Diagrams and visualizations are predominantly used to convey concepts and ideas, especially in a classroom setting. While there are several online tools available that facilitate construction of technical diagrams, there is no single universal tool that allows users to both draw and interact (evaluation of a circuit) with a given diagram that spans over multiple areas of interest (or domains). In our paper, we propose novel techniques that can be incorporated into drawing tools that allow an expert user to plug-in their domain of interest by writing a domain specific script. By doing so, we give flexibility to the expert to add additional features and domains without having to make changes to the tool. The tool can be used for drawing technical diagrams, analyzing them and evaluating them based on rules, in the form of predefined functions, provided by the expert user. We also introduce the concept of using formal representations for diagrams rather than storing them as images, thereby making it easier to analyze and manipulate. Additionally, we allow the user to import diagrams drawn on other platforms and interact with them. As a proof of concept, we developed a web-based drawing tool called PlayIt which supports the domains digital logic circuit design, finite state automaton and basic geometry. The tool’s architectural design caters to the limited programming experience of non-computer science major students and teachers. We also present several applications of the tool in aiding the teaching-learning experience such as automated evaluation of assessments, bringing the focus on understanding concepts rather than functioning of multiple tools etc. A user study supported our claims with several positive responses from both students and teachers.
Collaborators - Rutha Prasad, Pallavi M.P., Nithin Bodanapu, Reshma Bhat, N.S. Kumar
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