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Title: Sense - An alternative visualisation
Speaker: Tim Mackinnon
Mon, August 18, 2:30pm – 3:00pm
Video part1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZP75L1w6To
Video part2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXca6ilLZgU
Abstract: For several years, a prominent UK educational institution has been using a Scratch derivative to successfully teach adults how to program. Using a unique blend of interesting exercises based around a physical hardware board, they have inspired many adults to learn more about programming. Keen to allow more students to participate in the course, they commissioned a software simulator for their board which also emphasised improving the accessibility of the programming experience with keyboard input and sound output for the various UI elements. Due to the perceived age of the Squeak environment, bids for this work were considered in any language (using sockets and the remote sensor protocol), however I was able to show that the original Squeak Smalltalk environment was more than capable of delivering a sophisticated and elegant solution. Furthermore, while completing this work, I was very impressed with the possibilities that the accessibility features provided even to sighted students, and experimented using them to discover programming issues as well as program optimisations. In this session I will show some the coding challenges I faced, how I built an automated build environment, and demonstrate the potential of the accessibility features even in sighted programming. I will also show how trial usage using these techniques led to a surprising observation that resulted in a complementary and more efficient event mechanism.
Bio: Tim Mackinnon pioneered the use of eXtreme Programming (XP) in the UK in early 1999, and created one of the longest running XP teams at Connextra. Drawing from his prior experience of using Smalltalk, he co-invented Mock Objects, Gold Cards, and many retrospective practices. He is also the co-founder of XTC – a group that continues to inspire developers to share experiences with XP, Agile and software development, and which also organises the successful XPDay conferences. Tim now works with morethan.technology and provides targeted agile consulting at the management/board level, as well as advising software teams on the successful use of leadership, agile, and software development techniques.