Development of Interactive Science Learning Material

 
Project Objective
Tab-Based Interactive Science Laboratory for school’s Students.
The objective of this project is to use create an interactive science laboratory on the tab for the students in grade 3, 4, and 5 of the primary stage. The proposed application is supposed to help the students in such grades to implement and interact with the scientific experiments mentioned in their science books using augmented reality and graphics in a risk-free environment

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Problems Definition
Being citizens of third world countries, It has been heard since very beginning of life that getting high marks in school will ensure future & help in getting admission in faculties of universities that are of high demand. Moreover, it has been guaranteed with jobs after graduation. No scope for creativity, zero innovation & invention. Most people only concentrated on official jobs but they don’t think about development and interact much with nature. It is said as proverb that learning in childhood is similar to stone inscription that’s hard to be erased. The problem is that people are motivated wrongly since childhood & not knowing the main aim for education and learning. This is the main problem of third world countries that leads to the opposite direction of development. The problems remain as they were. The main aim for education and knowledge and learning is to use them properly to solve daily life problems, to have a better life by doing researches and make progress in natural science. In one word, to survive and live in this world it is obligatory to know about its nature and exploitation of it for existence. If children are motivated by this reason then there will be no excuses for aggravation. Moreover, interaction with nature is a great factor that can make big differences. As this application will be related to virtual lab interaction that satisfies the needs of the pupil of primary stage, so it is necessary to discuss about the importance of lab and lack of labs’ effect in Egypt. It’s proven scientifically that picture is the best way to memorize things. So lab is definitely the most suitable place to learn the most because everything here is real or can be seen. Moreover, as it has been mentioned before that anything learned in the beginning of childhood will be always remembered. For example, it’s seen that plant is guided by fences to grow it in one direction. So they grow up as strong rooted tree. Similar to plant, pupils of primary stage must be directed in this way. They must be given chances to attend lab in order to understand the natural science easily and in it’s way practically by interaction. So they will grow up as a well educated person. However, as Egypt is a third world country, labs can’t be provided in most schools because of lack of funding, intention etc. For that reason I am going to create virtual lab interaction application to help our primary stage’s pupils. So it’s time to figure out the reason of superiority of Western education.
Motivation of Western Science Related Education & It’s superiority
Western education is characterized by the right motivation for children with right direction and direct interaction with nature. It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. This proverb is well explained by Western education practically. For example, a person does something certain when he needs to do it or forced. If problems are on his way, then he thinks more creatively until he reaches to his destination. We as human beings work or solve our problems for only one purpose and that is our existence. Western education successfully penetrates through the logic of children with idea that you must or have to study or have enough education in natural science because of your survival. Moreover, with additional weapons such as lab for interaction with nature and creative stuffs that successfully encourages them to learn natural sciences. So Western (European) education leads its nation towards the path of continuous development.
Previous Work
Virtual lab interaction application is not a new idea to do projects on. There are many past projects that are presently in use by many research centers and universities. Followings are examples of projects that are widely used by many institutions.
The Virtual Lab Series
The Virtual Stickleback Evolution Lab has won several awards, including top honors in the Pirelli International Award competition, which recognizes it as the best multimedia products designed to use the Internet to educate about science and technology. BioInteractive’s series of virtual labs provides students with the opportunity to practice the skills and techniques of scientific research in a fully interactive, virtual environment.
Virtual lab online
Moreover, Virtual lab online applications is designed by Indian public universities under the governance of Ministry of Human Resource Development to support students and to ease the burden of problems.
Solution
Now it is obligatory to discuss about the proposed solution of problem. Before moving to the other points of analysis, it’s needed to conclude the point of problems or complains that because of poor education system that unsuccessfully delivers the aim or purpose of education, many students are forced to study subjects that are not in very need. Now, as it has been written previously that one of the main differences between two education systems is lab or interaction with the curriculum. The simple solution of our problem is building labs in schools. However, as this project is been done specifically about Egypt, this is almost impossible to be implanted. There are many reasons behind impossibility such as lack of funding in education field, lack of honest intentions etc. The main reason is the lack of honest intentions of government or in other words though it may have honest intentions, failure is always on their way because of implementation technique and future planning. Moreover, this is a long time process that can do nothing instantly for our problem. So it’s time to think for other alternatives. As in this part of project, the proposed solution is to create an Android application of virtual lab interaction. Virtual lab interaction application is where students of primary stage can do experiments on their Android tablets. Nowadays, tablets are in very affordable price and are very popular with middle class families. In very near future, tablets will be all over and in every one’s hand. Moreover, most of tablets are run by Android OS. So virtual lab interaction will be very useful to our students of primary stage. This application has many good features such as it’s environment is completely safe and doesn’t contain any hazardous or dangerous materials compared to real labs. Moreover, it’s user friendly interaction and easy movement of scientific materials eases the process of learning and saves time greatly compared to the real one. It’s must to be mentioned that I am going to add other features such as videos of experiments, puzzles and small quizzes. Moreover, whole the curriculum will be explained in very simple and organized way with animations and pictures and followed by small quizzes.
Interactive Science Laboratory Description & Properties
This application is similar to portable lab. It’s the virtual lab for tablets to handle experiments, simulate & analyze with different kind of lab tools.
Virtual Reality
In this application, it is possible to conduct real life experiments & it enables the parallax effect from different angles so users will get experience like a real lab.
Risk Free Conduct dangerous experiments without worrying about anything like breaking beakers or getting cut by broken glass.
Deeper Learning Utilization different label helps to get the precise mass, temperature, thickness and volume of each substance in holders.
Required Equipment
Language : java
Operating System : Android
IDE : Eclipse , Android Studio
Application Framework : libGDX
Timetable indicating the activities and their target dates

