Flipbook animation Workshop@KalaGhoda Art festival 2018

I got a call from the organizers of KalaGhoda Art Festival (KGAF) 2018, asking me about the Flipbook animation Workshop to be conducted this year! Kaumudi and I had done it few years back, however, it was for kids. This time it was for the elders, and we really wanted to experiment.

The KGAF team asked us to get all the material required for 25 participants, and thus started the search for appropriate paper, pencils and other tools. We finally came up with a small and handy size of flipbook,which can give enough surface area to draw but also will be portable to slip into a pocket! That was just the starting, but the real challenge was to get them cut to size, and get them packed. That is when my friend Shyam Pawar (Asmi Printing and Merchandise), came in handy. He and his team (Haroon, Shashikant, and others) cleared the pressure off our heads, by not just creating the packets, but also delivering them right to our home!

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Kaumudi came up with an idea to have few illustrations which will demonstrate the morphing or transformation, drawn in a single frame. This might help the first time ‘animators’ to envisage the flipbook. She made a couple of sketches, and APM promptly printed them such that they can stand by themselves!

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We went there with all the required stuff, and were greeted by the cheerful and warm KGAF team! Savani (my daughter) took the control of the sound system, and provided a nice background music in the form of popular songs from animation movies. As planned, the organisers allowed (only the first 25) participants, and we got going with the session.

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The participants were from a wide range of professions, age groups, and even geographical locations! Many had come for the KGAF specially from other states. The session was enjoyable for us, and also for them…as it looked like. Here are few videos of the flip books created by the participants:




Please visit our page for details!


 

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Congratulations: Padmashri Arvind Gupta

Extremely happy to know that Shri Arvind Gupta has been declared as a recipient of Padmashri for the year 2018! This is an apt recognition of this yogi  who has been an evangelist of science popularization among children, using the most unexpected commodity: trash! His ‘Toys from trash’, series has over 500 toys which can be made easily by learners (of all ages!), to ENJOY the science hidden in it. As he says always, ‘Don’t complicate the joy of playing with a toy by loading it with scientific principle, let the child discover it on their own’.

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He is a living legend, and I was fortunate to spend time with him at his lab at IUCAA, in Pune University! We had gone there to video shoot the toy making process and releasing them for hand held devices. During the shoot, (using our high-end cameras), he was inquisitive in knowing the medium, and diligently wrote down the technical specifications of the equipment.

Later, when we were back, we completed the post production and uploaded the videos. After a while, I saw that those videos had a healthy number of viewers. Excited, I mailed him a screenshot of the website. He sent me a link for his website, where he had created videos of over 200 toys, during that period, and the video aggregation website was showing a viewership more than 6 digits! Moreover, he did not forget to give credit to his team (Dr. Vidula and Ashok). That was an important lesson to learn!

“The best thing a child can do with a toy is break it” – Arvind Gupta

I requested him to speak a few lines in the film, where we wanted to show the ICT application for his website. He agreed immediately, and we decided to start the shoot. Before any other plan came up, he sat on the ground in front of his office, and said, ‘You can start, I am comfortable!’. Similar experience was when he visited us at our IIT residence. He was visiting the campus to accompany his daughter, who appeared for some exam, and the KVIIT was the center. I requested him to come home, instead of spending the entire time in the hot sun, and he agreed. He entered the house, and saw my daughter (7 year old that time). He instantly told us that he is going to talk ONLY to my daughter now. Literally, next 2 hours, he was showing all sorts of toy making to her, and both had a gala time.

My daughter learnt the ‘ship-and-cap’ story, and presented it every possible gathering! After one such successful ‘performance’, she actually wrote back to him and thanked him for teaching such nice story! He promptly responded! He also sent a DVD containing best animated films, when he learnt about Kaumudi!

Recently, I contacted him when I was leading a project in science popularization among speech and hearing disabled. We planned to create videos using the ‘sign language’, and chose Arvind Gupta Toys as the content. The power of science toys was once again evident, when we were showing the video to the science teachers!

Wishing him a healthy life!!!

 

 

Conference coming up: Appeal to researchers

icaltlogoThis post is an urgent announcement about an international conference coming up in July 2018. The 18th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies ICALT2018 is scheduled at IITBombay. This conference is an annual international conference on Advanced Learning Technologies Technology-enhanced Learning organized by the IEEE Computer Society and the IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology.

Since many teachers follow my blog, I take this opportunity to invite them to participate by submitting research papers on the exciting tracks of ICALT’18:

Track 1. Technologies for Open Learning and Education (i-OPENLearn)

Track 2. Adaptive and Personalized Technology-Enhanced Learning (APTeL)

Track 3. Wireless, Mobile, Pervasive and Ubiquitous Technologies for Learning (WMUTE)

Track 4. Digital Game and Intelligent Toy Enhanced Learning (DIGITEL)

Track 5. Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL)

Track 6. Big Data in Education and Learning Analytics (BDELA)

Track 7. Technology-Enhanced Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education (TeSTEM)

Track 8. Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL)

Track 9. Technology Enabled Learning of Thinking Skills (TELoTS)

Track 10. Technology Supported Education for People with Disabilities (TeDISABLE)

Track 11. Artificial Intelligence and Smart Learning Environments (AISLE)

Track 12. Augmented Reality and Virtual Worlds in Education and Training (ARVWET)

Track 13. Motivational and Affective Aspects in Technology-enhanced Learning (MA-TEL)

Track 14. Applications of Semantic Web technologies for Learning (SW-EL)

Please download the official call for papers here: ICALT2018_CFP

The story behind the pictures…

It was our anniversary on 29th November, and I wanted to use a nice picture to share with my friends. I was searching for a decent photograph of both of us, and I found a snap which was clicked by accident (See the picture on the left).  Savani had rejected the idea to click a picture with us few weeks back, and we were left with this!! I thought this could be a nice way to create a anniversary picture..and then came the savior: Adobe Photoshop.

