New templates now available for BuildmLearn Toolkit Android (v2.5)

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We are happy to announce a major release for BuildmLearn Toolkit Android (v2.5). With this version we are introducing four new templates to build apps. The four new templates are Video Collection , Comprehension,  Dictation and Match the following.

Video Collection template allows you to create apps featuring videos. Comprehension template enables to build a comprehension test for students where they read a passage and then answer questions  based on the passage. Dictation template allows to create apps where students can practice writing (i.e. typing) while the app dictates a passage. Match template allows to create apps where the students can pick two related topics from a bunch of presented topics. With the new four templates introduced, the BuildmLearn Toolkit app now supports a total of 8 templates.

Along with the new templates, here’s what’s new:

1. Improved design of simulator and existing template apps
2. Now Share Project and APKs
3. Collections of saved APKs using the toolkit
4. Ability to save WIP as Draft projects
5. Restore projects from APK
6. Kaizen

Special thanks to all the contributors who contributed to this release. Thanks to Anupam for driving this release.

 

 Head over to the Google Play store to get the update

Get it on Google Play

If you would like to contribute to the toolkit app, our Github repo is here: https://github.com/BuildmLearn/BuildmLearn-Toolkit-Android

Posted in mLearning, Open Source, Release

Google Summer of Code 2016 Student Projects

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BuildmLearn is a group of volunteers who collaborate to promote m-Learning with the specific aim of creating open source tools and enablers for teachers and students. The group is involved in developing easy to use m-Learning solutions, tool-kits and utilities for teachers (or parents) and students that help facilitate learning. The group comprises several like minded members of a wider community who collaborate to participate in a community building process.

This year too, we had applied to and were selected to participate in Google Summer of Code (2016 Edition). This summer we had 5 students working for us on different projects. We are happy with the overall progress that BuildmLearn has achieved during this summer.

For those who are unfamiliar with the program, Google Summer of Code is a global program that offers students stipends to write code for open source projects. Through this program, Google works with open source community to identify and fund exciting projects for the upcoming summer. Many open source projects like ours really benefit from this initiative of Google. Not only do we get large number of university students interested to work on our projects during summer; we also gain new long term contributors and project maintainers.

Student Projects

Below is a gist of what our students have been working this summer:

Anupam Das worked on the BuildmLearn toolkit app for Android. The goals for him this summer were to add the four new template to the exiting mobile app and to improve the overall design of existing template apps. I’m happy to announce that as we complete this edition of GSoC, the toolkit app supports 4 new app templates viz. Video Collection, Comprehension, Dictation and Match the following. Anumpam has been extraordinary in achieving these goals. Anupam also used this opportunity to fine tune the existing code, improving the overall stability of the app and also integrated the project with Travis-CI.

The new version of the BuildmLearn Toolkit with all the new templates is available for download in the Google Play store.

Screenshots from BuildmLearn Toolkit app

Jai Agarwal worked on the mConference Framework project this summer. The ‘mConference Framework’ project aims at developing an Android Framework which allows organizers to create apps for conferences and events. Using this framework, the organizers can create apps for any event, conference or meetup by creating and adding data in the configuration file (XML) from a static webpage. We have an initial version of the framework ready and hope to do some enhancements overtime so that it works out of the box for conference organizers.

Video showcasing an initial version of mConference Framework

Costin Giorgian worked on Physics simulations app. This mobile application is targeted at school and university students studying Physics. The app presents various physics experiments and concepts to choose from and see simulation in real time. It also allows the user to interact with the simulation using touch input, dragging objects and changing value of parameters like gravity, length (of pendulum, string), etc. We have showcased the app to school teachers and got some good feedback. Students are more interested to learn the concepts of Physics by actually seeing them in a tangible form in a lab, than studying the concepts in a classroom. We plan to incorporate some feedback that we received and release the app to Play store.

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Screenshots from Physics Simulations app

Pranav Tiwari worked on building an open source portal for Universities. Many universities do not have a online platform for student-student and student-faculty interactions. Some universities do post results, notices etc. on their websites, but it’s not easily accessible, and there is no way to notify the students when these uploads are done. Interaction amongst various student bodies, clubs etc. are done through Whatsapp / Facebook / Google groups, which is very inefficient. UCP (University Campus Portal) solves this problems for the Universities.

Screenshot of the UCP (University Campus Portal) framework 

Pranav has build a web application – that any university can easily deploy on their home server. The web application provides features like Discussions, News, Events, Drives and Events. The web app is responsive so it runs well on mobile devices too. Besides this, it allows a great deal of customization for the look and feel of the portal. Universities can choose an existing theme or create their own. The portal also exposes RESTful APIs for these features so that a client application (mobile / bots / etc) can be built for this platform. We are happy with the progress of UCP and looking for Universities to try this out.

Bhavita Lalwani was selected to work on Indic Language Input Tool (ILIT) for Android. The idea was to create an efficient keypad for indian languages using unconventional layouts for user input. We have the basic keypad layout in place and it works, however it is far from perfect. We would also like to build word and character prediction algorithms for this layout next, which probably is a good activity for someone who is interested in languages to take up.

