbols)
  • providing a future plan to OLPC =>to receive 10-15 XOs for further tests in Germany
  • finalising a Geo Activity-bundle => to be deployed in Rwanda and perhaps in Uruguay
  • working on further Geo game plugins:
    • GeoGuess (like the „Schlag den Raab“ map game)
    • GeoMap (like IndieMapper OR even better as an OSM-editor)
    • Geo… let’s see 😉

Also we are interested in integrating sensor devices with the map. This connection will have a great benefit of the understanding of Geo phenomenon data which can be measured at a specific location. Also, this will offer Geo statistical approaches to examine and explore the own environment and might shape a more sensitive sense for effects and impacts on the direct environment.

Thanks to all ifgi colleagues who participated in the collecting of money for a GPS device for Theodore, our (much more than) full time translator. He was very happy receiving it today and assured us to put some effort in future OSM mappings.

Kagugu School Day5: Collaboration (2nd try) and Final

After solving some technical problems which rose up due to cloning the laptops, we started a new approach testing the collaboration of the Geo Activity. We spent much efforts implementing the collaboration capabilities the XO laptop (and Sugar) offers. Performing games with others is much more fun, and besides this the learning effect grows exponentially.

Like on the other days, we tried the Geocaching and the Geotagging game. But now with sharing the activity, instead of performing single games in parallel.


First we tried the Geocaching activity which was pretty much fun — not only for the kids participating the game ;). It was fun to see, which ways the kids chose to find the cache. We even did not have to follow the kids directly, as we saw them on the map striving around the schoolground.


The trick was to orientate oneself with the help of the map and the player constellation. When the treasure was close, the kids could disable displaying all participants on the map, so they could concentrate on the stepapproaching the treasure (overlapping of XO icon and treasure icon), without being confused of the other players icons.

For the Geotagging game, unfortunately we had not too much time and I’m lacking some pictures (I guess, we forgot to take some „screenshots“), but besides some bugs (kids could not delete a tagged object) it works also very well. We will provide pictures on this after further tests back in Germany.

We finished this impressive week with some post tests on spatial abilities and sketch maps in both shifts, to measure possible improvements.

To say goodbye to the kids we brought some sweets from Germany and made group pictures, with XOs and with the flag 😉 We’ve let some of the GPS devices in class, so the kids can continue geocaching and geotagging in the future.

Finally we had an interesting summing up talk to the teachers and the headmaster. Kagugu Primary School is highly interested in establishing some kind of exchange of data with other schools, starting with the Bodelschwinghschule Münster. We put this on our todo list, to develop a server for publishing the maps made with the GeoActivity. Theodore was even asked by the headmaster to give teacher trainings for the GeoActivity in the future!

Kagugu School Day4: Paper Maps and Collaboration (1st try)

On Thursday, our plan was to perform some control tests of geocaching using a paper map and try the collaborative geocaching and geotagging using the MESH. It is possible to share both of our games with the neighborhood and search for a geocache or map the school ground as a team. Unfortunately we encountered major problems in establishing a running MESH with all participants, to share the activity. Probably we deleted some individual configuration files while cloning the XOs. Some phone calls with OLPC and some techies helped, but there was another lconing session necessary, which had to wait for the night.

After 3 days of pure burning sun (in the rainy season) it even started to rain so we could take this as an excuse for the failed 1st try and missing pictures. During the rain we stayed in the school library and tried to get things running.

In the mean time we performed the paper map tests and some more single user tests of geocaching and geotagging.

Kagugu School Day3: Single User Tests of Geotagging

On Wednesday we started with the second game of our GeoActivity: Geotagging. This day’s task for the children was to map point feutures on the school ground by using  symbols for basic geographic map elements: building, agriculture, vegetation, water, infrastructure, animal. Again we took 2-3 children (in total around 25 of 110) and accompanied them, taking notes.

Take a look at one of the children’s KMZ-exported mappings.

