Webstock 2016

In January this year I applied for a scholarship to attend Webstock 2016 in mid February. I had seen information about the scholarship a few weeks before I applied but I wasn’t too sure if Webstock would be good/useful to go to being a very new developer. I didn’t actually really know what Webstock was all about.

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Then I came across this post by Natasha Lampard. Makes for fascinating reading. And so I applied and gained a scholarship to attend Webstock.

Having attend a few different conferences while teaching (Ulearn comes to mind), and having attended WDCNZ in 2015, I had an idea of what a large scale conference would be like.

However, Webstock is run differently. There is one stage, one stream of presentations, no smaller venues for different speakers or multiple themes. One stage, one presenter about every half hour. So actaully quite different to other events.

And what a mixture of speakers. From Luke Wroblewski talking about Screen Time (the kind of thing I was expecting) to Annie Machon who is a former MI5 intelligence officer-turned-whistleblower and Cindy Gallop telling us Why The Next Big Thing In Tech Is Disrupting Sex.

I think there was something for everyone in the eclectic mixture of speakers.

I think all the talks will be up sometime soon at http://www.webstock.org.nz/talks/, there is already six years of Webstock talks up to view (if I could only take a month off and watch them all!).

Screen Time

Luke Wroblewski – www.lukew.com

Screen time used to mean sitting in front of a TV. Today we move between screens of various sizes, proportions, and quality all day. The abundance and diversity of devices can overwhelm teams delivering software. We need practical ways to tackle the problems that come with this diversity of screens. Luke explores a deeper understanding of screen time today and ways to design effective cross-screen experiences for tomorrow.

Here is a link to his talk, not the one he did at Webstock but the same talk (with slides, handy!). He talked about history of glass and four things to consider 1. know your screen, 2. output, 3. input, 4. posture. One thing I didn’t know is that you can get a lot of data about users and what devices they have via your website and apps and from that you can then tail content for them.

The Map and The Territory

Ethan Marcotte – ethanmarcotte.com

When we create for the web, we participate in a kind of public art. We code, we design, we build for an audience, making digital experiences that provide a service, that create joy, or that simply connect readers with words written half a world away. But in this session we’ll revisit what we’ve learned about responsive design, and ensure our content, not just our design, is readily accessible to them wherever they are. In doing so, we’ll look at some ways in which our audience reshapes the way we think about our medium, and see where they might be leading us—and the web—next.

 

This talk started off with looking to the past and the mapping of Manhattan. Ethan coined the term “responsive web design”. He talked about the digital divide and how in parts of the world most devices a sub 3G and that this will change the way people design sites. The idea of “good design” will change. It also look at the performance budget, reducing and revisiting, pages should not weight more then 300kbs, and to consider loading speed? 

This shows how much I have yet to learn. As I don’t even know how to figure out how quickly a page loads, how fast it is, what things effect it (besides image sizes!).

CSS Wizardry

Harry Roberts – csswizardry.com

For his Webstock presentation, dressed as a wizardHarry will perform an interpretive mime cycle, translating the array of human emotions in architecting, writing and scaling CSS for large sites, apps, and products in large-team environments.

His silent exercises, which include such classic works as the cage, walking against the wind, the mask maker, and satires on everything from sculptors to matadors, have been described as works of genius.

I was looking forward to this talk about CSS, however, due to it being a non-technical audience, Harry changed the focus. He talked about doing lots of travelling and talking at conferences. Some interesting travel tips like using a different card to keep the power on in your hotel room when you go out.

Did a Google search to find a presentation of his, What Is A CSS Framework Anyway?, from Industry Conf, and slides https://speakerdeck.com/csswizardry/what-is-a-css-framework-anyway. Haven’t watched it yet.

Adaptive Content, Context, and Controversy

Karen McGrane – karenmcgrane.com

In 2016, “adaptive content” has become a buzzword. To some, it’s a complex, long-term initiative to structure content for flexible reuse and dynamic targeting. To others, it’s a way to ensure that everyone, everywhere, sees exactly what they want—like magic! In this talk, Karen shares her perspective (and reservations) on how adaptive content is being used today. She’ll discuss how adaptive content supports targeting content to device type—and why that’s rarely necessary. She’ll also describe ways that adaptive content can support tailoring content according to context—and ways that can go wrong. You’ll walk away with a better understanding of when adaptive content is necessary and how to get the most value from it.

This was good. Difficult for me to describe as by this point if the day I decided just to soak everything up and didn’t take many notes. I will definitely be watching this when the videos come out. In the mean time, here is one from her site https://karenmcgrane.com/2012/09/04/adapting-ourselves-to-adaptive-content-video-slides-and-transcript-oh-my/.

Bug Fixes & Minor Improvements, Writ Large (aka Humorous Self-Flagellation and the Multiple Benefits of Being Old On The Internet)

Anna Pickard – annapickard.com

Somehow, improbably, the release note — that little space used by apps to describe their latest updates – has become a remarkable, human way for the creators of software to communicate with their users, and Slack (where Anna words*) has been at the forefront of the movement to turn that microcopical nugget of technical documentation very few people bother reading into (basically) a new literary genre. This little revolution didn’t happen by accident though: it’s the result of a fortunate series of events, a short list of values about how to behave as a company, and a long trail of people feeling out what it means to be oneself on the interweb.