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Screenshots for an initial version ILIT (Indian Language Input Tool) for Android

Thank you, Google, Students and Mentors!

We are really thankful to Google for giving us this amazing opportunity to participate in the 2016 edition of GSoC. We have discovered talented contributors to our projects through GSoC. It has really been a productive summer for BuildmLearn. We were able to take many of our projects to the next level and attract many new contributors!

Posted in Open Source, Summer of Code | Tagged , ,

GSoC with BuildmLearn – Student Experiences (Anupam Das)

Posted by Anupam Das (Student, GSoC 2016)

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Me after successfully completing GSoC

My proposal for “Improve existing BuildmLearn Toolkit app and add new templates to it” was selected for Google Summer of Code 2016. I (@opticod) worked with the organisation BuildmLearn under the awesome mentor-ship of Pankaj Nathani (@croozeus) and Neha Dhanwani (@NehaDhanwani).

First of all I would like to explain what BuildmLearn Toolkit app is:

Its is an easy-to-use android app that helps the users make another mobile apps without any knowledge of android application development. It helps creating mobile application with various functionality and allows teachers to input their custom content. Targeted at teachers, this toolkit helps them make learning fun and engaging through mobile apps.

Experiences

It all started with the Community Bonding period, which is a vital part of the GSoC. It’s intended to get students ready to start contributing to their organisation.

During this phase of GSoC, my mentor Pankaj Sir and I discussed and finalized the design. We also set a development approach, refined our project plan including finalizing deadlines and milestones, adding more detail and having an automated build system Travis-CI. Continue reading

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Google Summer of Code 2015 Student Projects

Solid 3 months of coding and it’s a wrap for Google Summer of Code (2015 Edition). This summer we had 6 students working for us and it has been a great productive summer for our projects. Many of our annual organizational software development goals have been met with this summer itself.

For those who are unfamiliar with the program, Google Summer of Code is a global program that offers students stipends to write code for open source projects. Through this program, Google works with open source community to identify and fund exciting projects for the upcoming summer. Many open source projects like ours really benefit from this initiative of Google. Not only do we get large number of university students interested to work on our projects during summer; we also gain new long term contributors and project maintainers.

Student Projects

Below is the gist of what our students have been working on this summer:

Akila Sandakelum worked on one of our new educational apps viz. Label the Diagram. With this mobile application, we aim to help students to study ‘diagrams’ from various subjects like Science, Physics and Biology. The application presents diagrams to the user on various subject topics. The user can select the subject and diagram of his choice and either study it or test his knowledge by labelling it. The application also includes gamification aspects like score and badges to make things more interesting. The application is being prepared for a launch in the Google Play store, the source code is available here: https://github.com/BuildmLearn/Mobile-applications

Main Menu DiagramSelection Menu DiagramPlay

Abhishek Batra has been putting his best of his Android Development skills to develop the android version of BuildmLearn Toolkit. The BuildmLearn Toolkit app on Android will allow teachers to create apps for their students using custom study material on their android phones itself. We believe this is a huge step in increasing the reach of the toolkit to people who do not have access to a personal computer. The BuildmLearn Toolkit app would soon be available on Google Play store, the source code is available here: https://github.com/BuildmLearn/BuildmLearn-Toolkit-Android

Vignesh Prasad worked on the Practice handwriting application for Android devices. This mobile application is helpful to children who are learning how to write, by allowing them to practice their handwriting skills. The application presents letters & words allowing kids to trace them. Feedback is given instantaneously when the trace is going wrong. As studies indicate, kids are more likely to spend more time practicing this on smartphone / tablets when compared to pen and paper. The application would soon be available on Google Play store, the source code is available here: https://github.com/BuildmLearn/Mobile-applications

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Srujan Jha has been working on BuildmLearn App store for Android and Windows Phone mobile devices. BuildmLearn store is a app store where teachers can submit mobile applications created using BuildmLearn Toolkit. Anyone using the the BuildmLearn store has access to all published applications. Thus, the store is a distribution medium for apps created using the BuildmLearn Toolkit. The store application would soon be available on Google Play store, the source code is available here: https://github.com/BuildmLearn/BuildmLearn-Store

Mohit D has been working on Android application to measure sensor data. He has been putting together a framework to capture and visualize data from various mobile sensors. Aimed at researchers, this app scans the device for all the sensors available and allows users to visualize data generated from the selected sensor. A lot of work has been put into the app this summer and we plan to release a beta version of the application soon. The source code is available here: https://github.com/BuildmLearn/Mobile-applications

Pulkit Gupta has been working on adding some amazing application templates to the desktop version of the toolkit. As we conclude this summer of code, the toolkit would also offer the following templates:

1) Video Collection 2) Comprehension 3) Dictation and 4) Match the following.

The toolkit with the above template would be available as a beta version in the next couple of days. The source code is available here: https://github.com/BuildmLearn/BuildmLearn-Toolkit/tree/portage-2015

Thank you, Google!

