This blog post is about my recent event (https://reps.mozilla.org/e/wot-footprintsx6/) at Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, Baroda’s Techfest (FootPrints X6). It was really a great opportunity for me to organize first workshop (of huge participation of 130 people) on Connected Device track after the recent announcements at LS Singapore. Workshop was held on 2 days on 20th and 21st Feburary, along with this we had live booth by Mozilla India (Gujarat Community) for all 3 days where we explained attendees about Internet Privacy and FSA Program. The Fest had participation of more than 20,000 students from state of Gujarat and all nearby places.
Being one of the third largest and most known technical fest of country, they have also been winners of GUINNESS RECORD and LIMCA RECORD in past years.
The workshop with footprints was planned since November when Shreyas (not so sure) passed it to nearest rep. At that time i was the nearest rep and i began with proceedings and discussion, during LS Summit i discussed with John, and he was really very happy and supportive to know about this. Thanks John.
This time, out of all the attraction of fest, the major and unique ones were Henry Throop (Senior Research Scientist(PSI), New Horizon Mission NASA); Meetul Patel, (General Manager, MICROSOFT-INDIA); Roel Vertegaal, (Inventor Of Samsung Smart-Pause Technologies); Chris Korn, (The Illusionist) and of-course Mozilla (represented by us). This was really a big opportunity for me to represent a huge brand like Mozilla on this platform where i had super renowned and experienced people from different domains. This indeed made me feel proud and this was the very moment i again realized the power and value of open source, when Mr Throop took his phone out for having a snap with we team members. After a good discussion in rest lounge he was really inspired and equally interested to know more about our work and dedication towards Mozilla
Due to delay in trains (because of weather) we were late to reach Baroda and got late to inaugurate the booth, but somehow we managed to start the booth by 12 PM on 19th of February. The Mozillians team from Gujarat was really helpful and coordinating and made it possible to handle a huge crowd that our booth experienced just after an hour of inauguration. Attendees were so excited to know about the FSA program and the privacy tips and trics, as they had never experienced any thing with open source and these things were really new and eye catching form them. Within three days we were able to recruit around 300 FSA’s and explained about privacy and open source to around 1500 people (most of them belonging to technical domain).
On the next day we were supposed to kick start the workshop, for which we did a last moment planning till late in night (me, Ram and Dipesh were working on robot once again till 3 AM to make sure we face no problem next morning).
Then came the most awaited moment, as soon as we entered the hall where workshop was supposed to be conducted we saw 130+ people waiting for us, super excited and all glittering faces. we were really happy to see 100% attendance. We then started with quick activity to make every one feel more relaxed and more comfortable during the entire workshop and just to make them feel more friendly so that they can ask more and more doubts without any hesitation.
We then started with distributing Kits for the workshop which were prepared by footprints, and I started with Mozilla Introduction followed by the Introduction to new track called Connected Device and Web of Things and how they work in real life. By this time students had a good idea of the things to be covered in workshop and were all geared up to start. We did a small check on the educational background of attendees and we found :
Most of them were not handy with programming , few were non IT people so had least idea of how such things work and most of them were the beginners of IOT.
Taking this thing into consideration we started from scratch and tried to level up every time we came to next step. There was no time when we left someone behind while giving talks or demos or doing hands on as this was really a complex topic for them and after every hour or so we did a small feedback round to see that every one was getting what was delivered by us.
Later Dipesh took the mike and me, Ram, Teja and all team members were helping all students to assemble the components of Bot, to make it easy to understand and easy to make, we prepared a slide show with the same kit and used pictures of assembly step by step. This made it very easy for students to make the bot. By the end of the first half hardware assembly of Bot was done and we moved out for lunch breaks. Later after resuming workshop we started with doing connections and testing hardware assembly.
It was really fun to see all assemblies were correct and there was no team who couldn’t make what was being taught. After this came coding part for hardware. We gave demo on Arduino IDE using led blink programs and asked students to code for bot. To the ones who face difficulty we shared the code for entire bot and asked them to practice once they go home. Workshop’s day one was winded up by 6PM and we then had a small community meetup.
Again a beautiful start to workshop, with almost all of them wearing a customized tee (with Firefox logo saying web of things and Footprints logo) which was a part of kit.
We began with doing a quick feedback for previous days workshop, doing a recap of things we did last day and making sure everyone had no more doubts or any problems in understanding what was taught.
After this Ram gave an awesome presentation on Internet of Things, now when students knew how IOT works in real life they were very excited and interactive with this session. In the presentation Ram talked about real life problems and IOT solutions. On previous day we talked about Reps Innovation Fund in Mozilla and asked students to pitch their ideas on next day which can be latter submitted to Mozilla. We got some really cool ideas out of which few were recorded (find below). This gave an idea that people actually understood what was being taught and our mission was successful.