Phase

Time

Analysis

1 Month

Design

1 Month

Implementation

2 Month

Testing

2 Week

Documentation & Presentation

3-4 weeks

Activities Target Result
Analysis Phase
The Analysis Phase is where defines complete Strategical direction all over the tab-based interactive science laboratory project lifecycle & break down high level project needs to more detailed requirements. It’s required to gather requirements in this phase which simply asks at what is needed for this project. So analysis phase will identify gaps between reality and goals.
Design Phase
This design phase will identify architecture, blueprints & how the application looks like. The design phase shows how those functions will actually be implemented in the system. This phase will utilize gathered information of analysis phase. This is the phase where identify what the application needs, how to use it, how much current idea of application needs to change based on requirements. In this tab-based interactive science laboratory project design phase is going to have scenario & drawing of each experiments. It will explains every single details of each experiments, what will happen when users press button, how to interact with application etc. So it’s needed to be careful in design phase, as any flaw or error can lead a failure application.
Implementation Phase
After completing design phase it’s time to start implementation. So main focus of developing or actual coding will start in this phase. It will take the longest time in whole project. Basically for this tab-based interactive science laboratory application the core programming language will be java & special development application framework called libGDX. libGDX uses some third-party libraries to provide its functionality, these include Lightweight Java Game Library, OpenGL, FreeType, mpg123, Vorbis, SoundTouch Audio Processing Library, Box2D, OpenAL, and Kiss FFT etc.
Testing Phase
This phase provides information about quality of the application, ideally testing will exercise the system in all possible ways. It reveals bugs, detect flaws in application, identify logical error etc. The main goal is to evaluate the system as a whole, not its parts.
Documentation & Presentation Phase
It is the final phase which is going to take approximately 3-4 weeks. It’s needed to make presentation & write dissertation 70 – 80 pages which should contain abstract, methodology, results, conclusion, references.
Benefits & Advantages

No more lab required, just need a tablet.
Risk free so learning process is fast & fearless.
Hands on experience so student learn by doing experiments.
Every experiments add some new features with very interesting and user friendly interface & a lot of multimedia.
No complex setup or installation required.
Every experiments is like scenario of a story so the student will never feel bored & easy to understand. So this application teach them, help them in doing experiments , & test their capabilities of doing scientific experiments.
Generally student has

School Book – where they can only see experiments picture and imagine.
External Book – some extra exercise nothing more.
School Lab – limited time access & not risk free environment.

