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1 Developing Outreach Activities in the School of Computing Sciences Dr Ben Milner Director of Learning and Teaching.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Developing Outreach Activities in the School of Computing Sciences Dr Ben Milner Director of Learning and Teaching."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Developing Outreach Activities in the School of Computing Sciences Dr Ben Milner Director of Learning and Teaching

2 2 Overview Motivation Methods of outreach developed –Visits by schools –Visits to schools –CMP ambassadors Activities Funding Feedback and benefits Future activities

3 3 Motivation for outreach in CMP Outreach activities began in 2003 Stimulation of applications –Applications to computing have fallen by 50% from 2001 Inspire and educate children about computing science –Content of computing/IT subjects in schools is uninspiring –Show children more interesting aspects of computing science –Use facilities not available in schools - hardware and software Raise aspirations –Show children what they can do - at university –Benefits of going to university

4 4 Methods of outreach developed Visits by schools to CMP Organised centrally or locally Between 20 and 60 children visit Duration from 1 hour to 4 days Range of activities –Lab-based –Short lectures –Campus tours

5 5 Methods of outreach developed Visits to schools –Take practical activities into schools –Lectures on computing/HE –School science days CMP ambassadors –Encourage our own students visit previous school/college –Give presentation on UEA/CMP –Invite school back to UEA –Difficult to recruit ambassadors

6 6 Aims of activities Activities are selected based on several criteria –Should be fun –Quick to start and make progress on –Work independently –Arouse curiosity –Experience new technology –Achieve an end goal –Often culminate in a competition

7 7 Types of activities Robotics Computer graphics Speech Artificial intelligence Motion capture Talks on computing science and higher education Campus tour Campus lunch

8 8 Example programme (day long) Welcome and introduction5 minutes Robotics90 minutes Break15 minutes Motion capture30 minutes HE talk30 minutes Lunch and campus tour90 minutes Computer graphics90 minutes Conclusion5 minutes

9 9 Robot Wars TV programme Robot Wars is very popular with children School of Computing Science has 18 Lego Mindstorm robots Start with simple programs to move robot forwards and backwards Extends to develop use of touch sensors and light sensor Variable lab sessions depending on age and duration Robot Wars world champion (Ed Hoppitt) lectures on our longer courses

10 10 Final competition based on navigating through an obstacle course Students enjoy challenge and competitive aspects Certificates for winners Robot Wars

11 11 Robot Wars champions

12 12 Updated robots with 18 new Lego NXTs Need to keep ahead of schools Next generation robots

13 13 Most children are familiar with computer graphics - –Computer games –Simulation –Movies (Toy Story) –Special effects Activities again based on quickly producing something with a clear end goal Computer graphics

14 14 Younger children use 3- D studio max to create a simple moving scene Example was for year old children in about 90 minutes 3-D studio max is not generally used in schools Industry-standard modelling and animation software Computer graphics - animation

15 15 Recently purchased several Microsoft Xbox 360 games consoles for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching These have now been included in work with schools, mainly for older children year olds Write prototype code on PCs in C# and upload to Xbox to play Computer graphics - games consoles

16 16 Simple space shooting game coded Aimed at older students - produced in about 2 hours Runs on Xbox 360 Students gain real sense of achievement Very different to studies in schools Computer graphics - games consoles

17 17 Activity requires students to connect phonemes together to form speech Students learn about phonemes and context Refinement to improve realism Computer synthesises speech from phoneme sequence Computer speech

18 18 State-of-the-art motion capture lab - funded by the BBC Used for research into animation Same equipment used for motion capture in games and film/TV Involve students by capturing their motion and playing it back Students can relate to this through experiences with computer games and films Motion capture

19 19 Funding Funding has come from a variety of sources Aimhigher Gifted and Talented Students Smallpeice Trust SCI Faculty CMP

20 20 Aimhigher Norfolk Aimhigher Norfolk arranged into five areas: –Central –East –North –South –West

21 21 Activity costs Centrally organised events –Charge for faculty time, laboratory demonstrators and equipment –Approximately £60 per hour Locally organised events –Daily rate of £280 for a single group, rising for parallel and multiple groups –Covers lab activities, tour guides, refreshments, equipment, etc –May offer reduced rates in special circumstances

22 22 Developing links Outreach website Aimhigher reps STEM network Word of mouth

23 23 Established school links Close links with 14 local schools and colleges Hosted about 50 sessions in the last year

24 24 Feedback and benefits Stimulation of applications –Difficult to measure - have recognised faces at CMP Visit Days Inspire and educate children about computing science –Experience outside of classroom - more advanced CS –Students are exposed to a range of areas in computing science –See large computing labs and hardware not seen in schools Raise aspirations –Students get better idea of what university education in like –Benefits of going to university are explained/discussed

25 25 Feedback and benefits Teachers –Thank you very much for organising such an interesting day for my students! I would love to bring another group next year. –Thanks. Excellent day. Our students were full of it. More like this please. –Brilliant day thanks. Students –Thanks you for making the day really enjoyable. Programming was really fun and I learnt a lot. –The day was very enjoyable and I learnt a lot about AI and robots. –Thanks for the wonderful experience you gave us at the University of East Anglia. –Thanks for a fun experience.

26 26 Feedback and benefits Several articles in local newspapers Generates publicity for UEA/CMP Advertises our outreach activities

27 27 Future activities Faculty Outreach Officers (FOOs) –Each faculty now has an FOO to arrange outreach –Budget of £10,000 - expected to seek further funding Careers advisors workshop for computing Computing/IT teachers workshop A-level computing advanced classes (cf further maths) CMP ambassadors

28 28 End

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