Conferences‎ > ‎

2011 Conference (12th)

The 12th annual ACSE Conference was held November 12th, 2011, at the Bahen Centre for Information Technology at the University of Toronto. Many thanks to the University of Toronto for hosting us, and special thanks to Steve Engels for coordinating it. (twitter tag #acse11)



Speaker: Peter McAsh

Abstract: This hands on session will introduce you to App Inventor, an online environment for creating Android phone apps. I will share my use of App Inventor in ICS2O this semester. If you happen to have an Android phone, bring it and your USB cable. If you BYOD visit

Arduino Robots 

Speaker: Mike Druiven

Abstract: During this session I will give a brief overview of the Arduino Microcontroller and compare this device to the BASIC Stamp and OOPic. Steve has put together a video showing some Arduino implementations. I will review some Arduino resources and answer questions. There will be a few Arduino modules connected to 10 segment LED bar graphs for some hands on experience along with a few examples including a pong game and a line follower robot.

Resource(s): Session Notes

Android Programming

Speaker: Emir Hasanbegovic

Abstract: The Android SDK provides the tools and APIs necessary to begin developing applications on the Android platform using the Java programming language. In this session, learn how to set up the Android SDK and how to use it to teach Java classes through Android app development.

CS Circles: Learning Python in a Browser 

Abstract: Computer Science Circles is a new website that introduces programming to beginners: 25 lessons run from "Hello World" up to recursion. We focus on user-friendliness and alternate expository text with a variety of exercises, including auto-graded programming exercises and drag-and-drop "code scrambles." The ideal audience is a student group working together with a teacher. You will try the website yourself in the second half of the session.

Digital DNA --- Bringing computational biology into high school computer science 

Speakers: Orion Buske, Karen Cogswell, Paul Miskew

Abstract: The digital nature of genetics makes it a wonderful playground for applying basic computer science concepts and getting students excited about the field. Join us as we teach string manipulations, loops, and dictionaries in the context of DNA replication and protein synthesis. This material highlights the interdisciplinary nature of computer science and is at the heart of current research areas such as personalized medicine. There will be a mini-lesson from a UofT Master's student in computational biology, followed by two teachers discussing how they integrated this into their computer science 3U / 4U classes. Lesson plans and other resources will be available.

Resource(s): 2011_11_12_acse.pptx, Project - DNA to Proteins.docxACSE Digital DNA V3.ppt

Exploring Engineering Design Concepts with LEGO Mindstorms NXT Robots 

Speaker: Bill Bishop

Abstract: In this presentation, you will be introduced to the use of LEGO Mindstorms NXT Robots for exploring engineering design concepts. This talk will examine the design, configuration, and programming of a LEGO Tribot using the Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio. The many features and characteristics of the LEGO robot will be discussed. The challenges of working with a LEGO robot will also be discussed. The talk will conclude with a brief discussion of a set of robotics design labs assigned during a first year course on engineering design at the University of Waterloo.

Getting Started (with Game Development)

Speaker: Jim McGinley 

Abstract: Students (including artists/writers/musician students) already have everything they need to build games. Without a push from teachers, many will never get started. An overview of the game technologies and gaming communities available. Teachers will be able to pass these along to interested students. Sample Technologies: Processing, Scratch, GameMaker, Flixel Sample Communities: TIGSource, YoYoGames, Ludum Dare, Game Jams, Experimental Gameplay.

Hacking Game Devices

Speakers: Danny Cen, Fabian Chow, Mark Michael, Mina Mitry, Terence Li

Abstract: Game devices like the Wiimote and the Kinect are part of living rooms everywhere, and now you can make them part of your programs too! Learn what tools you'll need to connect these devices to your computer, create programs, and see some of the cool things that you can do with them.

Resource(s): Kinect Presentation_up.pptx, Wiimote

How does the brain compute? (Keynote)
Speaker: Geoff Hinton, Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto

Abstract: The brain has billions of rather slow neurons that communicate with each other by sending spikes of electrical activity, usually at a rate of a few spikes per second. It learns by changing the strengths of the connections between pairs of neurons in a way that depends on the activities of the two neurons involved. If we could figure out the rules for how these connection strengths change as a function of the activities we might be able to make machines that could do vision, speech recognition and natural language understanding in the way people do them. The talk will describe some computer simulations of neural networks which demonstrate that recently discovered learning rules can give rise to complicated neural networks that are surprisingly can give rise to complicated neural networks that are surprisingly good at visual recognition and natural language understanding.

How games can enhance education

Speaker Andrew Hogue

Abstract: This talk will present ideas on how game design can aid in education. Game design techniques can be used at the individual-level, course-level, and curriculum-level to enhance students' engagement in the material and its relevance to a wider context. Ideas surrounding game technology and its use in the "classroom of the future" will also be discussed.

Introduction to Java 

Speaker: Hongbing Fan

Abstract: For people who have never used Java before, this session will teach you how to set up the environment, how to start programming Java through one or two examples, and how to deploy Java programs. This one-hour session will be an introduction to syntax and program design principles, as well as some practice in the lab.

Introduction to Python 

Speaker: Francois Pitt

Abstract: Python be nimble, Python be quick. Learn about Python, and what makes it tick! This crash course in Python will show you why many universities are switching to Python for their introductory courses, and how simple it can be to pick up.

Nifty Assignments

Speaker: Karen Reid

Abstract: What if there was a resource where academics around the world shared the best assignments that they've ever seen, along with complete descriptions, handouts, solutions and more? Don't worry Charlie, we've got your golden ticket right here. This session will be conducted by Karen Reid, one of the contributors to the Nifty Assignments website, and should be a boon to any instructor who struggles to find new and exciting assignment ideas.

Object Oriented Programming in Java 

Speaker: Arnold Rosenbloom

Abstract: This intense, hands on session will focus on Object Oriented Programming in Java. We will 'let go of control', 'let everything do what they are supposed to' and use some concrete exercises and examples to cover: UML class diagrams, references, instance variables, methods and inheritance. Be prepared to work together on a small program and your understanding of the Object Oriented paradigm.


Abstract: In this workshop, we'll learn a little about making 2D computer games with Pygame. Pygame is a powerful Python module that makes it easy to display graphics and text, play sounds, obtain input from devices like keyboards and mice, detect collisions, keep track of time -- and it does this through a hardware-independent, high-level Python module. We'll run through little examples of each important Pygame feature, and I'll leave you with the code for a small scrolling game that you can use as the basis for your own Pygame assignments. Please bring a laptop to this session. If you do not have a laptop available, it's OK -- we can work with partners. Since we have only two hours, though, please arrive with Python and Pygame installed and ready-to-go on your laptop. For instructions, please visit: When extracting the zip file of materials, the password is hspart2


Resources for N00bs 
Speaker: Lisa Rubini-LaForest

Abstract: In this roundtable session, participants will learn what resources fellow computer science teachers find most useful. From YouTube to the OERB to your colleagues course binders, both formal and informal resources will be discussed. Participants are encouraged to talk about their favourite resource.

Resource(s): Resources for n00bs (Google Doc)

Tkinter GUI - How To 

Abstract: Introduction to Python's Tkinter library for use in GUI programming. This is a hands-on workshop with complete program examples to demonstrate 8-10 standard GUI widgets. Topics covered include buttons, textboxes, radiobuttons, drawing to a canvas, capturing mouse events, etc. Meant for people with some python experience.

The registration form, which is no longer applicable, can be found here.


Bahen Centre for Information Technology, Toronto, ON M5S 2E4