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2009 Conference (10th)



Location

The 10th annual conference was held on Saturday, February 7th 2009, at Pierre Elliott Trudeau High School in Markham.
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Session Descriptions

Keynote Address

- Peter Beens, Ministry of Education

The keynote address will highlight changes and policies concerning the new Computer Technology and updated Computer Studies subject areas.

The keynote address can be downloaded from here. (PPT)

Advanced Algorithms

- Gerry Heffernan

With the new curriculum we now have ICS 3U and ICS 4U. This session will discuss some ideas for teaching some of the more advanced computer science topics (particularly in ICS 4U). The following expectations or examples for covering expectations will be touched on:

modular programs (across multiple files)
reusable code (e.g. inheritance, method
overloading/overriding, polymorphism)
compare efficiency of linear and binary search
compare efficiency of sorts
non-numeric comparisons (strings - comparable interface)
2-D arrays
1-D array of objects
simple and efficient recursive algorithms
Data Structures
- Mike DiRamio

This session will concentrate on Stacks, Queues, and Deques, and will explore array and linked list implementations of each. Participants will go through a student activity package to learn linked lists (single, double, and circular) and to explore the efficiencies of using different implementations for each data structure.

Java Project: Boards & Pegs

- Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo

Java is an object-oriented language. The Board class is a tool that was created for teaching Java in first year courses at the University of Waterloo. This class generates simple, graphical objects that look like checkerboards on which you may add or remove pegs and lines. This double session will give participants a chance to practice basic Java programming skills using objects from the Board class. Topics will include constructing and using objects, selection, and repetition. If time allows, we will look at one and two dimensional arrays.

Computer Hardware

- Mark Elliott, Computers for Schools

Got ghosts and gremlins in your computer(s)? Ever wonder how they work and what magic is going on inside a computer. In this session we'll take a look at using computer hardware in your classroom. We'll look at computer parts, computer repair and if we get time, we'll look at overclocking a computer (my student's favourite) to get more use out of an aging machine. My students love the computer hardware component of the ICE course. Come along and help get rid of the mystery in that computer case.

Alice 3.0: A TeaParty from Grade 9 to 12

- Mike Roy-DiClemente, Head of Computer Studies, Aurora High School

We all struggle to attract students to our courses – both boys and girls – and provide them with a dynamic and interesting learning environment. Recently, graphical programming environments like Alice have promised to do that, but are often accused of simplifying away core programming skills. This talk will cover 3-D programming environments including Alice 2.0, and give a detailed preview of Alice 3.0 which aims to provide a comprehensive programming environment for beginning ICS2 students to advanced ICS4. Fans of Alice 2.0 and teachers new to graphical programming environments alike will benefit from this demo and preview. The Alice 3-D environment is free software.

Stepper Motor Interfacing Project

- Mike DiRamio

Stepper motors can be used to move to a precise position and to continually rotate like a DC motor. Participants will learn how a stepper motor works and construct an interface to control a "Mark Meter" controlled using Turing. This is a hands-on workshop. No experience with computer engineering required. Knowledge of Turing is a benefit.

Introduction to Breadboarding

- John Rampelt

This introductory, hands-on session is designed for computer science teachers who wish to give their students some experience with electronic circuits and ICs. Participants will learn about common electronic parts, simple input and output circuits, digital logic ICs, and will build and debug simple computer-related logic circuits using breadboards. The example circuits will help to make programming more real by showing students some aspects of the hardware inside computers.

Robotics Circuits

- John Rampelt

This hands-on session will demonstrate simple input and output circuits for use in robotics applications. Participants will investigate the operation of 'pull-up' input circuits used to sense contact (switches), position (potentiometers), and light level (phototransistors), as well as high-current transistor output (motor driver) circuits. H-bridge circuits, DC motors, stepper motors, servo motors, and various other input and output devices will be discussed. Some circuit and breadboarding knowledge would be beneficial, but is not required.

