Page 1



Creative Coding


TakeFiveWith Ashley Hallihan



THE MAGIC OF CODING Smartphone computing power vs Apollo

Learn how women like Ada Lovelace paved the way for females in computer science & how the gendergap is larger now than it was in the 60s


Brilliant Labs Magazine Winter 2017-18

IN THIS EDITION 1 Editor's note 2 Creative Coding 5 A Frame: Unleashing the magic of VR and AR on the Web. 9 Take 5 With Ashley Hallihan 12 Meet Otto: DYI Bi-Ped Robot 15 NYC Educator's Forum: Authentic Learning 18

Inspiring RockStars: Coding To Learn at Saint Andrews Junior School

21 <coding>+communications challenge 23

Teacher's Guide: Make your holiday lights better with code

26 It Takes A Village: Patrick Hankinson 30 Coding is a Hoot at Coxheath Elementary, Coxheath, NS 32 In Our Classroom: Something to offer 35 français 4.0 38 Geometry Ya'll 42 Kim's Pick 5: Circuit Playground Express 43 The Flying Machine 40 The Magic of Coding 55 What's Next 57 Credits


editor's note



It’s that time of year again when school hallways are

Soon we will start to see great changes with qubits

buzzing with excitement, Christmas concerts have come

and quantum computing. Our team wanted to look at

to an end and teachers and students have earned a well

coding with a different lens to consider how it's

deserved rest!

transforming the world from industrial machines into

Over the past few weeks we've visited many schools

one of inter-connected devices. We thought of the

and communities throughout all four Atlantic provinces,

near future and can see that virtually every facet of our

and each have transformed their streets with thousands

environment (including natural, human and

of festive lights that add to the magic of the season. Think

manufactured objects) will be able to connect with us

about how far we have come in 150 years. Where will be

and with each other. These connected devices, The

in 150 years from now? 150 years ago lights like these

Internet of Things (IoT), will change the way we

would have seemed like magic.

communicate and do business. Other advances in

Today, we know that Thomas Edison transformed the

robotics & artificial intelligence will transform ‘how’ we

world with the invention of the incandescent light bulb and

work and in only three years virtual and augmented

that electricity has become known as the great

reality (VR and AR) is projected to be a $120 billion

“enabler of modern society”.

dollar industry. These are profound changes for the

We wanted to explore this and consider how coding is

world of our youth and as we move further into the

transforming our world and how it has given us amazing

21st century we will see the next great enabler and

technological advances. Not everyone understands how

society will fundamentally transform.

the lights come on, but we certainly don't want to live

Join us as we decode computer science and

without them. Modern digital technology is providing

expose the myths that have kept so many from

this same sense of wonderment and dependency.

learning these valuable skills. Read how grade 1

In this issue of the Brilliant Labs Magazine: The

students in Miramichi are using micro controllers to

Magic of Coding , we explore the digital world around us

support language arts, be inspired by young women

and reveal the benefits of exposing youth

who created a coding club to take ownership over

to Computer Science, Engineering & Information

their education, and learn how one local entrepreneur

Communication Technology (ICT) starting with our early

who was introduced early to coding sold his company

learners. We consider how computer scientists,

for millions and advocates for early exposure to

engineers, innovators, and entrepreneurs are creating

computer programming.

almost anything they want with chains of bits made up of ones and zeros.

Welcome to the magic of coding. Prepare to be amazed!

Photo by Marina Khrapova

Canada needs programmers and information & communication technology (ICT) skills, but more importantly we need youth to want to learn --- and it starts with coding. Coding sometimes is viewed as the buzz phrase among students, teachers and parents, alike. In reality, computer programming had humble beginnings. The world’s first computer language was created in nine months by Ada Lovelace in 1842. Lovelace translated a paper written by Luigi Menabrea, an Italian mathematician, discussing Charles Babbage’s analytical engine. She appended her work with very detailed notes that outlined a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers using Babbage’s machine. Some historians recognize these appendices as being the world’s first computer program. At the beginning of the 19th century, coding was used in early textile arts. The Jacquard loom worked to weave, sew and knit. This is actually the basis of


early coding inspiration. Up and over, knit one, purl


makes for a great character in a spy novel or movie,

two, following a pattern and displaying algorithms in a truly artful way. Somewhere along the way, coding evolved from a set of instructions to being reserved for only the brightest computer scientists. Our culture has shaped it into a role primarily for a super intelligent person who like Hackers. We know it's so much more than that. Coding has a far greater reach than what's seen through a pop culture lens.

