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2013 Conference (14th)

Conference Details

The 2013 ACSE Conference was held at the University of Toronto's Bahen Centre on Saturday, November 23, 2013.

Twitter (outdated)

The twitter hashtag for this year's conference was #acse13. We encourage you to tweet and use the hashtag during the conference so we can all learn from each other!

Pictures (outdated)

If you take any pictures at the conference, please share them at or tweet them using the hashtag #acse13.

Note: Flickr memberships are free and come with 1 TB of disk quota for your photos!

Keynote Session

Aaron Grant, Founder, Thalmic Labs

Mechatronics Engineer & Entrepreneur focusing on Technology for Natural Human-Computer Interaction (from LinkedIn profile)

Aaron graduated from the Mechatronics Engineering program at the University of Waterloo. He has an extensive software engineering background, having spent time in Silicon Valley working for Zynga. Aaron’s passion for software engineering even led him to create his own embedded microprocessor operating system.

Session Grid


AutoDesk and 3D Printing

Join us in learning how to use Autodesk software to design, create, and print on an Afinia 3D printer. This session will highlight the creation of a 3D object using Autodesk Inventor then using the easy but powerful Afinia 3D printer.

Presenter: Mario DeCarolis, iDESIGN Solutions

Mario DeCarolis - 3D Afinia

Computational thinking across disciplines

Role of computational thinking in problem solving process and development of computational thinking in students through design based activities using graphical Scratch programming platform across disciplines.

Presenter: Hasan Shodiev, Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University
Resource: Hasan Shodiev - Computational Thinking.pdf

Computer Studies VIA Blended Learning

This session will focus on blending F2F and online environments to support learning in the computer studies classroom. Participants will see and discuss student community building, knowledge construction, assessment, and blended activities through Google Apps and a Desire2Learn environment.

Presenter: Karen Beutler, Teacher, Harbord CI, Toronto District School Board

Data Analysis using R with Open Data

In this hands-on session, we will explore Open Data using the R (open source) programming language. Big Data is one of the IT industry's most popular phrases these days. It refers to the collection and analysis of data with: high volume, high velocity, and significant velocity. 

By the end of the session you will have a sense of how R could be used in your Computer Science classes to discuss Big Data and Data Analysis using public data sets. You may want to incorporate R into your Math courses also after the session.

If you want to install R on your laptop prior to the session, download version 2.x from this site:
You can also explore an online course on R that I recently published before the conference:

Presenter: Grant Hutchison, Teacher, Toronto District School Board

Resource: Grant Hutchison - ACSE_Data_Analysis_R.pdf

EduHack: Prototyping Innovative Ideas for Education

EduHack brings together two communities – education and computer science – to focus on problems in education. During a weekend event, teams will come together around a particular problem, collaborate on solutions, intensively design and build prototypes, and present their ideas to a panel of judges. We expect participants from teachers & educators, developers & designers, entrepreneur, and students & parents. At ACSE 2013, we will talk about EduHack, Toronto event and future plans of EduHack. 

Presenter: Mashiyat Ahmed Shah, Founder EduHack

Fractals for the classroom - Cancelled

Fractals are self-similar sets that arise in a huge number of phenomena in Science. Fractals and fractal patterns have been studied extensively from both the theoretical and practical viewpoints. We will illustrate Fractals using various suitable simple examples that can be used either as hands-on exercises in the classroom or can be expanded to longer projects to be conducted in a computer lab.

Presenter: Ilias Kotsireas, Professor, Wilrid Laurier University

Free and Open Source Tools for the Classroom

Free and Open Source software offers industry standard tools that are available often at a low or free cost for academic use. This session offers a survey of useful tools and resources for the class room setting and tips on how to make use of it. 

Presenter: Catherine Leung, Professor, Centre for Development of Open Technology, Seneca College

Hands on – Advanced Python

This workshop assumes a working knowledge of Python fundamentals. If you've attended one of Dan's previous Python workshops and managed to stay awake, you will be fine for this workshop. The target audience for this talk is teachers who are considering switching from Java to Python. We will cover how to do object-oriented programming, including creating classes, constructors, methods, and using inheritance. One other benefit of attending my workshop is that I can promise you that Steve Engels won't be there.

Presenter: Daniel Zingaro, Senior Lecturer, University of Toronto

Hands on – Digital Forensics

This session will be a hands-on exercise in recovering deleted files while explaining proper forensic practice and investigative techniques. The session will focus on both the technical and non-technical skills that a hands-on exercise like file recovery can teach a class. The session will also (attempt) to show how some simple analogies can express very complicated technical concepts, a useful skill when speaking to lawyers and juries (a common requirement in the information security sector).

Presenter: Nick Johnson, Professor, Sheridan College

Resource: Nick Johnson - ACSE-Forensics-2013.pdf

Hands on – Introduction to Android Development

Topics will include: introduction to Android's development framework, installation, and examples of how to develop Android applications.

Presenter: Igor Todorovski, Software Engineer, IBM Canada

Hands on – Python Tips and Techniques

We will introduce the programming language Python. We will assume knowledge of programming in a high-level language, but no prior experience with Python.

Presenter: Anya Tafliovich, Senior Lecturer, University of Toronto

Hands on – MIT App Inventor - Tips and Techniques

You will learn how to use MIT App Inventor in your introductory CS course. Resources will be provided and discussed throughout the workshop. You will also have an opportunity to try some of the activities. 

