Newsletter - Spring 2011
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Links to further resources and information covered in this issue:
MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT GOES VISUAL
Further details about App Inventor for Android can be found at http://appinventor.googlelabs.com/about/index.html
A COMPREHENSIVE SUITE OF VISUAL TOOLS FOR THOUGHT
CAS has produced a CD of resources and further links to support teaching with Scratch, BYOB, StarLogoTNG and App Inventor for Android. The CD was distributed at BETT 2011. The image file (.ISO >600Mb) can be accessed from here.
MINDSTORMS: COMPUTERS, KIDS AND POWERFUL IDEAS
A succinct explanation of constructionism, together with many excellent links can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructionism_(learning_theory)
Many influential articles written by Seymour Papert can be found online at http://papert.org/
Including this early discussion http://www.papert.org/articles/const_inst/const_inst1.html
BYOB: A RECIPE TO PLAY PONG OVER A NETWORK
The full recipe for this project can be found on the CAS CD mentioned above. It is reprinted at the end of this supplement.
ANIMATION 11: NOW LET’S GET SCRATCHING
Further details of the competition, galleries of previous work and the opportunity to register and receive publicity material can be found on the Animation11 website: http://www.cs.manchester.ac.uk/Animation11/
NEW SCENARIOS INCLUDED IN GREENFOOT 2.0 RELEASE
The new Greenfoot release can be downloaded from http://www.greenfoot.org/ whilst the greenroom forum (free to register) can be found at http://greenroom.greenfoot.org/about
ENGAGING YOUNG PUPILS WITH ROBOMIND
See the RoboMind website: http://www.robomind.net/en/index.html for downloads and support material. Pete Marshman has also collated some excellent teaching material here: http://www.westberks.org/GroupWorkspaces.asp?GroupId=56150&WorkspaceId=72219
GCSE COMPUTING TAKES OFF
Further information about OCR GCSE Computing can be found at http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/type/gcse_2010/ict_tec/computing/index.html
SUPPORTING THE KS2/3 TRANSITION WITH THE DIGITAL SCHOOLHOUSE
For more information about these and other inspirational activities organised by The Digital Schoolhouse please take a look at their website: http://www.digitalschoolhouse.org.uk/
PUPILS TO ACT AS JUDGES IN JUNIOR TURING TEST
For more information on the JLP, CCfS 2011 and the other outreach activities that are offered by the University of Exeter see: http://empslocal.ex.ac.uk/people/staff/itm/
COMPUTING: THE SCIENCE OF NEARLY EVERYTHING
Examples of projects (of varying sophistication) using an AI language are available from Aaron Sloman at http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/poplog/examples/#contents
SIMPLE PROJECTS TO TEACH ABOUT THINKING MACHINES
The AI minisite, with links to all resources mentioned has it’s homepage at http://www.cs4fn.org/ai/
The classroom resources are available here: http://www.cs4fn.org/teachers/activities/
The QGame mobile phone project is at http://www.eecs.qmul.ac.uk/~milan/mobile/index.htm
SODARACE: PITTING MANY HUMANS AGAINST THE INTELLIGENCE OF MACHINES
Links to the SodaRace website and further help can be found at http://www.cs4fn.org/alife/sodaindex.html
COMPUTING AT SCHOOL: LAYING FIRM FOUNDATIONS
For more details of the BCS Academy of Computing please see their website at http://academy.bcs.org/
HUBS PROVIDE A CHANCE TO MEET AND SWAP IDEAS
The CAS Hub Operation Manual can be downloaded from http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/uploads/Hub_OperationsManual.pdf
Hubs now meet regularly in Manchester, North East, West Berks, East and South London, Surrey, South Wales, Cambridge, Essex…. If you are interested in receiving details of current hub activities please contact Claire Davenport in the first instance and she will put you in touch with the local organiser. Claire can be contacted via Claire.Davenport ‘at’ hq.bcs.org.uk
VITAL ANNOUNCE EXCITING NEW CPD OPPORTUNITIES
The Vital resources can be accesses from http://www.vital.ac.uk/community/course/view.php?id=1158
The CAS teachers space can be found here: http://www.vital.ac.uk/community/course/view.php?id=2675
Creating an account is free and allows you to browse al the resources on offer.
THE KEYBOARD IS MIGHTIER THAN THE MOUSE!
