Arduino is one of the latest emerging technologies that are revolutionizing education. It’s essentially a tiny computer about the size of a deck of cards that can be programmed with ease. Arduino has been adopted widely in both Europe and the US for use in STEM (science, engineering, technology, and mathematics) education in high schools, as a way of teaching computational thinking skills. One question that often arises is where Arduino fits in with all of the other programming, hacking and making tools that are out there that help people to learn programming.
3D printing is the technology of the moment. It’s now left the high-tech research and development laboratories – where it’s been used for decades – and the consumer market is wide open.
And the market is growing. Just last month, industry leader Stratasys bought 3D printing firm Makerbot. Objects can be printed almost as easily as documents, and the price point for a basic 3D printer is coming down faster than it did for laser and ink-jet printers. You can download designs for thousands of models and print anything from toys, to tools, to replacement parts. The possibilities are endless.
Video games will soon incorporate 3D printing. And as with other content in books, music, and movies, there is also potential for licensing 3D models. In the not too distant future, we will be able to print an entire product from scratch (including its electronics), and deliver it immediately to the customer. When this is made possible, 3D printing will radically overhaul the way manufacturing markets operate.
Brock’s been v busy over the past year. Not only does he have a busy teaching load coaching our undergraduates and postgraduates in the wonders of Physical Computing, but he’s also been writing the newly published Arduino Projects for Dummies.
Well done Brock! Now, enjoy the summer and try to have a well-deserved rest before term starts!
Eduardo is a student on the BSc Creative Computing (integrated degree). This year he has been doing a wonderful job of one of our Department Student Co-ordinators, representing the student body to both the department itself and to Goldsmiths. Here he tells us a little about himself and his experiences of Goldsmiths:
I am a mature student with a young heart. At the moment I am in the foundation year to shape up and get the tools I need to become a computer scientist. I knew about Goldsmiths because some of my friends who were studying at the university already told me the wonders of studying here.
I was thinking about coming back to education for some time, and after attending to an open day and having a chat with the Computing Department peeps I was convinced I wanted to study here. Studying at Goldsmiths for me has been a great experience and a rollercoaster of emotions, I have met good friends, and given the opportunity to get involved in the academic life, by working closely with students, teachers and other academic figures to support students as Student Coordinator and this way become a bridge for better understanding between the two sides.
My tutors have given me many gifts to be thankful for, like logical thinking and understanding computing behaviour, the hunger for researching, and creating my own personal and creative ways to develop my ideas so I can walk my own path.
Finally studying at Goldsmith has given me the ultimate gift, which is a dream of an amazing future and a second opportunity in life to become the person I want to be.
On the 27th March, the Computing Department at Goldsmiths ran an Introduction to Arduino workshop specifically aimed at women applicants.
The workshop was a great success. Arduino is a computer that can sense what is going on in the world and make something happen because of it. It is a prototyping board, for all your interactive design/artistic needs. The workshop introduced applicants to some of the amazing things that can be done with an Arduino, how to get started and how to find out more. In the workshop we learned how to write a small computer program to control a light to turn on when it gets dark, or when someone comes near. All participants seemed to enjoy the workshop, as did the workshop leaders, Sophie and Shauna from MzTek.
Our department is committed to actively encouraging more women to take up university places in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) subjects. We are also committed to supporting women students once they arrive at Goldsmiths because we recognise that Computing subjects have traditionally been dominated by men.
Keep an eye out for more Women in Computing events taking place at Goldsmiths over the coming months.
Our lecturer, Dr Kate Devlin, was one of 60 experts selected out of over 2000 applicants to take part in a scheme to tackle gender imbalance in the media. Here she talks about her experience.
Tuesday, 4pm, at the BBC Academy: I was so busy chatting with three other women about computers, 3D printing, robotics and counterterrorism engineering that I forgot I was in a radio studio in the middle of a broadcast. I was taking part in the BBC Academy Expert Women day as a participant in the second cohort to be put through their paces at White City. Considering I had started the morning panicking that maybe I didn’t know enough, and that maybe they would think I was a fraud, the training had worked.
In four all-too-short sessions we were shown the ropes, getting a taste of how to confidently share our knowledge and research with a wide audience on TV and radio. But it wasn’t just the new skills that were so fascinating: the twenty-nine other women experts and the industry women training us were among the most interesting I have ever had the pleasure to meet. From astrobiologists to actuaries, and from to vulcanologists to feminist historians, everyone had something compelling to share and the opportunity was there to share it.
Women are vastly under-represented in the media and the Expert Women campaign seeks to redress the gender imbalance. This imbalance is also echoed in our own discipline – computing – where women are often discouraged by the “white male geek” stereotype. It’s estimated that the number of UK technology jobs held by women is just 17%. Seventeen percent! And yet we are all using and interacting with technology daily. Research shows we often assume that because we see stereotypes, we feel we ought to conform to those stereotypes in order to be successful. In other words, if we see a geeky male computer scientist, we think we can only be a computer scientist if we are both geeky and male. Not true! It was women who drove many of the early developments in computing and, hopefully, it will be women who contribute more and more in the future. Through initiatives such as these where women talk about what they do and share it publicly, we hope to encourage other women and girls, and show that a career in computing is both possible and desirable.