Timeline Spring 2018

Timeline for Appropriate Technology, Spring 2018. Activities subject to change. Please check 24 hours before class.
See the 2015 Reading Questions

Week 1:
Monday: Personal Introductions, Introduction of Focus Groups, prepare for Red Tag Shop Test.

  1. Please prepare for the Red Tag Test so that you can go into the shop. No anxiety – it’s not hard. But you must prepare. Please go to this site, then: Sign up for the course, read the info, watch the video, take the quiz, and then sign the waiver.
  2. Read about the different projects on the main class website, and do some research on anything that particularly interests you. Please come to class ready to identify two projects that you are interested in and why.
  3. Read the syllabus on the main class website so you know what to expect from the class and how you will be graded.

SHOP (6:00 PM Monday or 8:00 AM Tuesday): For just this first week, meet for shop at the hangar shown in attachment below. Make sure you wear long pants and close toed shoes. All subsequent shop classes will be in Bonderson (197).


Wednesday: Learn about our Collaborators

  1. Learn about AidAfrica: http://www.aidafrica.net/and reading what they do and watching the short video.
  2. Read about Kuyere! at their website, and see the first and third videos under “videos”.
  3. Please read about the winners of the USAID award, and then read about the rest of the awards.
  4. Research more about a project you’re interested in. Please spend at least half an hour on this.
  5. Please create an account for this wikispaces website with username: “firstname_lastname”, such as mine: Pete_Schwartz
  6. Some information about the projects: We’ll try to have everyone in a project by Wednesday of Week 2.
  7. If you missed the Red Tag Test, please follow the online enrollment protocol located above #1 for Monday’s class prep. There will be more red tag tests week 2, Monday and Wednesday at 9:00 AM.

Week 2
Monday: We hope to define project groups

  1. Please sign up for one or two projects that interest you, and research them. Be prepared to explain why you are interested in the one(s) you choose.
  2. Please read about the collaboration we have with Aid Africa. Please see this video about our project developing an improved cookstove for implementation in Uganda. If that link doesn’t work, please try this. If you are interested to know more, you can read the entire scientific paper here.
  3. Please read Lauren Wilcox: Tech Design,
  4. Please read Schumacher: Small is Beautiful
  5. See this video and think about what it means to be creative: TED: Gever Tulley, My daughter and I went to his camp four years ago.
  6. Start our first self intervention. Go to the self intervention page (link on main website) and begin saving your trash, recyclables, and compostables.
  7. Hey, remember speaking about the carbon cap and trade? Please see the Email I received from PG&E today. Please be prepared to tell me what this means.
  8. Interested in volunteering in Peru, building small scale wind power? This might also be something for the wind group to follow up.

We meet this week at Bonderson (see below).


Meet in front of the library to walk together to the SEF, Student Experimental Farm


  1. Please note how I’ve updated the projects on the main class website. Most students put their cell phone numbers down as contact information. I think Email would be more appropriate. I personally don’t want my cell phone number public. Please do what you think most appropriate, but I recommend not having phone numbers.
  2. Don’t Throw Anything Away! and log your week-long saga on our Self Intervention Webpage
  3. Think about working in groups and see: IDEO, Rapid Prototyping
  4. Please read Bill Gates Drinks Poop Extract
  5. see this video: How I make a new Webpage

By midnight, Sunday night, April 15: Establish your group’s website, complete with a picture of your group having fun.

Week 3
Peggy Papathakis talks about Efforts in Malawi.

  1. I started on my entry for the self intervention – link on the main class website. Please log your experience, and provide a picture.
  2. Most students put their cell phone numbers down as contact information. I think Email would be more appropriate. I personally don’t want my cell phone number public. Please do what you think most appropriate, but I recommend not having phone numbers.
  3. Read about Peggy’s work that won her the Cal Poly Distinguished Scholarship Award.
  4. Video of teen Mom Lyna.
  5. Video of Mary Rath, teen mom.
  6. MamaChiponde Study Video
  7. && Please take this short survey before class. && = Participation (not performance) will be counted toward final grade.
  8. Please read Reduction in Child Mortality
  9. Please read about eating caterpillars in Burkina Faso
  10. Webpages: Please connect your webpage to one link in the left hand column of the table on our main class website. For example as the “Food Containers” group did. If there is already a website linked with random stuff that I provided, please put this material elsewhere, possibly connected somewhere in your website or to the middle column of your entry on the project table.

