Sridhar wins Best Presentation Award at EdMedia
ECE graduate student Anjali Sridhar won the Best Presentation Award in the Pecha Kucha category at the 2011 EdMedia conference. EdMedia is the world conference on Educational Media and Technology, hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
Pecha Kucha is a presentation style in which 20 slides are presented for 20 seconds each. “The trick is you want to get the most information on the slide, but the slide moves without your control,” Sridhar explained. “The tough part is that you don’t want to spend too much time on a slide, and then the next one comes, and you don’t want to get harried!”
This was the first time she had presented something in this style, and Sridhar said she would definitely do it again. “It’s a lot of fun! It’s quick, it’s got a lot of punch to it to get your stuff out, and then you’re done!”
Sridhar’s presentation was on a mobile learning community project—Mi-Clicker—developed at Illinois. It is an Android application for mobile phones that allows teachers to give out quizzes and make announcements. Students can take the quizzes and receive instant feedback on their answers.
“My presentation basically spoke about why Mi-Clicker is important and described each of the activities that are present for the instructors and students to use and benefit from,” Sridhar said.
Sridhar was not involved in Mi-Clicker’s creation stage, but joined the team in the summer of 2010. “I’m passionate about mobile phones, and I was interested in networking,” Sridhar said. “Some of the optimizations that had to be performed involved networking, so I found this project really interesting.”
“My thesis topic has to do with peer-to-peer systems and hybrid networks on mobile phones,” said Sridhar, a master’s student in ECE.
Sridhar’s adviser, and a co-creator of Mi-Clicker, is Computer Science Professor Klara Nahrstedt. “Anjali is tremendous,” Nahrstedt said. Sridhar “improved on the network and system infrastructure level as well as on the application user interface level to give people more comfort. She really understood both [sides].”
EdMedia took place in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2011. Sridhar said she had a great experience in Europe. “I had a chance to go around quite a bit,” she said. “I saw my first European palace!”
The conference itself was also very informative, according to Sridhar. “You had computer scientists, people from all over the world. It was great because you not only had people who are building these applications; you had people who wanted to use them.”
Sridhar said she had many people ask her questions after her presentation. “Some of them were from Australia and they would ask me, ‘I want to do this in my classroom and how can your application help me?’” she said. “And that’s good. You want it to be used. You want it to be out there. In fact, we’ve actually released this as open source.”
Open source software means that others can download, modify, and use the application. Mi-Clicker software was just the first step towards the development of mobile learning communities, and now people from around the world have access to the application. Sridhar hopes Mi-Clicker will continue to help improve instructor-student relations.