Introduction to PIC

- John Rampelt

Microcontrollers are found in almost all electronic products these days, but it's confusing for teachers without some prior microcontroller knowledge to know what classroom materials are needed and how to integrate them into the curriculum. This session will introduce participants to the popular PIC family of microcontrollers, explain their basic operation, and explore inexpensive resources available for use in a computer engineering curriculum. Examples of PIC-based classroom projects and programming languages will be shown.

PIC Assembly Code

- John Rampelt

Are you new to the PIC microcontroller, or have been avoiding assembly code because you have heard that it's confusing and difficult? While programming in assembly code does present some challenges, it also provides great benefits through direct, fast, and un-abstracted control of the hardware in microcontroller circuits. Find out how easy it can be to program in PIC assembly code using Microchip's MPLAB IDE and a simple PIC development board. No prior microcontroller or assemby code is necessary. Participants are asked to bring a laptop pre-loaded with the MPLAB IDE (available from www.microchip.com).

Open Source Apps

- Deb Stacey, University of Guelph

There are many open source software products from operating systems to compilers to word processors that could be used in the classroom. This workshop will explore the rich collection of software available to educators at no cost and the lessons that the students can learn from working in the world of open source. There will also be a brief look at how open source can be leveraged by teachers and schools to enhance the delivery of CS courses. Topics will include, but are not limited to: Linux, GNU software such as GCC, Eclipse, OpenOffice, SourceForge, SVN

What’s wrong with the high school Computer Studies curriculum.

- Evan Weaver, School of Computer Studies Seneca College

Is the high school computer science curriculum adequately preparing students for post-secondary studies leading to a profession in the field? In this interactive session, the Chair of Computer Studies for Canada's largest college will share his insight into the high school to college transition, as an educator, administrator and parent. Find out what you are doing right and what you could do better, to ensure the success of your students in the next phase of their lives.

Robotics and Robot Competitions – A Synergy for New Computer Technology Courses

- John Prickearts, Head of Computer Studies, Alexander Mackenzie High School

For many computer engineering teachers the introduction of robotics provides a very practical application of engineering and programming concepts that many students enjoy. The extent to which students can be challenged to build bigger and better robots is often limited by the available time in the course. With the introduction of the new Computer Technology emphasis courses, however, teachers can address more robotics into theses courses starting as early as Grade 9. To further the involvement of students with robotics, teachers can also consider participating in one or more robot competitions held locally and/or internationally. This session looks at the various robot competitions available to high school students, the different robot platforms used for these competitions, the costs involved and the beneficial impact they can have on your Computer Technology courses and program in your school.

Hidden Markov models: a simple tool for understanding biological sequences

- Prof. Daniel G. Brown, Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo

Hidden Markov models are a probabilistic tool for modelling data; essentially, they are finite state machines that can toss coins. While they were invented to model the sounds of human speech, their most common application today is in analysis of biological sequence data, particularly for genomes, to try to identify important features in them. We will discuss how they are described and used, giving examples from two different biological domains: finding genes in DNA sequences and predicting the shape of proteins.

Online Resource Facilitation

- Kiley McDaniel, Curriculum Chair Business/Computer/Technology, St. Stephen's Secondary

This session will focus on the development of a ACSE community resource. There are many teachers out there who are struggling with the transition from procedural to object-oriented programming and an online text would help everyone with problem creation and teacher strategies. The purpose of the session will be to determine the best way to build the resource; wiki, Google Docs or other CMS. This “dare to share” strategy could save us all a lot of time!

TEJ10 – Round table discussion of resources

- Natasha Kaan, Head of Computer Studies, Middlefield Collegiate Institute

The introduction of a computer technology course at the grade 9 level provides us with an excellent opportunity to discuss what types of projects, resources and approaches should be used. An examination of the curriculum documents will further clarify what content should taught at the grade 9 and grade 10 levels. This is a round table discussion session, please bring suggestions, ideas and resources to share with the group.

Programming for Cell Phones

- Paul Gries, University of Toronto

Learn how to write a Java program for cell phones, including possible pitfalls. You'll see how to build a cell phone application in NetBeans, one of the best IDEs for cell phone programming, and you'll also hear about some of our experiences with this topic at the University of Toronto in our second-year programming course.

Edited by Kevin and Cody
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