A discussion with Erica Phillips, Vice Principal

It's time to demystify coding. What better way than

&Laura Kennedy, Teacher, at Sir Charles Tupper

to visit Sir Charles Tupper Elementary school. Here,

Elementary School, Halifax, NS

students and teachers started their coding journey

By Sarah Ryan, Brilliant Labs

during the Hour of Code (an international event held

Co-Director, NS

every December in support of computer science week). We were met by two educators, both revealing the struggles, fears, and learning that came with introducing coding to their students. -2-

Laura Kennedy, grade three teacher at Sir Charles Tupper Elementary, shares her jouney with creative coding: Our official journey with coding began after seeing a tweet from the technology integration team (@TILTHRSB) about signing up for the Hour of Code (code.org) a few years ago. It was a good experience, but there were a few hurdles. First, we had to find out what coding was and how it could be integrated into the classroom. After trying out a few of the programs, we quickly realized how easy it was to move through the various “levels” that were involved in the learning curve. The obvious educational connections were logical reasoning, sequencing (first, next, then), patterning, planning, and collaboration. In our class of grade 3 and 4 students, we tested programs, discussed perseverance and the necessity of teamwork. We encountered a few technical issues, but in the true spirit of perseverance.... we troubleshooted as a class and learned that it was better to explore together than to pack it in and give up! As a group, we figured how to get a Lightbot character to make it through a maze of blocks. We were using computational language and worked through missteps along the way. It was impressive to see how every student was fully engaged--without raising their hands or being chosen one-by-one to participate. Enthused discussions continued through the lunchtime bell. Students encouraged each other to share ideas of how to add lines of code.

https://studio.code.org/s/course2/stage/14/puzzle/1 Students create bracelets as a binary representations of the first letter of their name. Students learn that data can be represented and stored in more than one way.

There were celebrations when we achieved our goal and it was unilateral for the group, as opposed to each child being selfcongratulatory. Many students went home to explore coding during their free time and proudly returned the next day with certificates of achievement!

"First, we had to find out what coding was and how it could be integrated into the classroom. After trying out a few of the programs, we quickly realized how easy it was..."

After a review of the language used, we noticed that it was all directional language; up, down, over, left. right, hop, jump, lift and so forth. We related this to the on/off of a lightswitch, the right/left of a doorknob...and it opened up a new level of understanding. From there we related coding to circuits (which isn't ‘officially’ part of the curriculum for another three grade levels). We began exploring online programs, as well as handson games and activities that further broadened our experience, including Circuit Madness, Snap Circuits, Binary Code bracelets, and even unplugged activities using Solo cups. In addition to the “Ah Ha” moment of directional -3-

thinking/language, students were quick to notice that coding can be related to everyday activities. Computational thinking is everywhere! A simple set of directions using descriptive language helps students refine the steps of everyday tasks such as sharpening a pencil or brushing your teeth. Each part of the process gives necessary information and when strung together, these commands create an action. Branching out to other classes, we shared our learning with others on a one-to-one basis. This helped teachers who were new to the concept or unsure of how to begin the process. They became more comfortable inviting other forms of digital technology into their classes, such as Makey Makeys, Spheros, Bee Bots, Rapid Router, Co Spaces, Micro:bit, and Compose Yourself music cards. Once teachers and students have experience with coding using one type of tool, other devices

are more easily understood. The willingness to try and make mistakes during the learning is more accepted by all. Lessons on perseverance become more real and took hold as participants understood that each piece of the puzzle helps to eliminate unnecessary information or show pertinent information. KinderLab Kibo robot, Micro Bit devices, Buzzbot, Kamigami, Root Robot and Little CodeR cards are some of the devices that we used as we continued our exploration of how to integrate coding in our classroom on a daily basis. The next steps were to leverage our new-found coding skills to demonstrate learning or integrate it in academic presentations. For instance, Makey Makey can be used to show patterns. Bee Bots can be used to practice sounds, ordinal numbers, skip counting or directionality. Ozobots were used during a novel study whereby students created a mural backdrop of the setting and created a pathway to discuss the plot. Students composed their own music with coding cards and used it to create a song to celebrate our school office administrative assistant. Vice Principal & grade 4 Teacher, Erica Phillips reflected on her in class coding experiences: I was an early advocate for coding in the classroom. My students became champions because I took a leap to try something outside of my initial “comfort zone”.

"I was quick to discover that when it comes to encouraging a coding mindset you can never start off with students who are “too young” (as it is sometimes argued)."

The opportunities that followed the introduction of regular coding started from day one and haven’t stopped yet. One of my students, a grade three boy, had struggled with social relationships with his peers for a while. When we started coding things changed in a few ways. First of all, he just got it. He was an early adopter, and never turned down the opportunity of challenge--- whether it be with the Makey Makey, code.org, or even Tynker. This young man became the classroom expert. He found confidence and new ways to interact with his peers. He volunteered to help another classroom, not only assisting in one case (with the Makey Makey) but teaching what it was, how to use it, and trouble-shooting. I was quick to discover that when it comes to encouraging a coding mindset you can never start off with students who are “too young” (as it is sometimes argued). I had simply mentioned the term “coding" to my grade one class and immediately a young boy piped up that he “was a coder”. The very next day he brought in Cubetto (a wooden coding robot https://www.primotoys.com) so that he could share what he found to be so exciting about it and coding, in general. Coding crosses language barriers (have you ever noticed that code.org offers 52 languages when you login?!). A new student who had recently moved from Beijing had very little English when he joined my classroom. I had the Makey Makey out set up as a piano with PlayDoh. We were working out various patterning exercises. When I began to play the pattern and this particular student would instantly ask “I play?”. -4-