On day 1, we hacked only two sensors the Sonar and the IR, today we gave them demo of how proximity sensor works for phones using Web IDE and FXOS Flame device. Later we also showed them how to change FxOS layout by changing codes in there brwsers WebIDE. This gave them more strong idea of how IOT works, when they saw us controlling phones UI with web browser on our PC machines. Later we gave students a demo to control bots using wifi module and their browser, this part we saved for today instead of doing it on day one and the reason was to let students research more and know more of how things work when they were home on first day.
With the live demo we shared a material which had tutorials to implement wifi in their bots and the only reason we did not shared codes or helped them hand to hand was to make them do by themselves and learn more how are things done. All the students were cooperative and tried doing by themselves. Asking them to do by themselves would help them to hack more on their kits and make more innovative projects in future.
After this came Dipesh with demo on raspberry pie, fxos on raspberry pie and some of projects he had made with pie. This gave students an idea of what exactly is the difference between these variety of open hardware available in market and which one can be used for which purpose.
Later after this i gave a talk on web privacy and gave them a demo on Light beam, they were really amazed to see the actual websites tracking them as they had never saw any such tool before and lastly we completed with detailing about FSA program and introducing them to Mozilla Gujarat.
We asked them to also fill feedback forms after the workshop and tweet us using #footprintsIOT , we were really glad to see 99% positive feedback, with majority rating us 4+ out of 5 and few of them submitted ideas also using hashtags.
It was really a great experience for me personally to conduct the second workshop in state if Gujarat (first one was last year at Ahmadabad where me and Mrinal started Gujarat community and i was amazed to see how much they grew in one year. from presence in one city to entire state)
- Hosted a booth at a platform where we could advertise Mozilla between 20,000+ people. [Branding and Promotion]
- We were every where in promotional items as a sponsor for tech fest in form of workshop associate.[Branding and Promotion]
- Event was done is least possible budget as travel, stay and other miscellaneous expenses were taken care of by Fest itself. [Low Budget]
- We recruited more than 200 FSAs on booth and we got more than 20 request by attendees in feedback form to join as a Mozillian and serve to Mozilla, over 50 people were explained to more about Mozilla culture and could be potential contributors as they were interested to know about different domains of Mozilla’s contribution. [Community Development]
- First grand workshop on IOT was super successful with more than expected metrics were achieved. [Connected Devices]
- We gave a talk on web, web literacy, web privacy and open source to all attendees of workshop. Thereby producing 130+ web literates. [Web Literates]
- We had 100% attendance in workshop. [participation]
- Showed demo of private browsing, do not track feature and etc on Firefox Browser at booth thereby inspiring people to download Fx. [Marketing]
- We created super awesome buzz on social media with #footprintsIOT in last few days. [Branding and Promotion]
Since this workshop was very first of its kind and size , it was really hard and time taking to manage things initially but somehow we worked well and gave positive outcomes at both the ends, students and Mozilla. With this experience there were few things that i learnt and would like to share for my other Mozillians, which might help them in their workshops too!!
- Few students were not friendly with coding and related stuff, it was really tough to gear them up initially to code, and for the ones who were even below the beginners level we have to pass them codes. // I would recommend if we can do initially screening of attendees first, it would be helpful to conduct workshop without much hurdles. as programming plays a key role in working with such open hardware.
- Not everyone is able to purchase such kits and thus this leads to a barrier for some to participate. // we can ask students to come in teams where cost can be divided and shared amongst teams.
- Not everyone belongs to same educational and technical background, when people saw Mozilla as organizing brand they had bit higher expectations but as per the talks with organizing committee of footprints, majority of students did not had much technical knowledge so we were supposed to start from scratch and help them till getting to a beginner level. // out of all feedbacks only one was slightly negative or less than average saying they had more expectations from Mozilla in this workshop, so its really important to notify during registration the level of workshop. Although it was mentioned on Footprints website , but few attendees missed to read it.
- Last and most asked question was “What has Mozilla to do with IOT or WOT, they have always been working on software products related to internet, why Hardware now?” and i replied the name has it all, Mozilla has been always working for upliftment and betterment of Web / Internet be it in form of software, hardware, policies ,etc and Web of Things is next big thing in Digital World so its our next target!
- We strongly need some teaching content or resources or maybe some metrics on portal to go through to cross check success of our workshop !!
P.S. Special thanks to Mentor (umesh), Council and John Bernard for there kind support in success of this event.