Tag Archives: Talks

2014 IET South Wales Annual Lecture

On Thursday 20th March I will be giving the 2014 IET South Wales Annual Lecture at Swansea University:

Computing: Enabling a Digital Wales

Digital technology (and thus computation) is an indispensable and crucial component of our lives, society and environment. In a world increasingly dominated by technology, we now need to be more than just digitally literate. Across science and engineering, computing has moved on from assisting researchers in doing science, to transforming both how science is done and what science is done. In the context of (Welsh and UK) Government science, technology and innovation policy, computer scientists (of all flavours) have a significant role to play. Tom will ground this hypothesis by describing his research interests at the hardware/software interface, his broader work in education and science policy, and then finishing by presenting a vision for a “Digital Wales” underpinned by science and technology innovation.

 
This talk is free, with registration online.

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Camden and Islington embrace Computing at Google

Today I spoke at Google to a large group of Computing/ICT teachers from Camden and Islington Councils, to prepare them for the new Computing curriculum from September 2014. It was great to see proactive engagement at the local authority level, wonderfully facilitated by Google, recognising the significant changes and need to support teachers in this transition.

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I spoke about CAS, an overview of the changes to Key Stages 3 and 4 (leading through to the new(ish) computer science qualifications), as well as addressing some of the myths perpetuated about the balance and programming requirements. I was joined by a number of other excellent speakers, including Maggie Philbin, Belinda Parmar, Miles Berry, Genevieve Smith-Nunes, Carrie Anne Philbin and Alison Pearce from OCR, as well as support from a number of great organisations and initiatives, including Code Club, Make Things Do Stuff, Apps for Good, Decoded, Young Rewired State and Technology Will Save Us.

It looks like a promising computing future for young people in Camden and Islington schools; here’s a Storify of the event, as well as my presentation slides.

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Winchester Science Festival 2013

Yesterday I spoke at the 2013 Winchester Science Festival, a fantastic weekend of science communication and science education with some excellent speakers. My talk was entitled “Computing: The Science of Nearly Everything” (slides), which attempted to reset the perception of computer science: highlighting the importance of computer science education (in particular the wide utility of programming) and how modern science and engineering increasingly leverages computation.

Précis: We have seen how computational techniques have moved on from assisting scientists in doing science, to transforming both how science is done and what science is done (also see this Royal Society report). Thus, perhaps we should value the increasingly cross-cutting and interdisciplinary field of computer science, as well as computational literacy from school through to postgraduate research skills training.

Dr Tom Crick opening slide

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(you can also see other photos from the 2013 Winchester Science Festival, including me doing silly gestures)

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BCS Young Entrepreneurs Go4enterprise event

In July I spoke at Young Entrepreneurs Go4enterprise, a joint event organised by the BCS Entrepreneurs Specialist Group and the BCS Young Professionals Group (of which I am Chair).

The aim of this joint event was to look at how the BCS can support and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, especially in the technology sector; unsurprisingly, I spoke about the educational aspects of the problem and how we must continue to fund (and leverage) the UK’s science and research base.

My talk is below; you can also watch the other speakers.

 

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Hack To The Future

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I recently had the pleasure of being a keynote speaker at Hack To The Future, organised by Alan O’Donohoe (a.k.a. @teknoteacher) and held at his school, Our Lady’s Catholic High School in Preston.

Hack To The Future was pitched as an unconference to inspire the digital creators of tomorrow, attempting to introduce the wonders of computer science to over 250 children (in many cases, for the first time). Alongside the main keynotes from Samantha Bail (Manchester Girl Geeks), Jon Howard (Development Manager for Games in BBC Children’s Future Media) and an anonymous ethical hacker known only as Freaky Clown, there were a large number of breakout sessions, including: building fun things with Nanodes, creating games in HTML5, building a digital camera with the Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer, programming apps with YOUSRC, 3D printing, non-transitive dice, computer-controlled pyrotechnics and an unofficial peek at the new BBC Micro 2 development platform. In fact, there was great support from the BBC, with representatives from across BBC Learning and BBC R&D, as well as a roving camera crew recording the day’s events.

I had the honour of giving the final closing keynote (slides), attempting to send them away inspired with the possibilities of computer science and technology, but also highlighting the importance of technology curiosity: hacking, playing and having fun. I truly hope I was successful!

For a full run-down of the event, have a look at Alan’s comprehensive blog post; I also highly recommend BBC R&D research engineer Michael Sparks’ thoughts about the day.

 

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Science and the Assembly 2011

I have been invited to speak at Science and the Assembly 2011, an annual event organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, designed to develop closer links between the scientific community in Wales, the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government.

I’m one of six invited speakers from across academia and industry, as well as the WAG Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor John Harries, on themes heralded by the International Year of Chemistry. However, I will be subverting the theme somewhat by discussing the importance of Computing to Wales, highlighting how it underpins modern scientific research and where it sits within the STEM agenda:

Computing: Enabling a Digital Wales

The strategic importance of the provision of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, as well as their contribution to the Welsh and wider UK economy has been frequently discussed, but there appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding with where Computing and related disciplines sit within the STEM portfolio. It should be regarded as the quintessential STEM subject, involving scientific enquiry, engineering design and mathematical foundations, as well as embodying deeper computational thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills.

In December 2010, the Welsh Assembly Government outlined a framework for Delivering a Digital Wales, a wide-ranging strategy to reflect the importance digital technologies now play in our lives, touching upon virtually every strand of public and private sector activity. Hence, being able to innovate with technology will be a crucial part of the future economic strength of Wales. And therein lies the importance and relevance of Computing education: it is imperative that there is a clear strategy for Computing in Wales that distinguishes it from “digital literacy”, recognising it as a core discipline that underpins modern scientific research.

This is a well-timed event considering the recent Assembly elections, so I hope there is a strong turnout from both newly elected Assembly Members and policymakers.

The seventh annual Science and the Assembly takes place in Cardiff Bay on Tuesday 24th May 2011 at the Pierhead Building and the Senedd; registration is online.

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