This application will implement the experiments more than once in a risk free environment, students are required to use them interactively & learn the experiments by themselves, this application is going to test students capabilities through some exercises and quiz’s & by this way it is possible to get all benefit without any disadvantages. At last it can be hoped & expected that tab-based interactive science laboratory project can serve primary level students well & students will get benefitted from this application.
Reference Lists

“Chemical Reactions.”Chemical Reactions. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.Retrieved from http://www.learningscience.org/psc3cchemrxs.htm
” And, Les.PHASE 7: TEST PHASE(n.d.): n. pag. Web.. Retrieved from http://doit.maryland.gov/SDLC/Documents/SDLC Phase 07 Integration and Test Phase Multiple Hardware.pdf
“Biochemistry and Molecular Biology EducationVolume 29, Issue 4, Article First Published Online: 10 OCT 2008.”Development and Evaluation of Virtual Labs and Other Interactive Learning Tools.Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1539-3429.2001.tb00108.x/pdf
Christou, Ioannis T., Thanassis Tiropanis, Sofia Tsekeridou, and Konstantinos Roussos. “Grid-based Interactive Virtual Scientific Experiments for Distributed Virtual Communities.”International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning20.6 (2010):Retrieved from http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/265273/1/LGH-book-chapter.pdf
“KET Virtual Physics Labs.”KET Virtual Physics Labs Blog Posts RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.Retrieved from http://virtuallabs.ket.org/physics/
“Lizard Evolution Virtual Lab | HHMI’s BioInteractive.”HHMI.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. Retrieved from http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/lizard-evolution-virtual-lab

 

Interactive Personnel Electronic Records Management System

Interactive Personnel Electronic Records Management System

 Previously, The United States Army handled all documents manually until technology was introduced allowing for convenient access to files electronically.  Now, the storing, developing, decision making, sending, and all other functions of a Soldier’s record are controlled within the Interactive Personnel Electronic Records Management System (iPERMS).  Within iPERMS contains the Army Military Human Resource Record (AMHRR), which further consists of the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), documents that are financially related, and other non-military related documents that can be used in the future, such as civilian education and technical certifications.  This system is used by official records custodians (ORC), which are given the authorization to grant iPERMS access to human resources personnel as the Record Manager (RM).  The RM is designated to assist Soldiers in reviewing, uploading, and removing documents into iPERMS.  The Soldier is responsible for delivering the proper documentation to the RM for updates regarding their records.  Additionally, Soldier’s will be responsible for ensuring their records are authenticated for consideration and selection for centralized promotion.  iPERMS has many characteristics, features, and impacts on the Army and the Soldiers who serve.

Characteristics of the Users of the System

The ORC is located at the Army Human Resources Command (HRC) and has access to all active and reserve component service members.  The ORC is responsible for granting access to unit administrators, with the proper documentation and training, as the RM.  Furthermore, the ORC has the role to processes the documents uploaded by unit administrators and serves them in customer service.  The RM, or unit administrator, is typically located at an installation’s military personnel division, or a unit’s brigade and battalion human resources department, also known as the S-1 (United States Army, 2014).  The roles of the RM include scan operator – the ability to scan and upload documents, authorized official – view-only access to the Soldier’s records to identify issues, and records manager – the purpose of conducting personnel and finance records reviews (United States Army, 2015).  The RM is the primary connection for communication with the ORC.  Additionally, the RM is responsible for any changes and updates to a Soldier’s record within his or her organization.  This includes but is not limited to reviewing records annually, uploading and removing documents as necessary, ensuring all documents are verified in accordance to regulation, and assisting in the process of consideration and selection of centralized promotions.  Another user of this system is the Soldier.  The Soldier is responsible for ensuring their records are updated in a timely manner by consistently monitoring and delivering the proper documentation to the unit administrators. 

Features and Usage of the System

In the Soldier’s perspective, iPERMS is an electronic file that contains records throughout his or her Army career.  As soon as the Soldier logs in to the system, they will be given a variety of functions regarding their record.  The most important menu option, in my opinion, is under the documents tab.  The documents tab provides the Soldier with their entire military history and contains subcategories which allows for easier searching.  The subcategories consist of a performance, service, medical, finance, deployment, administrative, and personnel records review tab.  If the Soldier needs to find a previous award, military or civilian school certificate, it would be listed under the performance tab.  The service tab contains the Soldiers initial and follow-on contracts they had signed along with any past investigations.  If the service member has any history of medical problems, it would be accessed under the medical section.  Also, any financial related documents such as basic allowance for housing or marriage certificate would be listed under the finance portion.  Once a Soldier deploys in support of an operation, such as Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, deployment orders are uploaded and stored into the deployment category of the Soldier’s record.  Frequently, Soldiers will violate an article under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and will receive punitive action in a summarized, company, or field grade article 15.  Once this process is completed, it will be stored in the administrative section under the documents tab in iPERMS.  Each document listed contains the title, name, date, and pages of the document.  Many of these documents are used, by HRC, to evaluate and determine suitable and qualified candidates for future assignments and promotions.