This was a great talk and I now read all the release notes for Slack. If you are involved in writing well worth a watch.

Why The Next Big Thing In Tech Is Disrupting Sex

Cindy Gallop – @cindygallop

The tech world welcomes, supports and funds innovation and disruption in every area of our lives and work – except one. Join Cindy Gallop, founder & CEO of http://makelovenotporn.com/, for a provocative, insightful and revelatory examination of what constitutes sextech, how it can bring about world peace, the battles she and other sextech entrepreneurs fight every day to build their ventures, the huge amount of money there is to be made, and why New Zealand has a unique opportunity to become a global hub for sextech.

Now this was a talk that I wasn’t expecting at a tech conference (although, I learnt that Webstock isn’t really a tech conference). This was a fascinating presentation. Here is her talk at TED a few years ago – http://blog.ted.com/cindy_gallop_ma/


That’s my brief (and rather late) blog post about Webstock ’16.

As I was writing it I started thinking about professional development in the developer world. My next post will be about this.

CS4HS – Computer Science Level 1 Introduction

1.44 Demonstrate understanding of basic concepts from computer science

PDF of standard

Golden rule of interface design is consistency.

  • Example – setting alarm on device
    • User – appointment
    • Task – setting the exact time

To learn about an interface, get students to get parents to use the interface. Think about who the audience and what the task really is. Think aloud cognitive walk through.

Have students using personal examples, different interfaces.

HUMAN COMPUTER INTERACTION – CS Field Guide

Problems when programmers haven’t looked at issue from users point of view – door example – green light means is secure / locked, users think it open so can go through.
Teller at Westpac with typing in amounts – inconsistent ways to input into different places in the system

ALGORITHMS

http://www.csfieldguide.org.nz/Algorithms.html

Phone book example

What is an algorithms? A way to solve a problem, a method to solve a problem

AS – describing key characteristics and roles of algorithms, program and informal instructions
CS Field Guide – 2.1.1. ALGORITHMS, PROGRAMS AND INFORMAL INSTRUCTIONS

Ripping phone book in half, then half again – binary search. But data has to be sorted if using a binary search.

Algorithms have an associated cost. Different ways to measure cost – cost is often time.

Comparisons – weight example. Selection sort: 9 items – 8 comparisons.

What an algorithm is and what the cost is? Best way is comparison. Students do not need to write the program, they just need to run it (see guide – 2.3. SORTING ALGORITHMS). Important for students to do it with numerous different inputs / sizes – e.g. 1, 100, 1000 etc etc.

Quick sort – easier to do with your hands with objects. Weight example again – use one weight where you compare all others and put into two piles. 19 comparisons instead of 36 (selection sort) 2.3.4. QUICKSORT CS Field Guide

Demonstrate how an algorithm works, can put in photos or screenshots of scales on CS Field Guide. Good to use the programmes – python or scratch, can download from CS Field Guide.

Algorithms, interfaces and programming languages – 40 / 40 / 20 of how much students needs to do on each.

Programming – difference between compiling a programme and running a programme.

Computer Science 4 High Schools – welcome session

Purpose of CS4HS

  • vision for teaching
  • specific ideas for new standard
  • peer support
  • networking
  • refreshment

Environment

  • respectful safe environment
  • ow to work with what we’ve got
  • encourage and build each other up
  • presenters are volunteers
  • no question is too simple

Why CS4HS?

  • students don’t know what C is
  • employers can’t meet demand
  • best jobs – conditions, prospects
  • students need to find if its for them
  • not previously taught in schools

Teachers are the Lynchpin!!

Paper: Adoption of CS in NZ High Schools

NZACDITT Computing at School / Computer Science Teachers Assn – csta.acm.org

Binary Exercise – 10110 = 22 (was someones birthday!)

Student Story – Hayley van Waas @hayleyavw

LoopEd 2014 Conference

logo

LoopEd 2014 Conference website

Jane Gilbert: Keynote

‘FUTURE-ORIENTED’ EDUCATION…WHAT IS IT? WHY SHOULD WE CARE?

This presentation will look at some of the ‘big ideas’ in circulation about why we need major change in our education system.

It will argue that, because these ideas are not well-understood, we are largely continuing with ‘business as usual’, and that, as a result, we will not be able to meet the needs of 21st century students and/or the society they will live in. The presentation will then look at how we could begin to do some of the ‘circuit-breaker’ thinking needed to move education into the 21st century.

(link to presentation)

Twitter hashtag – #looped14 – View the story “#looped2014” on Storify

Challenge-  not to get hooked into how exciting these things are; look at what aspect is more of the same and what is actually new stuff, doing stuff that is different.

Education is not about getting more and more students further along the production line.

Purpose is to build the kind of society we want,  to give people the capacity to participate in that society. Lots of tweets of this statement!

Live blogging #Looped2014 – @BENJAMINJRILEY