'15-'16 Sending Binary Messages with the Internet Simulator


Use this as a space to record your feedback and questions about this lesson.


Thinking about assessing the pairs simulator in this lesson: I will probably create a simple check-off form so that each pair of students can assess another pair to see if they were able to successfully transmit their binary message. I have used peer grading successfully in the past, and it will probably be more efficient than me trying to visit every pair.


I had difficulty with this simulator when we did it during the summer PD. But now that I have read through the lesson more carefully and designed it with my online students in mind, I think it will be a great learning experience for them.


These lessons, ‘Sending Binary Messages’
Lesson 2-5 can be chunked together in that they can be delivered once, so that
students can understand the concept-especially 2 and 3 with a ‘binary’ answer
and then with multiple answers. I think, it would be a good idea to redo them,
once the students had a chance to do the Internet Simulator part of the lesson,
4 and 5; and see if they can come up with a more efficient way of delivering
the ‘binary’ message. Some students might just do the same thing they did before,
but I think that some will come up with a more detailed protocol and a better
way of doing the lesson.

I think a lot of these lessons might
need to be assessed, so that students get a better understanding of the
concept. I would then have students trade off partners and see if their
protocol and then their responses are efficient, or a total mess. This way
students can see what they create actually works, and if it does not, where
some of the weaknesses might lie.


These chunk of lessons are confusing the first time around for me and they would be for the students too. So multiple rounds may be necessary. I feel this will all start to make better sense when they get into the next part when they will start sending textual and numerical messages using the internet simulator. So I’m not sure how much we need to focus on the assessment. According to me the key idea for students to get is that information is sent out as 0s and 1s and communication devices need to standardize protocols to understand each other. This is what I would assess them on.


How can I start simulator for students? We did this activity in-person meeting, not able to start simulator now.


I think I may have some sort of test message or have peer evaluations as a type of informal assessment of this lesson. Also, what is the purpose of the “weather vane” activity?


I am looking forward to this lesson. We were successful in using the simulator this summer. I am interested in seeing how the students work out the timing for sending bits so they can successfully transmit messages to each other. As for assessment… I don’t know that I will do much of an assessment beyond the online questions at the end of the unit. Those will show if they understand how timing effects the message.


In the fourth part of stage 1 of this PD there is an explanation of how to get it to work if you are trying it on your own without multiple individuals.


I’m trying to understand how the Message Exchange Challenge works. Do all the pairs go at once and whoever yells “Stop” first wins? Or do you do time trials?


This activity was a little confusing during the PD. All the pairs go at once, but a pair can only see their own connection. I would not have it be a competition as it will take time for the students to discover that the whole point of the lesson is to develop a protocol where timing is involved.


The weather vane activity does not seem to be part of the current version of the lesson, which you can find here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ugzY_KQjs6UlmmbNN7Jnoim3Cf5c7Vog-4ucRjBYLpo/edit#heading=h.oyfp2j9ggn9k

I think those one page previews in the second bubble of Stage 3 (in the PD) are not quite up to date…


I think I will do this lesson over two days. I’m thinking day 1 will be the colored line case study that I will be packaging into my own slideshow with some prompts and journaling/discussion. I will then let the students just mess around in the widget with zero input, THEN show the tutorial video, and have them start developing their protocol. The following day they will refine it and maybe compete to see what pairs can successfully send the quickest. We’ll wrap with the online checks for understanding in Code Studio and discuss answers if time allows.

I’m going to make copies of the Activity Guide worksheets for this and other lessons in Google Classroom, and have students complete and return them digitally there. Very excited to be using gClass for the first time, as it seems so easy to use with all the materials for this course already in gDocs. I’m sure there will be some hiccups, but I’m pretty confident it will work well and help my and the students’ workflow.


I like the simulator in this lesson because it explains a bit rate without using the word bit rates.


I think that many students might initially be frustrated or be afraid to really explore the simulator and I am looking forward to seeing how they respond. I also plan to be hands-off on this activity to a degree to allow them to explore and start getting comfortable with exploring simulators since they will be working with them regularly. I think many students are afraid to make a mistake or be wrong and this is a great opportunity for them to start getting comfortable with that.

I do plan on assessing this by walking around the room and having pairs show me that they can communicate and I also want to look at their protocols and have them share with other pairs and see if they are able to successfully communicate with the other groups protocols.


Unit 1 very much reminds me of the novel, “Catch 22”. The Unit like the novel continuously circles around the same topic going deeper into the matter each time. The initial passes through the material will lead to frustration and apparent failure. And I think it was designed to do so. Lessons 1 thru 5 present more or less impossible situations, discover working communication protocols in a single 50 min period. The failure needs to be accepted by the students and it is the teacher’s responsibility to smooth the sting of failure and not let it lead to a frustrated turn off. The goal seems to be an appreciation of the complexity of digital data transmission. It is necessary that that goal be keep forefront for the students. They are not being asked to develop sound solutions to the problems the transmission but simply to become aware of the problems and that solutions have been developed for the problems they have wrestled with.


Lesson four brought about many questions and ideas. Students have grasped the term binary and bit. I did show the video about the tool first even though I was afraid it would give up too much information. However students were still actively engaged and trying to tweak their protocols. In fact, they jumped right in and I heard, “just send me a message and lets go from there” many times. They tried guess and check, refinement, guess and check again, until their protocols were completed. I actually had to work with a student because I had a class of 23, now 24. At the beginning of the lesson, I did use the warm up tool with the image and A and B states, then the second image with more clarification of the A and B states. Some students struggled with this, however, I challenged them to prove their solutions and provide justification for their decoding. They then began to argue why some believed the long bar was AAA instead of soley A. Overall, this was an awesome lesson. The warm up lead students into thinking…HOW do we know? And that we see the state of the wire at that time so if we do not time the sending of the message, we may read the message incorrectly. I still believe I have psychic powers and just know. :O)


It may be helpful to have the students write down as many steps as they can think of for sending a written letter from VA to CA, for example. Afterward, students can identify the similarities and differences between sending/receiving physical information vs digital information.


I think this lesson will go somewhat like the PBJ did in the ECS course. Students will write their protocols and of course test them and find they have problems. It is that discovery of ‘oops’ and how are we going to fix this that is fun. However, instead of them testing their protocols, I am thinking I will have them exchange their protocol, unfixed, with another group who needs to find the possible errors and provide written suggestions back on how to fix things, as a way of determining an assessment/grade of the groups.


I totally agree with bhatnagars! This chunk of lessons has been really confusing to myself and the students. Some are giving up already! I’m really struggling here!! The kids think it’s boring and want me to make it “more fun”.