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In the perspective of the RM, iPERMS is, in addition to their own personnel file, a human resource database used to upload, store, and process a Soldier’s record to HRC for further decision making and output.  When an RM logs in to the system, they will be required to authenticate their access and the Soldier’s information they wish to assist.  First, the RM will have to scan the documents to their email, in TIFF format, and save it to the desktop.  Second, the Soldier’s Name, organization, and social security number or department of defense identification number will be inputted to assist the ORC in processing the documents.  The RM will click on a file document and will then be given the option to upload documents by batches.  Again, the files will need to be uploaded in TIFF for the process to be successful.  When each batch is uploaded from the desktop, a menu will appear requiring the title, name, and date of the document.  This is where the subcategories come into play when viewing a record.  Then, after the RM successfully uploads the batch for further processing, a batch number will be issued.  The batch number is used for following up on the process until the ORC has confirmed and verified the documents into the Soldier’s record.  Once the ORC has added the records into the Soldier’s file, an email will be generated and sent to the Soldier.  When the Soldier logs on to his or her AMHRR, the documents will be marked as new until that document is viewed (iperms-production, 2018).

Finally, in the perspective of the ORC, iPERMS is a human resources database used to identify qualified and unqualified Soldiers for selection and consideration for follow on assignments and promotions.  Some assignments require a record that is clean of negative evaluations and derogatory history.  Also, when competing for centralized promotions, this same information can be used to choose the best qualified. Once the RM has requested any changes to a Soldier’s record, the ORC will review and process the documents as needed, ensuring there are no duplicates, and everything meets the standards according to the regulation.

Impact of the System

When comparing how the Army processes its Soldier’s records today to the past, before technology, which consisted of typewriters, stacks of file cabinets, and mailing hard copies to HRC, the Army, as a whole, is saving a lot of time, money and effort.  Organizations no longer need to spend money on additional file cabinets due to inadequate space or postage and shipping fees when mailing documents to HRC for further processing.  Furthermore, with this system, each organization can save money on paper because there is no need to print each document in a Soldier’s record to store it.  Moreover, the unit administrator or the human resources professionals no longer has the obligation of spending hours scrubbing the files for documents that are obsolete or updated, which saves a lot of effort.  Also, instead of waiting days that it takes to mail a document from its point of origin to its destination, iPERMS allows for instant delivery to the next higher echelon, saving the Army time.  One negative impact the system endures is occasional down times.  Sometimes a Soldier will need to update their records in a timely manner for situations of importance however, the system will be down for maintenance causing the Soldier to miss his or her window of opportunity.  Another negative impact this system has is the delay it has from the time the RM uploads a document until the ORC finalizes it into the Soldier’s record.  Many times, a Soldier will wait months waiting for their records to post initiating a recurrence to the unit administrator often blaming them for the lack of competence.  This causes more time and effort because the RM will constantly have to spend the time to communicate with HRC and the ORC to figure out the reasoning of the delay. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, iPERMS is a human resource database that is used by the Army, which resulted from the use and development of technology.  The users of iPERMS consist of Soldiers who need to view their electronic records, RM who need to update and request changes to the Soldier’s record, and the ORC, who is responsible for processing the documents and requests the RM sends.  The documents in this system are uploaded by the RM and processed by the ORC, which is then used to consider the Soldier for future considerations based on performance and evaluation.  The documents in the Soldier’s records consist of both favorable and unfavorable documents or personnel actions.  iPERMS saves the Army time, effort, and money that is a direct result of the benefits of technology.  In addition to the positive impacts this system has, compared to the days before technology, this system contains a few negative influences as well.

References

Iperms-production.  (2018).  How to Search iPERMS from Soldiers View.  Retrieved from https://www.hrc.army.mil. 

United States Army.  (2014).  Army Military Human Resource Records Management.  (Army Regulation 600-8-104).  Washington, DC:  Headquarters, Department of the Army. 

United States Army.  (2015).  Army Military Human Resource Record Management.  (Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-8-104).  Washington, DC:  Headquarters, Department of the Army.