>Competitions in computer science for schools

>Spending 3 intensive days at the University of Freiburg as member of the jury at the finals of the German computer science competition (Bundeswettbewerb Informatik) I learned once more how vast our field is … especially at the theoretical end. The tasks on the first day were related to stream processing algorithms and on the second day to games on graphs. But don’t be fooled theoreticians have a very different understanding what a good game is ;-)

The 28 people (pupils and high school students – who have not yet started studying) at the finals are the “best” from over 1000 participants and had successfully passed two rounds before. There level of CS knowledge was massively impressive. Many of them would have passed the BSc exams – in Math and theoretical computer science – without much further preparation! The event showed that computer science has a great potential to attract young people.

Here are links to German competions:

  • Informatik Biber (the general CS completion for students from class 5-13, last year some 80.000 pupils took part)
  • Bundeswettbewerb Informatik (the more difficult completion, last year bit more that 1000 pupils took part)

Around the event there were some interesting demos (to impress the prospective students), including Toyota Robina and an autonomous mini-airship.

Competitions in computer science for schools

Spending 3 intensive days at the University of Freiburg as member of the jury at the finals of the German computer science competition (Bundeswettbewerb Informatik) I learned once more how vast our field is … especially at the theoretical end. The tasks on the first day were related to stream processing algorithms and on the second day to games on graphs. But don’t be fooled theoreticians have a very different understanding what a good game is ;-)

The 28 people (pupils and high school students – who have not yet started studying) at the finals are the “best” from over 1000 participants and had successfully passed two rounds before. There level of CS knowledge was massively impressive. Many of them would have passed the BSc exams – in Math and theoretical computer science – without much further preparation! The event showed that computer science has a great potential to attract young people.

Here are links to German competions:

  • Informatik Biber (the general CS completion for students from class 5-13, last year some 80.000 pupils took part)
  • Bundeswettbewerb Informatik (the more difficult completion, last year bit more that 1000 pupils took part)

Around the event there were some interesting demos (to impress the prospective students), including Toyota Robina and an autonomous mini-airship.

Competitions in computer science for schools

Spending 3 intensive days at the University of Freiburg as member of the jury at the finals of the German computer science competition (Bundeswettbewerb Informatik) I learned once more how vast our field is … especially at the theoretical end. The tasks on the first day were related to stream processing algorithms and on the second day to games on graphs. But don’t be fooled theoreticians have a very different understanding what a good game is ;-)

The 28 people (pupils and high school students – who have not yet started studying) at the finals are the “best” from over 1000 participants and had successfully passed two rounds before. There level of CS knowledge was massively impressive. Many of them would have passed the BSc exams – in Math and theoretical computer science – without much further preparation! The event showed that computer science has a great potential to attract young people.

Here are links to German competions:

  • Informatik Biber (the general CS completion for students from class 5-13, last year some 80.000 pupils took part)
  • Bundeswettbewerb Informatik (the more difficult completion, last year bit more that 1000 pupils took part)

Around the event there were some interesting demos (to impress the prospective students), including Toyota Robina and an autonomous mini-airship.

>Educating Inventers – News paper report about our work

>The Newspaper Recklinghäuser Zeitung runs a series on inventers in the region. We were honored to be part of this. The article “Jede Menge Infos im Café-Tisch” (in German) is online at Medienhaus Bauer.

The article made me think again how we can motivate students to invent new things and applications. It is always a trade-off between giving students a very open project (where some are very creative and others just try to find the minimum requirement but it is not really clear what exactly the learn) and providing a clear assignment (where there is little space for own ideas but it is very clear what skills are trained).

Educating Inventers – News paper report about our work

The Newspaper Recklinghäuser Zeitung runs a series on inventers in the region. We were honored to be part of this. The article “Jede Menge Infos im Café-Tisch” (in German) is online at Medienhaus Bauer.

The article made me think again how we can motivate students to invent new things and applications. It is always a trade-off between giving students a very open project (where some are very creative and others just try to find the minimum requirement but it is not really clear what exactly the learn) and providing a clear assignment (where there is little space for own ideas but it is very clear what skills are trained).

Educating Inventers – News paper report about our work

The Newspaper Recklinghäuser Zeitung runs a series on inventers in the region. We were honored to be part of this. The article “Jede Menge Infos im Café-Tisch” (in German) is online at Medienhaus Bauer.

The article made me think again how we can motivate students to invent new things and applications. It is always a trade-off between giving students a very open project (where some are very creative and others just try to find the minimum requirement but it is not really clear what exactly the learn) and providing a clear assignment (where there is little space for own ideas but it is very clear what skills are trained).

Buying Music Online – how easy is it?