We are really thankful to Google for giving us this amazing opportunity to participate in the 2015 edition of GSoC. It has been an amazing and productive summer for BuildmLearn. We were able to take many of our projects to the next level and attract many new contributors!

Posted in mLearning, Open Source, Summer of Code | Tagged , , , ,

GSoC with BuildmLearn – Student Experiences (Abhishek Batra)

Posted by Abhishek Batra (Student, GSoC 2015)

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This year I was accepted into Google Summer of Code program with BuilmLearn. For those who don’t, last year also I worked with BuildmLearn on an Android App named Learn From Map. Back then my mentor was Neha Dhanwani. For this year my project was to port the famous BuildmLearn toolkit to Android. I worked under the mentorship of Pankaj.

So what is Google Summer of Code? If you have no idea, you can go to this link. GSoC is a sort of an internship paid by google in which you code for three months for a non-profit and open source project. GSoC is very competitive and only around 1000 students are selected from 5000’s that applies. And all the students from fresher to Ph.D. are eligible for it. This year I applied for two projects, one with BuildmLearn and other with FOSSASIA.  I was chosen for both the project and I was asked by both the organisations to accept a project of my preference. I never thought that I will be selected for both the projects, but i had already set my preference with BuildmLearn Toolkit, as the project had a better scope of learning and challenges. So when I was approached by the organisations, I decided to go with BuildmLearn.

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Continue reading

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GSoC with BuildmLearn – Student Experiences (Akila Sandakelum)

Posted by Akila Sandakelum (Student, GSoC 2015)

There is no doubt that GSoC is the most happening and most awaited event in open source world. In my point of view all open source lovers with the eligibility, should try GSoC at least once. For anyone who doesn’t know what it is and likes to find out more, here is the link  to follow.

How did I got to know about the GSoC ?

Last year GSoC proudly celebrated its 10th anniversary. On behalf of the 10th anniversary an event had been organized in my university, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka with the participation of a team from Google itself. I’m proud to say that the reason for being for choosing this university to held the event is  University of Moratuwa has had the most Google Summer of Code students for an impressive 7 years in a row so far. So I was one of the lucky ones to witness the event and I also dedicated to participate in the GSoC that year. Unfortunately with the industrial training period and part time job activities I could not make a proper proposal to apply within the given time period. But there I got to know much about how the GSoC process is going on, how to select a matching organization for my skills and how to write a proper proposal etc.

How did I select the right project?

Ok, in this year when I participate in GSoC, I had much got to know about GSoC as I mentioned earlier. It was a huge push to me  to carry on tasks this year. So I highly encourage friends out there if you couldn’t select for GSoC once, don’t worry apply next time with the experience you got and there is a high probability of accepting next time, for sure.

Actually selecting the right project is one of the critical task once go through in GSoC. Though it seems to be easy actually it isn’t. Because there are nearly 100 organizations and out of those organizations various kinds of projects to select. One could have multiple choices depending on his or her skill sets. But one should be keen on previous experiences with a particular technology, previous projects that have been involved with using a particular technology when selecting a project. It would be an added advantage to you when comes to proposal writing.
Continue reading

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GSoC with BuildmLearn – Student Experiences (Vignesh Prasad)

Posted by Vignesh Prasad (Student, GSoC 2015)

This blog post has a lot of meaning to me for 2 reasons. It marks a prominent leap in my first noteworthy contribution towards open source software (OSS) and because this is my first blog post. In this post, I would like to walk you through the app that I have been working on over the past month or so. It is an educational app that I am developing with BuildmLeam as a part of Google Summer of Code 2015.

With their increasing popularity and low cost, smart devices like smart phones, tablets or in the recent years, smart watches and smart TV’s, have made their way into almost every household that we see. Kids these days are also quickly getting oriented towards technology and the time has come for educational methods to do the same. We have seen the effect of technology on education as well with the arrival of smart classrooms. It’s about time that this effect reaches a larger scale. We hope to do that with this app. The main aim, as the title suggests, is for users to practice handwriting. I see it as an app that is aimed mainly at children. It is something that can be widely used in primary schools and kindergarten for doing so.

This journey of mine started around the end of April when the GSoC ‘15 results were out. A friend of mine who was in my room at the time said that my name wasn’t there in the list. I was a little disheartened and went back to sleep. As soon as I hit the bed, he woke me up saying that my name had appeared on the list! In a half asleep state of mind, it still hadn’t hit me that I got into GSoC ‘15. The next morning, I woke up happily and reopened the GSoC website hoping that the previous night wasn’t a dream. An email from my mentoring organization (org in short) confirmed that I did get into GSoC ‘15.

It’s hard to believe that 2 months have passed since that day. I’ve come a long way and learnt new things since then. My GSoC journey started in the community bonding period when my mentors and I were finalizing the UI and flow of the app. I had never worked on UI much so it was a bit difficult to come up with a design that was appealing to children so that they wouldn’t get bored and at the same time, keeping it simple enough for them to use without much navigation. UI wasn’t one of my stronger skills but I feel that in these 2 months, it has improved.
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