CIT – Teaching and Learning Technology Conference 2012

Posted by in Events, Technology

As I entered the ballroom, I caught my coworkers debating over making last minute changes to a poster that hadn’t been printed out right. As active as they always are, their improvising instincts kicked in and made the best use out of the available resources and we all jumped in and geared up for our presentations after the keynote speech. A few minutes later, Tony Hartshorn shows up with all his exciting equipment. He claimed his booth and began unravelling all the wires before he took the equipment out and set them up on the table. Andreas, with a smile on his face whispered, I wonder how many times a month Tony gets arrested for his equipment. The joke instantly registered in my brain and we both cracked up, reminding me once again why it’s so nice to work with geniuses who has good sense of humor – they do a great job in both entertaining and enlightening me. Once set up, Tony now with a smile on his face, said to me, “Sufi, I know you’re interested to blow into it, but let’s also see who else I can get to blow into it”.

Tony Hartshorn is an Environmental Science professor here at James Madison University. For the last few months, CIT had been working with him to display live-tracking of CO2 readings to demonstrate Harrisonburg “Keeling curve”. We are to display and archive hourly the carbon dioxide concentrations outside Memorial Hall. Andreas wrote a nifty python script to generate the data and store them on a JSON file, while I wrote a script in PHP to display the data through an interactive and intuitive graph using Google flot.

The equipment he brought to the conference was a device to measure the CO2¬†concentration in the room, and to show readings when people blew hot air into the sensors that fed data into a device connected to a computer to generate live graphs. Mine was about 10,000 PPM. “Wow Sufi, you’re just full of hot air”, uttered the enthusiastic professor. While I certainly felt terrible contributing that much of Carbon¬†Dioxide¬†into the air, Tony was quick to fill us all in about how we can help the environment by being mindful about our activities and the environment instead of stop breathing to help the environment. And while Tony was explaining all these nifty details, I just couldn’t stop paying a lot of attention to the way he was enthusiastic about his work. I have always admired people who are passionate about their work, and I must say, he just goes beyond admirable to respectful for me.

I didn’t get to stick around till the end of the conference to see who won the IPad that was being given away. But the presentation went successfully, despite the initial glitches. It was a good learning day for me as it was a day of making successful impromptu presentations!

To contrast with how much CO2 concentration I had in my breathe, here is the current CO2 concentration near Memorial Hall, Harrisonburg, VA.

And here is this week’s (October 3-7) graph:

Keeling Curve October 03 - 07