Imagine there is a song – you know band and title – and you want to buy it. Should not be really something worthwhile reporting in a blog…

How long does it take to buy a song and how many steps does it need? I tried myself and was pretty much amazed that it is still more difficult than other ways to get music. The idea was to put the song into my shopping cart, press check-out, pay by credit card, and download. On the stores I encountered you have to register before to buy… I finally got the song and here are the steps at a major German music store: go to shop page, search for song, put in shopping cart, go to checkout, told to register, fill in registration form, told to confirm email, opened email client, waited 3 minutes for email, confirmed email, logged in on webpage, realized shopping card is empty :-(, search for song, put in shopping cart, go to checkout, entered credit card information, pay about 1.69€, got download link, got music.

I really wonder how many people will become first time buyers in this shop. Sometimes I think the things we teach in User Interface Engineering are obvious – but real life tells me they are not! If you run a music download portal or if you are in the music business and you wonder why no-one buys – we can tell you :-) it may be about utility and usability of your online offers… if you need more details we are happy to help you :-)

PS: there was a store with a .ru address with better usability that offered the song with no registration at 0.20€ – but I did not want to give my credit card details… 

Buying Music Online – how easy is it?

Imagine there is a song – you know band and title – and you want to buy it. Should not be really something worthwhile reporting in a blog…

How long does it take to buy a song and how many steps does it need? I tried myself and was pretty much amazed that it is still more difficult than other ways to get music. The idea was to put the song into my shopping cart, press check-out, pay by credit card, and download. On the stores I encountered you have to register before to buy… I finally got the song and here are the steps at a major German music store: go to shop page, search for song, put in shopping cart, go to checkout, told to register, fill in registration form, told to confirm email, opened email client, waited 3 minutes for email, confirmed email, logged in on webpage, realized shopping card is empty :-(, search for song, put in shopping cart, go to checkout, entered credit card information, pay about 1.69€, got download link, got music.

I really wonder how many people will become first time buyers in this shop. Sometimes I think the things we teach in User Interface Engineering are obvious – but real life tells me they are not! If you run a music download portal or if you are in the music business and you wonder why no-one buys – we can tell you :-) it may be about utility and usability of your online offers… if you need more details we are happy to help you :-)

PS: there was a store with a .ru address with better usability that offered the song with no registration at 0.20€ – but I did not want to give my credit card details… 

>Buying Music Online – how easy is it?

>

Imagine there is a song – you know band and title – and you want to buy it. Should not be really something worthwhile reporting in a blog…

How long does it take to buy a song and how many steps does it need? I tried myself and was pretty much amazed that it is still more difficult than other ways to get music. The idea was to put the song into my shopping cart, press check-out, pay by credit card, and download. On the stores I encountered you have to register before to buy… I finally got the song and here are the steps at a major German music store: go to shop page, search for song, put in shopping cart, go to checkout, told to register, fill in registration form, told to confirm email, opened email client, waited 3 minutes for email, confirmed email, logged in on webpage, realized shopping card is empty :-(, search for song, put in shopping cart, go to checkout, entered credit card information, pay about 1.69€, got download link, got music.

I really wonder how many people will become first time buyers in this shop. Sometimes I think the things we teach in User Interface Engineering are obvious – but real life tells me they are not! If you run a music download portal or if you are in the music business and you wonder why no-one buys – we can tell you :-) it may be about utility and usability of your online offers… if you need more details we are happy to help you :-)

PS: there was a store with a .ru address with better usability that offered the song with no registration at 0.20€ – but I did not want to give my credit card details… 

Tagging Kids, Add-on to make digital cameras wireless

Reading the new products section in the IEEE pervasive computing magazine (Vol.7, No.2, April-June 2008) I came across a child monitoring systems: Kiddo Kidkeeper – In the smart-its project Henrik Jernström developed 2001 a similar system in his master thesis at PLAY which was published as a Demo at Ubicomp [1]. I remember very lively the discussion about the validity of this application (basically people – including me – asking “Who would want such technology?”). However it seems society and values are constantly changing – there is an interesting ongoing discussion related to that: Free Range Kids (this is the pro side ;-) The article in the IEEE Magazin hinted that the fact the you can take of the device is a problem – I see a clear message ahead – implant the device – and this time I am more careful with arguing that we don’t need it (even though I am sure we do not need it I expect that in 5 to 10 years we will have it)

There were two further interesting links in the article: an SD-card that includes WIFI and hence enables uploading of photos to the internet from any camera having an SD-slot (http://www.eye.fi/products/) – the idea is really simple but very powerful! And finally the UK has an educational laptop, too (http://www.elonexone.co.uk/). Seems the hardware is there (if not this year than next) and where is the software? I think we should put some more effort into this domain in Germany…

Not to forget the issue of the magazine contains our TEI conference report [2].

[1] Henrik Jernström. SiSSy Smart-its child Surveillance System. Poster at Ubicomp 2002, Adjunct Proceedings of Ubicomp 2002. http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/572976.html

[2] http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MPRV.2008.27