Saturday, November 22, 2014

MSc Computing for Educators - C@SS Conference

Alison Varey
(Live capture of session)

Practice based MSc from Napier aimed at teachers. Credit given for work based activities.

Also talked about student placements in schools and the the Christmas lectures they offer.

Location:Colinton Road,Edinburgh,United Kingdom


Gus McSkimming, STEMNet
(Live capture of session)

STEMNet seeks to enrich and enhance. To encourage young people to be excited and interested in Science, Technology, engineering and Mathematics.

There are STEM clubs in schools and STEM Ambassador programme. Examples of STEM related activities include CoderDojo. (See activities page for more examples.)

STEM Advisory Networks already work in all Scottish schools (including Independant sector?) Ambassadors come from many different sectors. There to support teachers not replace them. A free resource on offer to schools that give applications in our subject in the world outside education.

Location:Colinton Road,Edinburgh,United Kingdom

3D Visualisation Technologies in Medical Imaging - C@SS Conference

Steven Reynolds, Toshiba

Medical imaging scanners allow clinicians to look inside their patients without having to cut them open! One of the the oldest forms of this technology is the 2D X-Ray. Today, essentially all digital. It has the advantage of being cheap and fast.

Computer Tomography (CT) uses X-Ray emitter and detector on a spinning gantry to produce slices of data.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) good for looking at soft tissue (brain, fat tendons etc.

Ultrasound uses an ultra-sound transmitter. PET uses radioactive tracer to detect what is happening inside.

Realtime X-Ray can be used to guide other procedures.

Many of these techniques can generate lots of data but can be difficult to interpret 2D images to build up a model of the subject. Computer technology can help. The Toshiba team use C++, C# and many other computing tools to process the data and help doctors understand it. They render the data to generate 2D images from 3D and 4D data.

Cybercrime, the Scottish Perspective - C@SS Conference

Stephen Wilson, Detective Superintendent, Police Scotland
(Live capture of session)
Government rate cybercrime and cyberterrorism as a tier 1 threat, up,there with major national disasters and international military conflicts.

What does cybercrime mean? Two aspects: old crimes "enhanced" by the Internet (e.g. theft, fraud, extortion and child abuse); new crimes created by the Internet (e.g. Ddos and malware). There are regular attracts on Scottish businesses. It used to be that organised crime had to be based near their victims but not now, so Russian groups and other nationalities are targeting Scottish people.

Mikko Hypponen on TED Talk: you are more likely to be a victim of crime online than in the real world.

Growth in ransomware (e.g. the heartbleed virus). But cyber attacks are not always about the money. There is state sponsored attacks as well as hacked sits are a growing threat. We need to educate people about basic safety. Problems with social networking, for example cyber-blackmailing or cyber-bullying which has led to suicides.

Hacktivism: question was asked, what are we doing wrong that people with outstanding computing skills would rather cause chaos and get involved in crime rather than use their skills in well-paid employment.

Crime as a service: people selling credit card details, or offering Denial of Service attacks et. As a service you can buy.

The police know they need highly trained and computer skilled people coming into the police, or partnering with them, to tackle these problems. But Stephen thinks we need to start educating children from primary up to take care of their own personal cyber safety. We need to encourage young people to move into tertiary education to study and research cyber security issues. There is an opportunity to grow cyber security as a business in Scotland.

As people spend more time in the virtual world, the police need to work to promote safer virtual communities. Does cyber security have enough prominence in school curriculum. Can pupils go and help parents and grandparents to be safer online?

Location:Colinton Road,Edinburgh,United Kingdom

Introducing Arduino - C@SS Conference

Frank Greig, Napier University and friends
(Live capture of practical session)

Arduino: System on a Chip, Microcontroller (MCU) and Single Board Computers

Cost of an Arduino <£20. Tools such as Processing and Fritzing are free. Components (e.g. Breadboards, LEDs etc.) are cheap. Community support abundant. Should be up and running in 20 minutes.

