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Week of 3/30-4/3

posted Mar 30, 2015, 4:47 AM by Michael Reilly
Robotics is over, Spring Break is next week, life is good!

My next thing:  build an electric vehicle for the Power Racing Series - http://www.powerracingseries.org/


This week we will start reviewing "big data".  What does that mean?  It relates to the massive amounts of information available, and the need to make sense of it.  From things like phone call records (estimated 6 billion people have access to a cell phone, only 4.5 billion have access to a toilet) to a self-driving car that takes in 1.3 million pieces of data per second, there is a LOT of data in the world!

We are going to use Google's "Making Sense of Data" course to understand "data" a little better.  Using your Google Apps accounts, we are going to use Fusion tables to learn to gather, read and understand data.

The course does have some videos on YouTube, but I have downloaded them, and put them into the Shared Drive (TechEd > Reilly > CSP) so you can see them.  They are not important, just informative and introductory.

Also, one weird thing about the the course:  they frequently put questions before the lessons, to make you think.  Don't worry about getting it wrong, we'll be doing other data things as exercises.
The course refers to a "certificate of completion".  They don't offer it anymore, just the free course.

We will be doing the Units during this week by Thursday, then the Final Project during the week after break, then our own quizzes.

For the Final Project, you should be using the questions listed in the Final Project 1 and 2.  We will do this a little differently though.  I will show you how to put Google Fusion Tables into your Chrome browser, and it allows you to search public data sources.  YOU need to find data, and do the following:
  1. Understand the "schema" - what does the data represent, and how is it organized?
  2. List some questions you think of when you see the data.  You might not find the answers, but you usually start with some kind of curiosity.
  3. Summarize the data in some way.  You probably need to play with this, and practice the things you've learned.  List things in order, create averages, create "buckets", and more.  Go back to the course, or go here for tips.
  4. Create some kind of chart about your data: bar charts, or scatter plots, heat maps, whatever you want. 
  5. After all of that digging, what information did you discover?  You don't have to answer your original questions, but did you?  Did you find something interesting that was not something you initially considered?
Type up your findings, capture your graphics, and put this onto your portfolio on a page titled "Big Data".  
Don't forget, a portfolio page should also have the story behind the assignment.  Like "We were asked to .... So, I decided to ..... What I found was...."

So, let's get going on Making Sense of Data!