As part of FemTech.dk in-reach activities, on June 26th we organised a meeting with several computer science (DIKU) students at the UCPH Makerspace. In-reach activities are internal activities where mainly DIKU students and staff members are invited to participate, such as DIKU’s teaching day. The makerspace has been instrumental in creating a sociotechnical infrastructure for these internal activities. These activities seek to make DIKU more inclusive from within by, for example, supporting collaborations and activities related to computing that might be difficult to carry out as part of the traditional curriculum. In concrete, two project proposals came out of the meeting: an art-installation focusing on collaborative motion interaction across spaces and a learning tool that demonstrates the insights of a CPU with LEDs, displays and microcontrollers. These projects exemplify opportunities for broadening narratives of computer science by supporting collaboration, emphasising materiality and storytelling.
On May, 19th, Pernille Bjørn – FemTech.dk principal investigator – gave a presentation at the Wonder Tech Submit on how she became a computer scientist. She also talked about one of the projects at the Computer Science department of the University of Copenhagen, which is using virtual reality to help build super hospitals. This project, currently taking place in one of the hospitals in Copenhagen, is yet another example of how computer science intertwines with many other different disciplines such as healthcare and architecture. Wonder Tech Submit was the first event in Denmark of its kind, bringing together leaders, engineers and entrepreneurs to celebrate the achievement of women in technology.
This week, FemTech.dk organised a two-day workshop with 26 students from eight different high schools in Copenhagen. During the workshop, each of the students created a “Cryptosphere”, which is an interactive device designed to make digital interaction effortful. The purpose is to make and preserve the importance of personal interaction in a time where it has never been easier to interact digitally. While creating their Cryptosphere, the students worked with microcontrollers, LED strips and motion sensors and reflected on the design of interactive devices. And all of them brought their Cryptospheres, microcontrollers, and sensors home!
Media representations of computer science – what do what computer scientists do? how do they look like? – are an important aspect of broadening participation in computing. In this new article, you can read some extracts of an interview to Prof. Pernille Bjørn on representations of computer science and gender based on her research in FemTech.dk:
We are thrilled to announce that on March 14th and 15th we will hold that the second edition of our FemTech.dk workshop with high school students! We have invited 26 STX/HTX/IB high school students in the Copenhagen area. Students will create an interactive product using microcontrollers, LEDs, sensors and social media. Stay tuned for more details! In the meantime, you can check some pictures of the work in process (and of the temporary DIKU Makerspace at KUA3 where we have been working :)):
We have made a video based on our GRACE demo at ACM GROUP’18– exploring experiences, challenges, and opportunities for participation in Computer Science. Enjoy!
We are just back from presenting GRACE at GROUP 2018 in Sanibel Island (Florida)! GROUP is a premier venue for research on work in social science, computer science, engineering, and design. This year GRACE was accepted as an interactive installation at the conference. The accompanying paper is included in the conference proceedings, check our paper at the ACM Digital Library. At the conference, the participants created origami bugs where they wrote their opinions on opportunities and challenges for facilitating inclusion in computer science. Then, they interacted with GRACE using their mobile phones and discussing with other participants. Stay tuned for an upcoming video showing participants’ opinions!
In December, we have been in Trento (Italy) to present some of the activities and events organised as part of FemTech.dk at the 2nd Winter School on Education as a Common Good. This winter school was co-organised by the universities of Trento, Bolzano and Innsbruck brought architecture, design and HCI students together. For three days, the students worked on projects seeking to design educational commons. The activities and insights that we are developing as part of FemTech.dk served as a source of inspiration to the students.
On the 24th of November, DIKU organized a teaching day in which faculty members learned and discussed teaching methods and tools. As part of this event, this year – and for the first time – Prof. Pernille Bjørn and Post-doc Maria Menendez-Blanco organised a hands-on workshop to explore the potential of microcontrollers in teaching computer science. This was done through a practical activity around a proposed topic: “microcontrollers and sorting algorithms”. Specifically, faculty members worked in groups of 3-4 people to visualize – and interact with – a sorting algorithm using microcontrollers, buttons, and actuators – and it was a lot of fun!
If you want to take a look at the slides of the activity, you can find them at:
The goal of this week is to develop concepts and represent possible solutions – or different ways to think about the problem- through physical prototypes. To this end, we have developed a method that brings the students through a five-day prototyping journey. In concrete, during the first two days, students learn how to 3D print (and how to create 3D models) and how to work with microcontrollers (and connect them to actuators and sensors). On the third day, they develop prototypes as exploratory devices through critical design approaches. The following day focuses on prototypes as minimum viable products, exploring prototypes from a business perspective. Finally, on the last day students explore prototypes as communication devices and create a video that summarises their concepts. During this week, students learn how to use the tools (e.g. microcontrollers, 3D printers) and, most importantly, how to leverage this knowledge to develop innovative concepts.
This was the second time that DIKU organises the MakerWeek and it has been a great success. For pictures and more information about this and last year’s MakerWeek, visit the UCPH MakerSpace FB page. We look forward to the 2018’s edition! In the meantime, stay tuned for more FemTech.dk activities on opening perspectives in computing.