Computer Science Spring Workshop - Enthusing the Next Generation
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21-22 May 2008

School of Computer Science, University of Manchester

sql cartoon

How many schoolchildren would understand the cartoon above? It's an example of an SQL injection exploit of course.


Would you like to make your research accessible to younger minds? If so, this is a fantastic opportunity to spend a couple of days in the company of fellow researchers and recognised experts in Computer Science and Science communication, developing a fun activity based upon your research, and trying it out with a local school. Register now!


Adrian Albin-Clark,
Marjahan Begum,


Most Computer Science professionals are aware that their discipline is in crisis. Applications for Computer Science at Universities are down. There is evidence that high school students are bored by lessons which portray "Computing" as a world of spreadsheets, document processing and authoring web pages. There is little understanding of the distinction between the creativity of "Computer Science", which is not part of the curriculum, and the more turgid "Information and Communication Technology", which is. If this trend continues, every child will become a software user but fewer children will become software engineers.

Participants attending the workshop will develop an activity in a pair (during the workshop) and deliver it, shortly after the event, to a local school, for which arrangements will be made on their behalf, and any associated travel expenses for the school visit will be fully reimbursed.


To provide support and resources, using a 2-day workshop, for researchers to develop skills in communicating Computer Science to high school children.
To facilitate the development of a range of interactive classroom activities to communicate the exciting ideas in modern Computer Science.
To facilitate the delivery, by researchers, of these classroom activities to high school children, through partnership with UK schools and school teachers. Teachers' evaluations will feed back into subsequent activity development in the workshops.
To cross-fertilize with other existing initiatives, including cs4fn and CS Inside.
To promote gender and ethnic diversity both in our recruitment of researchers to the workshops, and in the choice of schools for delivery, working in collaboration with DISC (Delivering Inclusion in Science Communication) and ACNST (African-Caribbean Network for Science and Technology).


Paul Curzon, Department of Computer Science, Queen Mary, University of London. Creator of and writer for cs4fn.

cs4fn in second life

Steve Mesure, The Creative Science Consultancy. Expert in science communication.

Sifat Momen, Department of Computer Science, University of Sheffield. PhD student advised by Noel Sharkey from BBC's Robot Wars.

Programme (All sessions will be in 2.19 Kilburn Building)

Wednesday 21 May
09.30 REFRESHMENTS. Registration.  
Steve Furber
Setting the scene for science communication in CS - includes inspirational demonstrations
Paul Curzon
Steve Mesure
Why do public engagement?
Steve Mesure
What is science communication? Engaging audiences and schools. Methods: lectures, demos, dialogue etc. Hurdles. What's in it for me? Messages.
Steve Mesure
12:30 LUNCH  
Warm up. Lift pitch. 30 seconds research pitch. 1 minute post-it feedback.
Steve Mesure
REFRESHMENTS. Researchers assign themselves into pairs.
cs4fn article writing
Paul Curzon
15:30 Creative thinking Steve Mesure
Matching people to activities and deciding on initial idea (multiple pairs together)
Develop activity in pairs
Close. Wine & nibbles.
Chinese meal at Tai Pan
Thursday 22 May
09.00 REFRESHMENTS. Documenting an activity. Quintin Cutts
Conveying your research ideas - example: swarm robotics. Interview with Sifat. Widen discussion about relevance to schools.
Sifat Momen
10.30 Presentation skills Steve Mesure
10.45 REFRESHMENTS. Develop activity in pairs.  
12.00 Pairs present their ideas. Post-it feedback from the group.  
13.00 LUNCH  
14.00 Present activities at Trinity C of E High School (5 mins walk). Video interviews.  
15.30 REFRESHMENTS. Reflection and feedback. Steve Mesure
16.00 Document and refine activities  
16.45 Next steps  
17.00 Close  


Adrian Albin-Clark
Marjahan Begum
Paul Curzon
Queen Mary, University of London & cs4fn
Formal methods, interaction design, human error, formal verification.
Quintin Cutts
University of Glasgow & CS Inside
Steve Furber
Steve Mesure
The Creative Science Consultancy
Sifat Momen
University of Sheffield
Mohammed Abutheraa
Sean Bechhofer
John Brooke
Shasha Feng
Automated theorem proving, deduction in logics
Amir Kamali
University of Sheffield
Iain Kelly
University of Liverpool
Joshua Knowles
Thanasis Pavlopoulos
University of Glasgow
Andrew Robinson
Adel Sali
Carole Twining
  Kazi Zahid
Ji Ruan
University of Liverpool
Ji will not be attending now but will be busy organising donations to the people affected by the recent earthquake, as an officer of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. More information about the disaster can be found on Ji's blog.


The closest and most reasonably priced hotel is run by the Manchester Business School (MBS). The MBS hotel and others can be found on this workshop map.


Visitors will be able to obtain temporary computer accounts during the workshop for wireless laptops, or for desktop machines in the MSc lab using Windows XP or Linux. Ask Adrian Albin-Clark during the event for account details.