Presenter: Grant Hutchison, Teacher, Toronto District School Board

Resource: Grant Hutchison - AI_ACSE_2013.pdf

Hands-on – Introduction to Electronics Labs

In this session we will start with a ppt on intro electronics. I then have 6 labs that teachers can work on in groups of 2. The labs are: 1. The Resistor and Current, 2. The Diode, 3. The Capacitor, 4. The Potentiometer, 5. The Transistor, 6. Series and Parallel Circuits. I will also have a solution set of the labs for teachers who attend the session. This session is for a teacher who has to teach electronic circuits and knows nothing about them. Bring a USB key for a copy of the resources and powerpoint. 

Presenter: Robert Ceccato, Teacher, St Joan of Arc, YCDSB 

Resource: Robert Ceccato - Intro to

Hands on - Teaching Programming with Scratch

Learn to use Scratch (a tool from MIT) as a tool for teaching logic, math and programming! We will use Scratch to build a simple game (Lunar Lander) with basic physics and controls, then we will explore all the ways we can customise the game to meet different teaching goals. (If you want to learn more about Scratch, try  To download the offline editor,

Presenter: Kevin Forest, Teacher, Sheridan College

Introducing Programming to Absolute Novices (as early as grade 4)

I run a computer programming club at my kids' school, for grades 4 to 6. I knew from experience that kids that age are capable of learning programming concepts, but today they are not given that opportunity. So, I developed a simple set of tools with as low a barrier to entry as possible, and worked with a teacher at my kids' school to offer the programming club to the junior grades. In this session I will explain what I was aiming for, what has worked and not worked, how the kids made real web pages from the ground up, and what I think they learned along the way. I will also share all the tools and resources for others to build upon and re-purpose. 

Presenters: Julian Egelstaff, Web Developer / Computer Club Leader, Freeform Solutions / Kimberley JPS and Beaches Alternative, TDSB


Introduction to Lego Robotics - Hands On Workshop

Lego Robotics offers and excellent opportunity to combine the computer science and engineering curriculum into one hands-on activity - Robotics! Learn to design, build, and program Lego Robotics. You will work in teams of two to design, build, program and compete in a Lego Robotics Challenge. Learn about Lego Robotics competitions at several Ontario Universities and Colleges. Laptops are welcome as we will install the GUI for the Lego Programming Language to your computer. Matthew Thompson, a certified Lego Robotics Instructor, from Spectrum Software will assist in delivering this workshop. Let the Lego Robotics competition begin! The third generate Lego Robotics EV3, the very latest from Lego, will be revealed to attendees!

Presenter: Clark Chernak, Teacher, Haldimand Norfolk District Catholic School Board (double session)

Inverting your CS courses

An inverted classroom is one in which course material is delivered through resources such as videos and textbooks, and students study course material before attending lecture. During lecture, students complete hands on activities with the support of the instructor. In this session, I'll describe our experience inverting our 1st year introductory programming course. I will report on what we did, the research we conducted to assess it, and what we learned. I will also offer practical advice for those considering inverted teaching.

Presenter: Jennifer Campbell, Senior Lecturer, University of Toronto

Raspberry PI

How this device can be used in schools to help get students more interested in Computer Sciences. I will provided demonstrations on how this device can be used to create cool and interesting projects.

Presenter: Andrew Green, Research Assistant, Seneca College (CDOT)

TDSB eResource - Merged into Blended Learning Session (cancelled)

There has never been a definitive CS textbook designed for high school. A team of CS teachers are developing an online resource that will cover the CS curriculum for grades 10 through 12. The eResource will be a live document that will include code examples, resources etc to enable students and teachers extra resources and support materials that will meet Ontario curriculum guidelines. 

Presenter: Janice Dyke, Teacher, William Lyon Mackenzie CI, TDSB

Things I Wish I Had Known BEFORE I Started Teaching CS

This will be a panel session with several successful educators sharing their experiences and thoughts on best practices, tips for teachers, how to generate more interest in CS, gender-balance issues, how to incorporate cross-curricular ideas into the school, project-based learning, contests etc. The panel discussion will be interactive with plenty of time for audience questions and discussion. 

Presenter: Wendy Powley, Research Associate/Adjunct Lecturer, Queen's University

VEX Robotics in the classroom

Attend this event to learn about new products from Autodesk and VEX Robotics including the new VEX IQ for K-8 robotics. We’ll show you how Autodesk software and curriculum is used with VEX Robotics solutions, including the Autodesk VEX Assembler App...

Mario DeCarolis, iDESIGN Solutions

Resource: Mario DeCarolis - Vex

Payment and Registration Information (outdated)
Please make your payment at the following site before proceeding to the registration form:

Registration is $90 for general attendees or $45 for student teachers or retirees. If you are unable to use Paypal, make sure to bring the amount in cash or cheque on the morning of the conference.

Once you've made your payment, please fill in the registration form at If you have further questions or concerns about the conference, please contact our conference organizer Grant Hutchison at

Please visit here for directions and here for a schedule of the sessions.

[refund policy]

Parking Details (outdated)

Underground parking is available off of Huron St. (link) with an elevator that takes you directly into the Bahen Centre.