Archive for April, 2007

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T4 & the struggle to find a super-cool project!

27 April, 2007

With proposals long written and team members hip deep in development it is time to reflect on the significant struggle the team encounted trying to come up with a challenging and innovative project.

The theme is to “imagine a world where technology enables a better education for all

Our initial strategy was to find a problem in the educational community that we could try to solve. This sounded logical. In reality it turned out to be the hard part of the project.  We searched, we googled, we interviewed – we even sent out an email to every relevant educational entity we could think of in the search for the ultimate project. In hindsight we we’re probably too fussy. A common issue that arised with many of the problems was that there is already a reasonable technical solution available – the potential client just either didn’t know about it or more likely they couldn’t afford to adopt it. This led to our biggest realisation. Most of the problems with education are not technological; they are usually political, policy based or funding problems.

After several weeks of research our next step was to look to our own educational problems to see if there was something we could build that would be of use to us personally.  We are all senior level students with several years of university experience surely one of us had encountered some difficulty that would entail the creation of a new, exciting and innovative piece of software.  Finally one of our number hit on a problem that is so common and obvious we hadn’t considered it.  So finally we had a whisper of an idea, oh and a crappy sketch!

The race was now on to see how this problem has already been addressed. We guarentee that no matter what software you come up with, someone, somewhere has thought of it first. In fact one of our designs we planned out right to the details and went online to find that EXACT same software (details and all) was available from IBM — guttered, seriously. Luckily for T4 we found similar implementations of our intended product but NO exact solution. Exiting times were ahead 🙂

Our area of interest is in student collaboration. Particularly how a group of students can collaborate together to complete labs, assignments and projects. There is software that helps with this of course – but not in the way that we have imagined. What does our software do? What is it called? Who are these T4 people? Be sure to stay tuned for the next exciting installment…