First and most important issue was our symbol design. The children did not recognize some of our symbols, e.g. water, agriculture. An important result in this usability and learning test. We will have to put more effort on the symbol designs.

This time, Roman Meyer, visiting GIS Officer from Tchad, helped us with testing. Thanks for that, Roman!

Overall the children liked this task and created nice lttle maps of the school ground.

Kagugu School Day2: Single User Tests of Geocaching

The outdoor work started on Tuesday: During the lessons we picked 2-3 kids (in total 30 of 110) out of class to perform the single user tests of the Geocaching game. After hiding the geocaches on the school ground Theodore translated a short explanation of the actvitiy and the kids could start their search with the help of our activity and the OSM basemap.

We accompanied the children on their search, noting their problems, questions and reactions.  Their wayfinding and search time was recorded by GPS. As for usability measures we tried to encourage the children to think aloud – a new situation for most of them. Due to language barriers and missing experience we could not collect many comments on that. All in all the task was reasonable easy and all tested children found their way around the school ground, although there were some differences in time and wayfinding. A deeper analysis will follow. After the second round we realized that hiding a cache on a school ground shared by 4000 children is quite impossible… 3 of 4 boxes „disappeared“ during this day.

On this day we had some help from Claudio Pajarola, a swiss GIS specialist from CGIS (Center for Geographic Information Systems) of the NUR (National University of Rwanda) and from Lote, a student of KIE (Kigali Institute of Education).

During the test runs and especially if they hit some break, we had a lot of guests and visitors, watching from behind 😉

We even got an idea how it could look like, if some children use the laptops in collaboration mode… (in fact, these kids just used the better WiFi connectivity on this spot)

Here you go with the wayfinding of Queen, a 9 year old girl:

Mapping Kigali III

Theodore, our local assistance – especially for translations into Kinyarwanda – got a big fan of OpenStreetMap. Yesterday he mapped two more hills of Kigali with one of our Garmin GPS60CSx and is looking forward to continue… Kigali is growing fast on OSM since Theodore is in the game 😉  So perhaps we could start a movement of naming streets the same way, as this is a major problem to get around here. Navigating motos or taxis works just by heading them to landmarks like Ministeries,  Hotels or Bars… somewhat an adventure for non-residents.

Part of Kigali before Mapping

Part of Kigali before Mapping

Part of Kigali after Mapping

Part of Kigali after Mapping

Kagugu School Day1: Spatial Ability Tests

On the first day at Kagugu Primary School we started with our pre-tests on the childrens spatial abilities. We are working with class P5C (5th grade),working in two shifts. This huge school with around 4000 pupils works from 7:20 – 11:40 and from 12:40 – 17:00. The first shift in P5C has 54 pupils, the second 53, the kids are between 9 and 17 years old. Quite a big age difference. In the beginning, we told them what will happen during this exiting week and intruduced them in the world of maps somehow. Surprisingly (Uranyemeje in Kinyarwanda) the children had few experience with maps. We started drawing a world map and let them draw maps of the classroom on the board, what ended up in our first spatial ability task: „Draw a map of the school ground“.

A „Mental Rotation Test“, Piaget’s „Water-Level-Task“ and a „Spatial Orientation Test“ followed. We also asked the children about our symbols in the activity, especially the categories for geotagging (e.g. agriculture, water…). This little study (n=100) will give us a hint, if our symbols are intercultural and understandable.

In the break between the shifts we had some time for a little flash back and to inspect the school’s one laptop per child policy 😉

Our first full school day ended with a group picture and a first cloning session in the office. We needed to prepare the first laptops for the single-user-tests starting on Tuesday.

30,000,000 Laptops for Africa

This has been announced by the BBC two days ago.

However, as I read this news first by reading a german article at, I wanted check the figures, since for me 30,000,000 is a huge number (not to say here, this amount would not be needed at all). Reading the EAC announcement it exposed that the message is only a letter of intend, and no concrete figure was mentioned here.

BBC might have some insider information or the 30,000,000 laptops were just a guess (I think this might have been said in their article).