Wednesday: Decision Matrices, divergent and convergent engineering.

  1. Sara Della Ripa (and Nathan Bair) comes to talk about Postpartum Hemorrhaging Mitigation. Please prepare to welcome her by preparing for the discussion. Here is what she asked us to do:“Thanks again for meeting with me. Here is a link to video intro on PPH in the US. And, for students who may be interested in the simple technology that I am basing this innovation off of, this is a link to a scientific journal article they can check out. And, in case they want to read a really long but cool article by D-rev about innovations for low-resource (and applied to high-resource too) settings this is a great read!”
  2. See a decision matrix template based on a my design for the outdoor shower at my house.
  3. First Group Presentation is next Monday!
  4. && (participation is counted) Please see Rossling_Ignorance This will require you to set up a free account with a password (don’t forget your password – please write it down or make it obvious). Please join class “392/492 Appropriate Technology Design.”
  5. Please fill your website with demographic information about the people of the community your project is concerned with, your problem statement and any other background. I encourage you to use graphics from Gapminder.org.
  6. Please spend some time reading the article that Sara recommends.
  7. I’ve made of website recording correspondence with Robert Van Buskirk, who is now in Malawi. The link is on our main class website directly under the link for Timeline. I will continue to update and notify you with future correspondence. Please read the correspondence today to know what’s going on, even if your project doesn’t involve electricity. If this correspondence is important to your project (if you are doing something related to electricity) I recommend you put that link in your project website.

Nathan: Who? Where” Why” Face & Name? Back Story? for:
Payer,:Who is it sold to?
Target User: Who uses the product?
Recipient: Who benefits from use?

Week 4: The Design Process, Fail Early, Fail Often
First group presentation, 5 minute max. The goal is to get started. The bar is low for the first presentation. Relax and make sure you show us:

  1. Introduction of group members
  2. Some Background Information
  3. Problem Statement
  4. One example Design Matrix

We will do the presentations in order that they appear on the main class website.
Also, to prepare for class discussion:

  1. && See Electricity Generation
  2. Bring into class a statement addressing a “problem”. Why was this a problem?.. “because of it I couldn’t do xyz”… what is special about xyz?. Why is this a problem. Please follow this back to your fundamental priority or value. Then consider how to examine your fundamental priority. Do this for a personal experience and also do this for your group challenge.
  3. Read Fail Early, Fail Often this is geared toward software engineering. Please understand the purpose of low fidelity prototypes, medium fidelity prototypes, and high fidelity prototypes.
  4. Tom Kelly: on observing
  5. Tom Kelly: Fail Early, Fail Often (Treat Life as an Experiment) and
  6. http://www.economist.com/node/18557776
  7. If you need food, there’s an event for a new Food Distribution Site from the Cal Poly Hunger Program.

Wednesday: Amy Degenkolb Visits! Her Email for future reference: amelia.degenkolb@inpresstechnologies.com

  1. Read about Postpartum Hemorrhaging (PPH) See the people page and note that Amy Degenklob will be coming to class to talk about what is NOT on the website: how to make this technology available very inexpensively in poor countries; and her efforts in India and Indonesia.
  2. Bill Gates’ $1000 toilet Only 1 reading allows time to design your presentation… prototype.
  3. Please read about Faith the Kenyan Farmer
  4. && watch Electrical Transmission
  5. Please see updates for correspondence with our collaborator, Robert Van Buskirk, on main class website.
  6. Please read through the self interventions of your colleagues before class, to prepare for a class discussion.
  7. Lots of good feedback from you all on Monday. Please see your statements on main class website.

