Topics and sessions

Teaching and assessing computer science

Since the introduction of computer science achievement standards in 2011 a wealth of experience has been gained in how (and how not) to teach and assess them. This talk will review some of the lessons learned and some of the good ideas and useful resources that have emerged.

Prof. Tim Bell

Professor, Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Canterbury.

Findability and usability - lessons learnt from text analytics

Text analysis technologies are used widely in a number of applications. Many of these applications aim to end users. The best example is search. In this talk, we will go over the basic concepts of text analytics and present results from a number of usability studies on user search interfaces.

Dr Anna Divoli

Chief Research Officer at Pingar.

m-learning devices in education

Over the last 20 years, m-learning devices in education have evolved from "duct tape, velcro, microprocessors and radios" to ubiquitous learner-owned tablets and smartphones. The Bring Your Own Device revolution is changing the very nature of teaching and learning, and disrupting the traditional roles of teachers and students. However, for many, the concept of m-learning still means little more than reading WikiPedia on the bus. In this talk, I will explore 20 increasingly adventurous ways in which mobile devices can enhance and transform education. Only one of these will involve buses.

Assoc. Prof. David Parsons

Associate Professor of Information Technology, Massey University.
Editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning.

Introduction to mobile programming

This session provides a broad introduction to the concepts of mobile programming and reasons for using Application Inventor for this workshop.

Dr John Casey

Lecturer and Programme Leader, Department of Computing, Unitec Institute of Technology,

Mobile Programming using the Application Inventor for Android      

Introduce students to computer science and programming basics by teaching them to develop applications for Android mobile phones. Using MIT App Inventor, an online development tool, hard-to-learn syntax is unnecessary, and programming skills are taught with an intuitive, visual approach making coding principles easy to learn and put into practice.

Mahsa Mohaghegh

Dr Mahsa Mohaghegh

Lecturer and Programme Leader, Department of Computing, Unitec Institute of Technology.

Robotics in education

Robotics is becoming increasingly important in education. When used properly, robotics can provide an ideal platform for teaching many subjects including mathematics, science, design, technology, and ICT.

Unlike computers, robots are embedded in the real-world as physical agents. Therefore, working with robots develops creative real-world problem solving skills in students. By doing a robotic project, engineering principles such as electrical, mechanical, and chemical as well as IT skills can be developed.

By using robotics in the classroom, it is possible to expose students to future career paths. More importantly, robotics is a perfect way to show students that engineering and IT can be fun. The focus of this session is how robotics can be effectively used in high schools to support teaching.


Dr Chandimal Jayawardena

Lecturer and Programme Leader, Department of Computing, Unitec Institute of Technology,

Introduction to cybersecurity

Cybercrime is bigger than the global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined. Globally over the last 12 months, cybercrime cost 463 billion dollars and was experienced by 431 million adults. In that same period cybercrime against New Zealanders cost 625 million dollars (statistics from New Zealand's National Cyber Security Centre).

Unitec has responded to this problem by developing New Zealand's first Cybersecurity Research Centre and the only institution in NZ providing a range of educational programs from Bachelors to Doctorate and short courses. This session will show you the technology that we are using to monitor cyber attacks, and discuss the issues raised in cyber security research. It will discuss the importance of creating a public awareness of this area and what Unitec has planned for schools. It will also outline the range of careers available in the field of cyber security.

Assoc. Prof. Hossein Sarrafzedeh

Head of Department, Department of Computing, Unitec Institute of Technology.