I added the message and the relevant pictures on the notebook Savani was holding. However, my picture without glasses made me uncomfortable. Once again, used the Photoshop skills, and added a nice pair of glasses to make it complete (See the picture on the right):

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This triggered me for another spoof picture, and I added one more. This time I requested people to suggest text in the blank thought bubble shown in the picture. Thanks to all the friends who sent wonderful suggestions. These can be seen here. It was amazing to see similar concepts echoing in  different languages!!

Here is a a option I had created..!

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Thank you all for wishes and blessings!!

 

 

 

 

 

A full circle

img_0851.jpgIn 2007 I bumped into this free and open source 3D animation software Blender. It was one of my colleague Malathy Baru who told me about this since I was an animator. I did download and install, however I gave up very soon owing to a bizarre looking interface which was not allowing me to interact properly.  Worst was the object selection which is ‘right click’ in Blender, instead of the conventional practice of left click.

In 2008-2009 three passionate students (Karan Mulchandani, Priyam Mukhopadhyay, and Gokul Menon) came to me. They wanted to do  their undergraduate project in animation with me. I wanted to work in Blender, however did not have enough interest since I was alone. I challenged the students to learn basics of Blender in a weeks time and then come to me. To my surprise they did and as promised I had to guide their undergraduate project.

img_0845.jpgWe decided will explore Blender since it was looking interesting now. We did a project which conventionally would not have fit into the definition because we created a video  showing the scientific experiment of ammonia fountain. We also teamed up to create series of workshops to teach and popularise this wonderful software Blender.

Along with the initial set of three students and subsequent batches of students which kept on coming as a result of this first project we made it a practice to conduct workshops for Blender popularisation in colleges. Live just came in a full circle yesterday when two of my students conducted a full fledged Blender workshop for over 30 students at Raisoni University near Nagpur.

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The two students: Rohan Bang and Shubham Mundara used the videos available on the IIT Bombay X course. They added lots of hands on  on sessions for the benefit of the students.  The workshop was an instant hit and the students just loved the software.

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Rare opportunity!

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On 8th Nov, I had an excellent opportunity to share the podium along with none other than Padmashree Dr. Deepak Phatak. It was a webinar hosted by the Government of India as a prelude to the forthcoming global conference. The topic of the webinar was: accessible ICT, and Prof. Pathak had requested me to share my experience of interventions we had created recently in this domain.

I have presented to projects which I have work recently on. The first one is an animated tutor for learning Indian Sign Language (ISL) called as Fingerspelling. Five Summer intern students (Romeo, Tejas, Bhuvanesh, Suchismita, and Nitin who mentored them) worked relentlessly to create this useful intervention. Apart from the animation and the interactivity which goes in the creation of the application the students also visited a school where hearing and speech impaired students tested our product and found it useful. Please use the following links to know more about this app:

Online version | Downloadable version | Report

I also spoke about another interesting project I’m part of. It is a science popularisation and adoption initiative using ICT. We have chosen the pioneering work by Prof. Arvind Gupta (IUCAA, Pune). The team at Kintel Inc, led by Ashay Sahasrabudhe has created 50 videos using ISL. Jidnyasa Trust (Thane) has designed workshops for the faculty members of the special schools explaining the process of adopting these videos in the classrooms. Since, the final production is underway, I will provide the links soon.

Please share these projects with others so that they can access them.

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Birthday gift

img_9459.jpgWhen I first heard about Amazon Echo, I wasn’t sure of it’s usability and utility. However, it struck me, when I realised that Kaumudi’s birthday coincides with the release date of Echo in India, and I knew, it could be the best gift for her.

I placed the pre-order in Diwali, and was waiting for it to arrive for Nov 4th. Amazon didn’t disappoint at all, and the Echo was delivered right on 2nd Nov. I unpacked and set it up so that it was fully functional on 4th!IMG_9475

Now, some review: Echo is an amazing piece of technology, which gives a glimpse of what is coming up in future! It is a audio controlled device, where almost all settings can be controlled without moving from your seat! Just say ‘Alexa’, and the lights on the top  ring will start illuminating, and settle down, exactly in your direction! You then say the command, and Echo will immediately follow it. I am pleasantly surprised by the audio sensitivity of the microphones, and the lexicon for the India specific words.

We tried to test it by using words such as, ‘Geet Ramayan, Kishori Amonkar, and Bhajan’, and Echo doesn’t disappoint you! It DOES NOT support Indian language per se, however it can understand almost all Indian words. What amazed me was the pronunciation of Indian words, which is very natural as compared to many other auto readers such as Siri, Google, or Cortana.

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Kaumudi is still in the experimental mode adjusting with her new companion: Alexa, however, I can see that they will make a good pair!

Kaumudi just cannot think of working without a music track playing in the background, and Echo will provide it, without disturbing her hands, involved in creating the drawings! Happy Birthday Kaumudi!