SIGCSE Wrap-up 2012

And SIGCSE is over! Raja and I presented the infamous puzzle-based learning (PBL) workshop. It took three years to get into a form where it was accepted – but it was worth it. ALl of the participants seemed to have a good time but, more importantly, seemed to get something useful. The workshop about 12 hours of information jammed into 3 hours but it’s a start.

Today’s lunch was pretty good but, despite the keynote being two really interesting people (Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, from Google’s Big Picture visualisation in Cambridge, MA) and the content being interesting – there wasn’t much room for us to take it further beyond contributing our datasets to the Many Eyes project and letting it go to the world. I suspect that, if this talk had preceded Hal’s yesterday, it would have been much better but, after the walled garden talk, the discussion of what a small group of very clever people had done was both interesting and inspirational – but where was the generative content as a general principle?

I’m probably being too harsh – it’s not as if Fernanda and Martin didn’t give us a great and interesting talk. I suspect that Hal’s talk may just have made me a lot more aware of the many extended fingers in the data pies that I work with on a regular basis.

So let me step back and say that the current focus on presenting data in easily understood ways is important and exciting. It would be fantastic if all of the platforms available were open, extensible and generative. There we go – a nice positive message. Fernanda and Martin are doing great stuff and I’d love to see all of it in the public domain sometime. 🙂

Following the lunch, Raja and I had to set-up for our workshop, and that meant that our audience was going to be the last SIGCSE people we’d see as everyone else was leaving or heading off to another workshop. We think it went well but I guess we’ll see. I’ll try to put a PBL post in the queue before I start jumping on planes again.

Bye, SIGCSE, it’s been fun. See you… next year?

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