Online PD Unit 5 Online PD Discussion: Explore Challenge


Use this space to talk about the Online PD you’ve done with the Explore Task


Wow ! I really enjoyed this performance task. Why ? Because it allowed me to do research on two of my favorite subjects. Medicine and technology. I decided to pick the topic of a medical device I used to follow called the digital angel. It was an implementable medical chip for humans that what was supposed to allow data about their health to be transmitted to a call center. The benefits from this are quite obvious. You could tell before hand if someone is close to a heart attack, stroke, or other medical problems before they become critical. It also would allow for gps tracking which would be fantastic for disheartening children, Alzheimer patients etc.

After researching several sources I found out that the original device with its monitoring capabilities is no longer being sold in the US or elsewhere. Perhaps because the ethical risks out way the tremendous potentials.

A new descendant chip called the Q inside safety device is being used now however. It allows implantable medical devices to share data about their warranty, lot #, and serial number, etc. after I did research on several sites including the FDA itself, I found out that FDA type 1 devices have been increasing in recalls trends for many years. (see my chart).

That means that although the Q insert does not do all the things digital angel did, it can still save thousands of lives in its own right.

Hopefully down the road we can satisfy the ethics issues of a full scale implantable chip as it has the potential to save millions of lives and protect our children from kidnappers,

A GPS model only is available for pets which is wonderful. But most of us would agree that our own health and the safety of our children supersedes our pets.

FDA Class 1 Recalls.pdf (166.9 KB)


I also agree with Robert about doing research on two of our favorite subjects, medicine and technology. I researched a new medical device that is implemented as a tiny pill to monitor vital signs from deep inside the body. Other, less complex devices are being used in humans to monitor vital signs but each one of those can monitor only one measure at the time. The new pill package monitors three at once. It includes a microphone, a thermometer and a battery with a long enough life to pass from mouth to rectum of whatever large mammal it’s traveling through. As it moves, tugged by the same forces that take food through the digestive system, one component gathers temperature, while a miniature microphone acts as a stethoscope, transmitting a recording of the heart and lungs to a wireless device that translates it into heart rate and respiratory rate.

After two football players died of heatstroke in 2001, some sports teams caught on to the technology. The devices have been used to keep NFL athletes from heatstroke and to protect firefighters and military personnel from reaching dangerous core temperatures. The
process began in 2006 as research collaboration from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Now we are in a new phase where the health care field can benefit as these tiny monitoring pills become mainstream and health data is shared with the doctor. It could make the difference between health and death.

The ethical and security risk factors with the vital signs monitor pill are not as big as with the implantable medical chip for humans because it is not permanent and only stays in the body for 24 hours. Right now, one of the biggest challenges keeping these devices from larger acceptance is “the ick factor.” There is no a lot of acceptance for something that you can just swallow. But eventually the ick factor will go away. Another problem is that the device is expensive; each one cost about $50 and not meant to be reused because it is in one end and out the other. Finally, little is known about possible harmful effects of the new monitoring pill and as part of the procedural approval, a “Notice of Compliance with Conditions,” which requires companies to carry out systematic studies after the pill is approved for marketing.

In the near future, when you visit your doctor, you might hear a new twist on an old cliché: “Take this ingestible computer pill, and the pill will e-mail me in the morning.”

Physiologic Status MonitoringPill.pdf (391.5 KB) writtenReport.docx (17.7 KB)


Wow! Medical and technology seems to be the trend! Here is my explore task:

Problem: Can a fitness tracker determine when you’ve had a stroke?
Solution: Reveal exactly when a spike in hear rate occurred and was abnormal.
Details: There are a lot of people with undiagnosed heart disease. Can wearing a heart rate monitoring device, detect patterns of cardiovascular risk, that suggest heart attack or stroke?
Purpose: These devices have something significant to offer, because patients who are aware of their risk for heart disease may be more likely to seek medical care. Intelligent algorithms that can interpret heart rate information will provide insights that will transform disease prevention strategies.
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Joining the trend of medicine and technology, I chose to study the use of big data in the field of genomics. Genomics is a set of genetic material in an organism; the knowledge of the genetic material in humans has made it possible for science to determine the likelihood of diseases in humans. By acquiring knowledge of the genes, medical research has found ways to personalize treatment of diseases in a manner previously unknown or unsought. Also using big data has helped reduce the fraudulent techniques usually pursued by drug companies and resulted in transparent clinical data and decision making.
A number of websites helped in this explore challenge; a few of them are listed here.

    Considering this topic, the knowledge of genomics can lead to better health and prevention in the generations to come.
    Here is the artifact I created for the Explore Challenge!425&authkey=!AKzIA7ivFQG7V8w


This PT took a little over 2 hours but it was enjoyable to learn more about compression.

Click the link to read my write-up for the Explore Performance Task.


I actually enjoyed learning about the process in better understanding how Cloud Computing effects all aspects of business and professional life. How cloud computing has really expanded not only the use of the Internet, but also the way in which people interact with each other. Without cloud-computing, the use of medicine and technology (as an example) could not be as expansive as it is now. Without it, there can be no wireless hot-spots, Wi-Fi, even communications. It not only enhanced those services that exist as we know it today, but it opens up a wider range of services in the near future.