Website update due Sunday night, midnight

  • Problem statement and constraints
  • Decision matrix decision matrix template
  • Description of your target community
  • Research you’ve done
  • Your efforts in shop and what you’ve made – see last year’s websites for inspiration.
  • Any other update
  • Pictures of your group – with names and contact information if you’re willing to share it

Week 5 Design/Development Firms
Monday –

  1. By class Monday, send me an Email describing how you are getting on in your group. pschwart@calpoly.edu. Are you happy? Is everyone doing their share of the work to your satisfaction? Is everyone’s voice being heard? Respected?
  2. In the next presentation (Week 7), you will be expected to present some hardware – a glorious success or brilliant failure. We will discuss and celebrate the failures we had along the way: hardware failures, communication failures, awareness/attention failures, etc. Please begin preparing.
  3. Come to class with a written statement (one per group) of what you plan to do in shop, and what if anything you need from me.
  4. Read how D-Rev is changing the game and reaching new audiences
  5. Watch MASS’s campaign “Beyond the Buildings
  6. Please read this article about “parachuting doctors” and consider how the story is relevant to any kind of cross cultural “help”.
  7. && Please see Happiness_and_Energy_I
  8. Please read this week’s NPR article about Ebola and Poverty.

Wednesday: We visit Pete’s House at 1441 Iris St. across from French Hospital.
Before coming:

  1. && Please see this video about My House.
  2. Please read a short chapter I wrote (with lots of pictures) about the last 10 years of my life and the changes in my house.
  3. && Please see Story of Stuff.
  4. If you’re interested, please come to the bicycle breakfasts this month. This is a different website than I told you in class.
  5. HEY! EWB is having a special meeting tonight immediately after our class on campus… and seemingly on short notice – I just found out today.

Petes house.png

Week 6
Monday: Ryan Alaniz: ralaniz@calpoly.edu,

HEY! there’s been some complaining about our use of Bonderson 109. It seems people there don’t like us going in and out all the time. Reasons? – partly because they don’t want to be disturbed and partly because they are working on intellectual property (stuff that they want to patent, but haven’t yet). I’ve spoken with the shop manager, Eric Pulse and all is good. However, henceforth we will follow these changes:

  • – Please work outside of room 109 either in the high bay or the shop or somewhere else.

    • – We will no longer prop the door open during class time. Instead, I (and anyone else with CalPoly card clearance) will open the door and let students get their things at the beginning of class. At the end of class, someone with room clearance will open the room again to put things away.
    • – We won’t activate any more cards.

  1. Please read Professor Alaniz’s short book: Conscientious Gringo Think about how you want to be in your project and what we need to be careful of as we go forth. Please make an effort to answer the questions, and maybe focus on any particular question you find compelling.
  2. Please update the main project website table. In particular, change the “description of topic” entry so that it’s a message from your group, not from me.
  3. Interested in going to Honduras during 2018 winter break to support the Global Medical Brigade?
  4. Hey thanks for coming to my house Wednesday. If you’re interested to see the video about how I moved the stem wall, this is totally voluntary, not a required video.
  5. Please see my feedback for your websites. I posted this shortly before class, so I don’t expect that you’ve read it by class time, but certainly afterwards.

Wednesday: Roger Comes to talk about whatever we talk about. rogersburton@gmail.com
Acceptance of Change
5 steps of grieving: Kübler-Ross model
Pete adds talk about Happiness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJGrXgd-jxk
Read about Bhutan’s Happiness index
Read Jevon’s Paradox
Read Helicopter Invitation
Read about Happiness Reflection in China I added this a little late, so you can have class time to read it.
You can watch this whole video or start it at 2 minutes and 10 seconds to just watch the part on Jevon’s Paradox
Pete’s Commentary on Jevon’s Paradox

Please read through each others’ self intervention reflections (main class website).
Please see my feedback for your websites. Talk to your group mates and/or me about improvements.