For full details of further workshops, please see www.cs.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/events/linux-workshops
A FORCEFUL CASE FOR CHANGE
The full text of the article published in SIP is available at http://academy.bcs.org/server.php?show=conWebDoc.36647
The joint BCS / CAS submission to The Royal Society call for evidence can be downloaded from http://academy.bcs.org/upload/pdf/royal-society-response.pdf
Details of the Science and Technology Committee can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-archive/science-technology/science-and-technology-committee/science-and-technology-related-links/
Further links to CAS contributions to the debate about computing at school can be found on this website in the document section. See in particular Computing at School: The State Of The Nation, at: http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/uploads/CAS_UKCRC_report.pdf
Further coverage of the announcement of the Royal Society study can be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-10865856
BCS CELEBRATES FIVE INFORMATION PIONEERS
The videos mentioned, and extra material can be found here: http://pioneers.bcs.org/
BUILDING THE FUTURE LIES IN UNDERSTANDING THE PAST
Spend some time investigating the National Museum of Computing and what it can offer students by visiting their website at http://www.tnmoc.org/
RESEARCHING THE POTENTIAL FOR TEACHING PROGRAMMING.
The contact details for the researchers featured are as follows:
Claire Johnson is a PhD student at the University of East Anglia
Mara Saeli is a PhD student at the Technical University of Eindhoven (The Netherlands)
Cynthia Selby is a PhD student at the University of Southampton
GIRLS AND GADGETS HELP DISPEL MYTHS
If you are based in the North East and would like to be involved in future Girls and Gadgets events please contact Alison Brown. More coverage of the event, plans for future activities and contact details can be found at http://www.tees.ac.uk/schools/scm/girls_gadgets.cfm
COMPUTING ON THE CATWALK OUT NOW!
Free copies of the excellent cs4fn magazine can be ordered via the website http://www.cs4fn.org/magazine/magazine.html Whilst there, do spend some time browsing around – it is a wonderful resource!
Further details about their talks and other outreach services can be found here: http://www.cs4fn.org/teachers/talks/
BCS ACADEMY HOST COMPUTER SCIENCE MAGIC SHOW
More details and a poster to download at http://academy.bcs.org/server.php?show=conWebDoc.37851
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
|Here is a larger image of the map, created by Martin Gardner that caused controversy back in 1975. See if you can colour the sections using only four colours. Further information (and the solution) can be found at http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Four-ColorTheorem.html|
We hope you have enjoyed this issue. If you would like to contribute to further issues please send correspondence, suggestions and features to firstname.lastname@example.org
BYOB: A RECIPE TO PLAY PONG OVER A NETWORK
2 networked computers running BYOB (see Newletter 1)
1 ball (a sprite)
2 bats (both sprites)
4 walls (all sprites)
2 scores (both ‘global’ variables, i.e., for all sprites)
2 direction changes (both ‘local’ variables for the ball, i.e., for this sprite only)
From the Share menu on one machine (this will be the server) click Host Mesh: BYOB will then report the IP address of that machine. From the Share menu on the other machine (this will be the client) click Join Mesh and enter the other machine’s IP address: the two machines are now ‘meshed’: broadcast messages are received across the mesh, and global variables are shared but read through the use of sensing category sensor value blocks.
On the server create a Ball, and a left bat called LeftBat, then right click each sprite and click Share sprite: these sprites then get copied across the mesh to the other members and appear on the other machine. The client should meanwhile create a right bat called RightBat and share that.
The server now creates four walls, called LeftWall, RightWall, TopWall, and BottomWall (or the server could create two walls and the client the other two). These can be shared with the other player, then rearranged on their stage to look like this:
The ball resets the game (scores, positions etc) when the green flag is clicked, then starts a game by broadcasting the PlayGame message so the ball moves regularly, bouncing off bats, top and bottom walls, and update the score then restarting the game on bouncing off a left/right wall.
The two server ball scripts
On the client the ball is controlled by two simple scripts:
The two client ball scripts
On the server the bat that is controlled by the server computer (say LeftBat) has two scripts responding up/down key by moving up/down and broadcasting a LeftUp/LeftDown message across the mesh. The other bat (say RightBat) responds to RightUp/RightDown messages by moving up/down.
On the client the roles are reversed in that the LeftBat will respond to broadcast messages and the RightBat to key presses.
The server’s LeftBat/RightBat scripts
The client’s LeftBat/RightBat scripts
To start the game (assuming the two machines are still connected), click the green flag.
This is a useful game to introduce team programming: one student does the server, the other the client and they get the game working. Then they swap roles.
As an extension you can add a TopBat and BottomBat, so that the mesh has four machines and four players. This raises interesting discussions on what a win does to the scores, and can lead to heated discussions about the best way to proceed (a bit like politics really)