No longer do we have to have a physical line to interact, it can be done, anywhere and in any region of the
world (almost). My next guess as to how cloud computing will enter in to the later part of this century, is through satellite and spectrum transceivers. Cloud computing as we know it today, will transform into a more robust and reliable service, taking the place of the way in which information is not only sent, but
also stored. Making it much more reliable in both transmission and in security. When this happens, it will transform our personal and business infrastructures to the point that wires will be completely erased, or at least greatly reduced, and high energy consuming physical servers (might be) eliminated.Gil Luna Unit 5 Perfomance Task.docx (20.7 KB)


It was very beneficial to go through the PT process. I chose to study wearable technology with the reason that I knew nothing about the technology. That ended up being a mistake as I spent too much time researching as the topic was very interesting. I have a much better understanding of what the students will encounter as they complete their PT next year (I didn’t teach CSP this year but will next year). Unit 5 Perfomance Task.docx (24.6 KB)


I definitely enjoyed this Performance Task. It engaged me in a new way which I believe the students will benefit from. I was able to research an interesting topic which I believe will make a big impact in the future. See attached for my work.

AnthonyCompetiello-PT5.docx.pdf (221.8 KB)


I would have to say that completing this Explore challenge was an eyeopener. For me it was deciding how I wanted to present the material and what I wanted to convey in the artifact. I see some students having a challenging time deciding on what to do.

Here is the link to my video

Here is the link to my document that I started. RFID.pdf (82.1 KB)


Cyber Security for High Schools
Last year I did have the opportunity to attend a workshop about Cyber-security. The topic was an excellent introduction that I used to work with my students to create a needed awareness of these kinf of attacks.
On a recent SAN’s white paper, written by Dave Shackleford, he present the following statistics on a few cyber attacks with the most recent ones to the following corporations:

  • Target Brands lost 110 million customer records, and credit and debit
    card numbers due to hacking of point-of-sale and other systems by
    attackers using sophisticated malware in December 2013.

  • Anthem was hacked, leading to loss of 78.8 million records that
    included personal data and Social Security numbers (announced in February

  • Experian announced a breach of 15 million T-Mobile customer records in October 2015.

We know that not all the cyber attacks are oriented to large corporation, but any one of us can be a victim. Simple attacks such as virus, or phishing attacks, can create serioud problems to our security and safety. People can still our identities, commit frauds, steal our bank accounts, and many other malicious activities. And many times we do not realize about them until is too late.

On both of my computer courses, Exploring Computer Science and Computer Science Principles, I always introduce these important toppics to all of my students. We live, and depend in our electronic communications, is part of our daily DNA of activities. But this demand for electronic access, it also posses a risk for unauthorized people to access our privacy.
To create this awareness, I access several reliable sources such as National Security Agency (NSA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) , SANS and a few of other reputable sources that we can rely to use with our students.

For instance, Department of Homeland Security has very important information regarding the Social Media for Students:

  1. Remember, there is no ‘Delete’ button on the Internet. Think before you post, because even if you delete a post or picture from your profile only seconds after posting it, chances are someone still saw it.
  2. Don’t broadcast your location. Location or geo-tagging features on social networks is not the safest feature to activate. You could be telling a stalker exactly where to find you or telling a thief that you are not home.
  3. Connect only with people you trust. While some social networks might seem safer for connecting because of the limited personal information shared through them, keep your connections to people you know and trust.
  4. Keep certain things private from everyone. Certain information should be kept completely off your social networks to begin with. While it’s fun to have everyone wish you a happy birthday, or for long-lost friends to reconnect with you online, listing your date of birth with your full name and address gives potential identity thieves pertinent information.
    Other things to keep private includes sensitive pictures or information about friends and family. Just because you think something is amusing does not mean you should share it with the world.
  5. Speak up if you’re uncomfortable. If a friend posts something about you that makes you uncomfortable or you think is inappropriate, let him or her know. Likewise, stay open-minded if a friend approaches you because something you’ve posted makes him or her uncomfortable. People have different tolerances for how much the world knows about them, and it is important to respect those differences. Also report any instances of cyber bullying you see.
    The following links provide a good source material appropriate for teachers to be used with High School students:
    One of the most critical support we can provide to our students is about Cyber-bulling. You can see from the graph on the attached word document where these attacks happen.

Here are the links to the document as well to a power point presentation showing some posters to be used in classCyber Security.pdf (105.5 KB)
Cybersecurity Schools Posters Sample.pdf (91.1 KB)


I enjoyed exploring Autonomous vehicles. I felt that a good resource is the ACM Tech News. There was an article “The top 10 emerging technologies of 2016” as a starting point. I have also found the MIT Technology review as another excellent resource. My school is located near MIT and many innovative technology companies and encouraged students to take advantage of meeting and interviewing people involved in the technology they plan to explore. I spent a lot of time researching and did not get a chance to create an artifact. My students spent a lot of time researching as well. Many of my students created infographics for their artifact. I would love any resources that anyone has for creating infographics. Here is a sample infographic:


Here is the link:


Do you know if students can use pivot tables or charts as the visualization artifact? We just got done with Unit 2 Lesson 15 and students are made to add charts to this practice PT. However, though the practice PT for this section reads like the Explore PT, it never says that you can use charts in the actual Explore PT. It seems that it would be a natural fit. Especially after studying data so extensively using charts.


Not sure. I will ask the team and get back to you.


Hey there,

You can absolutely use pivot tables and tables or charts as your computational artifact in the Explore PT. Many students will come into this course knowing how to make other artifacts that would meet the requirements of the Explore PT, but if we were going to spend the time to teach one this felt like the most universally applicable. You should reinforce this fact with your students and from the sounds of it perhaps we should reinforce this fact in those lessons.