After Class Begin our Empathy Self Intervention: Consider a time when you are dealing with another person and you recognize that you are regarding them as “the other”… whether it be in a conflict, or in amusement, contempt, lust or whatever. See if you can empathize with them – how are they seeing the world? Describe this process and how it might transform your interactions with them. This is not a theoretical perspective. I expect that you will communicate your experience and what it was like for you.

Week 7 Please present 5-10 minutes with your hardware. Be prepared to present failures and successes and lessons learned. This should include communication issues with the group.

Monday Presentations: Immersion Heater, Cook Pot, Food Storage, Eggs
1. Read why Tech adoption fails so many times – but read the other article first.
(Kind of a heavy text but there are only a few pages so do your best!)
2. Empathy in Design
-empathy in design leads to problem solving
3. Please log your empathy intervention. It’s described in the “after class” for last Wednesday and on the self-intervention website.
4. Please see Importance of not competing.

in class, debrief Roger’s visit as well as Ryan’s discussion. What did we take away from this? Why did we read about a helicopter date?

Wednesday Presentations: Cell Phone Charger, Fetal Heart Rate Monitor, Microgrid, Blood Clotting Factor

  1. Did you record your Empathy Self Intervention? Read each other’s Empathy Interventions.
  2. In class – discussion about the technology gutter
  3. && Happiness Emissions Decoupling
  4. Please read Rising Consumption in Developing World
  5. Please read about Aflatoxin and a remedies. The cooking container group may be most interested.
  6. && Please see this video about Soot.
  7. Consider going to the talk by Derek Featherstone on making technology accessible to all people.
  8. Has Kayne West made Development Sexy?
  9. HEY! consider taking the other appropriate technology class, PSC-391/491where we study more about how development efforts have (largely so far not) worked. It’s a GE D5.PSC 391,491.png

Week 8
Monday – Peter Keller from Aid Africa (doesn’t) visit.

  1. Please watch this video: EWB_Failure_restructuring
  2. Post improvement for second (Empathy) intervention before class on intervention page.
  3. Read: Peace, Security, Development and the Environment
  4. Please guess what % of the US national budget goes to foreign aid, then please read NPR’s article about it

Wednesday – Robert Van Buskirk (Kuyere!), and Peter (Aid Africa) come to talk.

  1. Please have a look at the 3-page research proposal we sent EEG (Energy and Economic Growth – a British Organization) on April 30, 2018.
  2. Read an excellent (in my opinion) rant from Robert Van Buskirk. The beginning of the Email explains why his calculations don’t consider all the details, BUT the rest of the Email describes a fundamental challenge to global development efforts. The Email is part of a discussion we had about whether we should go to the Solar Energy For All (SE4All) conference in Portugal. Here’s the Email.
  3. Read over the correspondence from Robert Van Buskirk, located on the main class website. It’s pretty long, so it’s OK if you just read some of it.
  4. Here is the improved Gates Foundation Big Bet website. Please see the video and read the statement.
  5. Optional: Read the report I wrote Roger about his visit, and Roger’s response.
  6. After class: We meet at 7:30 at Spanos for the Spring Dance Concert Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (optional).
  7. Remember that there is this additional talk on Thursday, 11:00 in 53-206

By Midnight, Saturday Night, Please update your website for feedback.
Week 9
Monday – Memorial Day

Wednesday: Jim Keese presents about cookstoves in Peru.

  • Please look through the Ghana Irrigation Webpage. You don’t have to be this good, but this may inspire ideas.
  • Please read this NPR story and the accompanying video about toilets in India. How is the society going about the change process? Do you agree or disagree?
  • Please read through the second interventions.
  • I asked Robert Van Buskirk what made him happy, what motivated him. We spoke, but he subsequently sent me this Email. Please read it and be prepared to discuss it a little after Jim’s talk.
  • In RVB’s Email, he refers to Noam Chomsky’s Essay. Please read the first three paragraphs of this essay.
  • In RVB’s Email, he refers to Effective Altruism. Please read this introduction and then click learn more at the bottom to see what they do.

