Friday, July 15, 2022

My Day Two at #CSTA2022

Day two started off great as I connected with several people from my home CSTA Chapter –CSTA New Hampshire. The CS community in New Hampshire is growing and the CSTA Chapter has been a part of that. I’m planning on getting more involved in chapter stuff  in the future.

My first session of the day was about teaching ethics when teaching artificial intelligence. Jeremy Keeshin (a last minute replacement as I understand it) from CodeHS was the presenter.  Seems like some good small group discussions took place. Maybe I was tired but I didn’t get into it very well. My fault. Wasted opportunity. I did get a copy of Jeremy’s book “Read Write Code” which I look forward to reading.

Next up for me was a session on preparing the future developers of the metaverse.  The presenters were from Carnegie Mellon. First I have heard of XR as a generic term to include Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Modified Reality. We had some really interesting discussion of using virtual worlds in school. One school had a virtual birthday party in Minecraft. Minecraft has moved from pure play to an educational platform.

Students are picking different virtual worlds to play in as they age.It occurs to me that younger kids are building things in games like Minecraft and Roblox but older students, especially boys, and moving to games like Call of Duty which are more destructive. Something to think about.

My number one to look more into is Arena XR – An Augmented Reality Edge Network Architecture.

I really enjoyed this session and had some good interactions and learning with my tablemates. Slides for this session are at CSTA2022 NoStudentLeftBehind.pdf - Google Drive

Lunch break and more time in the exhibit hall. I got a close look at the Jacdac devices for use with a Micro:Bit. I may splurge and buy a starter kit. Note that I posted a brief look at Microsoft and other big companies exhibits at Amazon, Google, Meta, and Microsoft at #CSTA2022

First afternoon session was about writing for Hello World magazine. I was proctor and arrived before it started but after most people entered the room. Watching the clock is important as it is so easy to get distracted with so much going on. Anyway, the slides for this talk are available at CSTA_Writing Workshop Presentation.pptx - Google Slides  A lot of good stuff here. I hope this gets more teachers to write for the magazine.

Next up was a session on cryptography with an exercise in creating a Pringles can Enigma machine. We started the session with an brief introduction to and with an introduction to the Pigpen Cipher. (Note that this is one of the ciphers covered in my (PDF) free Tiny Book of Simple Cryptography)  We had some fun creating our mini Enigma machines and working though how they work. We only used one rotor but I brought home some sheets to make a larger one with a larger can when I get home.

Overall, a pretty good day. Some very good sessions, some good conversations at the exhibit hall, and many amazing face to face conversations with friends. I am exceedingly glad to be here this year.


Mark DeLoura said...

Thanks for your show reports, I appreciate it! Missing the event this year :(

Minecraft Education is interesting, they have an integration with a few computer science tools like Tynker and MakeCode and a lot of really intriguing educational content. Unfortunately it's challenging to get access to unless you're at a school.

Comparing the programming languages in the growing number of "metaverse"-like tools is something you might find interesting. Roblox requires use of Lua, DotBigBang uses TypeScript, Fortnite's Creative mode is popular with older kids but more of an event-driven system without a language... there are others of course. A fascinating space to watch!

Have fun at the rest of the show!

Alfred C Thompson II said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Mark. I really do need to spend some time digging into the various platforms.

Mark Smithivas said...

Mark, with the latest "Camps and Clubs" update, Minecraft Education is more usable outside of schools. Still requires a paid account though. Also, underlying Fortnite is Epic Games' Unreal Engine, which has its own programming language called Blueprint. As you said, so much new stuff to watch!

Mark DeLoura said...

It's kind of a bottomless pit Alfred! Fortunately, a fun bottomless pit :-)

Thanks for the tip on Camps and Clubs, Mark! Didn't know about that... should definitely lower the barriers a bit. I'm hoping that Epic will integrate Blueprint into Creative Mode for Fortnite at some point! Would sure be nice to have some more programming flexibility for complex object characteristics or game dynamics. Fingers crossed :)