Fritzing allows you to draw the diagrams to set up exercises. Open source, free download. Code development: can get a version of Scratch for Arduino which acts as a good transition into Arduino C code.

During session, I did manage to get blinking LED within a few minutes. This what I like about control. You write some code (software that exists in the magical world of the computer) but control technology makes stuff happen in the real world. Somehow I find this stupidly exciting! (And that's a good thing!)

We added a resister to the breadboard but good advice was to solder the resistor onto the LED.

Moved onto switching an LED on and off by covering up a photocell sensor. When it got dark, a light came on. Again, stupidly satisfying! After this, we saw a Bluetooth modem attached to an Arduino and a Bluetooth terminal app that can send serial data over Bluetooth. The chap from Napier then controlled a line of LEDs from his phone - phone controlled Christmas tree lights.

Some really nice video lessons on what you can do with sensors (e.g. £1 range sensor used to measure colour and position).

Location:Colinton Road,Edinburgh,United Kingdom

HTML & CSS - C@SS Conference

Colin Maxwell, Adobe Generation

From the blurb: Big Picture, Little Picture – A different approach to teaching coding with HTML, CSS and Javascript, with examples you can take away and use in your own classroom. Includes an introduction to Adobe Brackets, the brand new and totally free code editor.

{Live capture}

(Colin is doing an online JavaScript programming course and has invited us to leave him details so we can join.)

The stuff he is talking about is on his blog.

Good source of information is Adobe Education Exchange; codeacademy (partnered with Education Scotland to produce material inline with Scottish curriculum - coming soon); webmaker (from Mozilla - can save and share work); (hour of code activities etc.).

Colin also recommended Brackets - an open source code editor which supports live HTML development, code hinting, JavaScript debugging, extensions for Python... And it runs from a pen drive (no problems with installing on school machines). He introduces HTML with a simulated hacking exercise - guess a four digit PIN. Showed how brackets highlights the HTML code when you click on the elements in the web page. First form just hardwires the PI√ĎA into the HTML. Second iteration uses CSS, so PIN not in HTML, it is in a file. Introduces external files and style sheets. Again, you can click on the code and the web page changes. For example, click on a colour code, change it and the web page changes.

Colin says he got the idea from a Micro Adventure book e.g. Space Attack, where you read a story where you had to write code to solve problems and move to the next bit of they story. Colin keen on the idea of using stories to move learning along. Another example is a CSS zombie/drone game. CSS positioning is used to place objects. One person has to write CSS a to position objects in a room. Second person then blocks the windows and doors - about 12 minutes for the whole exercise.

Offline activity from the webmaker site. Web page includes some simple elements, a story, perhaps a table and some CSS. Cards contain HTML elements which are dealt out to pupils who then have to play them in order to build up the page.

HTML 5/JavaScript game coding webinar starts this Tuesday2 December from 7pm-8pm. Starting with a simple platform game - give them it complete and let them hack it!

How do we talk about Computing? - C@SS Conference

Quintin Cutts
{Live capture}

We have things and processes and we try to work out what are the key characteristics. The key characteristics is information. We use this information to model the process and then there is reasoning: how well does the model match the process?


Almost any computing activity fits into these levels. For example, a plan for a program is in one sense a model.

In science, we are encouraged to model and test. Newton saw the apple fall and developed a model which has been tested and developed ever since. But in school, we assume the model and teach it as true. In comparison, in Computing when we build and test a program, we are doing real science - just like Newton. Could argue that school Computing does more real science than school Science does!

Quintin then told us a story... Talked about the Industrial Revolution where people made machines to to replace a specific task, usually replacing something that people used to do. (Replacing muscle power with machine power.) Different machine for each task. If you didn't have a machine, your industry died. (For example, linen was more important than cotton but the cotton chaps worked out how to mechanise the production.) Digital Revolution replacing general purpose brain with general purpose programmable machine. The machine stays the same the software changes.

Other Sciences are beginning to see the value of Computing: the breakthroughs are coming from computational modelling rather than mathematics.

Location:Colinton Road,Edinburgh,United Kingdom