Week 10
Monday: Work on final presentations and discuss final exam.
Enter your idea for your final (3rd) self-intervention on the intervention website (accessible from the main class website)

  1. Please see Guateca Information Video and Guateca Music Video
  2. Please read my analysis of my failure in Guateca
  3. Please bring in your Sustainability, Footprint
  4. See the video here and know Paul’s 12 Steps? Do you agree with all of them? Paul Polak’s 12 steps
  5. Who is Paul Polak? and What book did he write? What was his original career?: Paul Polak Wikipedia
  6. Paul Polak’s “Don’t Bother Trilogy”: Do you agree with them? Are there others you may think of?: Paul Polak’s “Don’t Bother Trilogy” come to class ready to discuss/debate.
  7. Read through the *improved* empathy self interventions. Did folks better empathize?
  8. Please read this statement about appropriate technology and see the video below it if you like. Please answer the question: Why is appropriate technology dead? (in Paul Polak’s Opinion), and do YOU think Appropriate Technology is dead?: Appropriate Technology is Dead? come to call ready to discuss/debate.
  9. Lastly, please consider: “How is your project consistent or not consistent with Paul Polak’s philosophy?”

Please read this short apology I wrote regarding our Empathy Discussion Monday, June 4.

Final written exam in class.

Please have your final intervention described on our intervention page. You have until midnight, Friday night to post the outcome.

Surveys: Please take the university survey for this class. The link was sent to you via Email.

If you’re interested in reading about Effective Altruism, here is the 80,000 hours website.

Finals Week: Final Presentation: Wednesday June 13, 4 PM – 7 PM.
We’ve decided to meet at Dexter Lawn if the weather is nice.

  • Bring a meal, bring a friend if you like. Make sure you bring a plate and fork or chop sticks or whatever you like to use to eat food.
  • It’s been noted that we can’t use computer projector. I put a bunch of old scientific posters outside my door. You can pick them up at will and use the blank side to present your work. If you need more, please let me know. I have more.
  • Finish posting the conclusion of your 3rd self intervention by noon, Sunday June 10. Please read through them after Sunday, but before our final presentation / pot luck.
  • Final website is due by midnight, Wednesday night, June 13.
  • Send me an Email indicating how the group work went by the end of day, Thursday, June 14.
  • Between now and the final presentation, please make a list of maybe 5 ideas for the class redesign. Make each in the form of Stop (as in “Stop ordering groups in terms of who can be where”), Start (as in “Start providing guidelines for the projects”), and conserve (as in “keep the class’s loose structure.”)

Ignore below this line*

Please Read before class:
Diary of a Mediterranean Rescue Worker
the refugee crisis explained
a very ridiculous and kind of amazing explanation of the war in syria
Get your hands involved in building something this week… starting in the shop!
Please see this && video about Scaling

After Class Begin our Empathy Self Intervention: Consider a time when you are dealing with another person and you recognize that you are regarding them as “the other”… whether it be in a conflict, or in amusement, contempt, lust or whatever. See if you can empathize with them – how are they seeing the world? Describe this process and how it might transform your interactions with them.

Here is the link to the “This is Water” speech by David Foster-Wallace. The Shortened 10 minute version with actors is https://vimeo.com/188418265but unfortunately leaves out the (in my opinion) very important line that your children will hate you for using up the earths resources and leaving it polluted… I think about Roger’s discussion. For the Full 20 min speech that includes thius statement, please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI

1) Tom Kelly: on the art of being creative
Read about Takachar: http://takachar.strikingly.com/ and see the video with great music.
2) Read about an important lesson we can learn by keeping an open mind.
3) Plan what your group is going to do during shop.
Here is the story on the SEF in the broadcast from last week
http://mustangnews.net/30-minute-update-student-scales-half-dome-new-parking-rules-incoming-freshman/It starts at 9:35 if you want to skip ahead to it.
Consider this question: “what makes it an appropriate or inappropriate technology?” as you read this and be prepared to answer the question “can design save the world?”