Of course I encouraged him to do so and he played O’Canada on the Makey Makey. The whole class was blown away. This provided an opportunity for me to learn more about this child that he could express with words, and it only skyrocketed from there. I have found that there are many important take away lessons from my journey of coding in the classroom: you should never underestimate your students. Never be worried that they know more--chances are that they do...and that is great! Let them lead! Everyone is at a different place in the journey of coding in the classroom. Just like in “adult” life, there are many who will seem to be ahead and often are willing to lend a hand to others. It’s really the students who become the biggest advocates of their learning, resulting in a true ownership of their education. Natural collaboration emerges between groups of students whom you wouldn’t expect to find common ground, yet somehow they are integrating their skills and interests seamlessly. When students create, they become leaders of their own learning.

A-Frame: Unleashing the magic of VR & AR on the Web


Teachers and students can create immersive experiences to support the learning of any subject matter area while at the same time taking an opportunity to develop some incredibly valuable digital

We explore the different

skills. Virtual Reality has made some

technologies harnessing the power

significant gains in both technology and

of the web to create

awareness in the past few years. Companies

immersive Virtual Reality (VR), and

like Facebook are investing $Billions into headsets like the Oculus Rift and the soon

Augmented Reality (AR)

to be released, and more consumer friendly,


Oculus GO. Where the HTC Vive has helped Oculus usher in a new era of high

By Staff Writer, Brilliant Labs

production virtual worlds and gaming, other solutions like the Gear VR, Google Daydream, and various iterations of Google Cardboard make VR accessible to more people than ever. -5-

Microsoft has also joined the movement recently with something relatively new called Windows Mixed Reality. Brilliant Labs is helping students of all grade levels experience VR not only for immersive learning and to help raise awareness, but so they can play an active role in shaping their digital futures. With many Middle School and High School students developing Virtual Worlds, one of the biggest barriers to entry other than the hardware, has been the software. The development environments usually require high powered gaming PCs and overcoming the steep

Image courtesy of Microsoft. Find image and article: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and mixed reality headsets available today https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/10/17/windows-10-fallcreators-update-and-mixed-reality-headsets-available-today-announcingsurface-book-2/#7rMXRzLLCo4RbybG.97

learning curves of Unity3D and C# or the even more complex Unreal Engine and C++. Where learning these skills can certainly future proof students, WebVR offers a much simpler and accessible path to

In less than 2 lines of HTML code you can create a VR

student developed VR applications to support a

world. Only 2 years ago, this would have been impossible

variety of curricular outcomes across any subject

and as previously mentioned would have required a high-

area. Let’s remember, the end goal here isn’t to teach

powered gaming pc, a complex development environment

the technology, or its use, but instead using the

with a steep learning curve and proficiency with C# or

technology to help students better engage and

C++. Now, AR and VR can be accomplished with a

understand the curricular content.

simple text editor and a web browser. A VR world created with 2 lines of HTML code wouldn’t have much in it but a

Developing AR or VR games and applications offers

geometric shape, like a Red Sphere for example, but

students the opportunity to do more than just sharpen

when considering the low barrier to entry, hopefully you

their coding chops, but allows them to get involved in

can start to see the potential of A-Frame. Our 4 line

Graphic Arts, Sound and Video Design, 3D

program would be cutting corners, wouldn’t respect an

modelling, project management, and integrate

official HTML structure, but it works and you’ve created a

subject matter in fun and engaging ways. Teachers

simple VR world which is pretty awesome! Add another

who don’t have the same students all day long can

few lines of code and you’d not only have a full HTML

look for creative ways to collaborate with other

document but you’d have a skybox, a plane, and three

teachers from various subject areas to involve

objects such as a sphere, a cube, and a cylinder which

students in project based learning.


can be interchangeable with any 3D model.



You Try! Objective: Build a simple VR world using A-Frame.io. For documentation and tutorials please visit www.aframe.io

Step 1. Explore! It’s not always fun to start building something without knowing what you’re getting into so why don’t you check out www.vr-brilliantlabs.glitch.me to see the type of VR you can develop with A-Frame.

Step 2. Sign up for an account at www.glitch.com This isn’t necessary but it will allow you to save progress and return anytime to work on your project. Visit glitch.com and click on the A-Frame block or head directly to glitch.com/aframe to see all the different examples and starter projects available to remix as you begin your journey.

Step 3. Choose and preview some projects, then select one that’s of interest to you and view the source code.

Step 4. Check out the different HTLM <tags> and look for those that are called <a-scene> … </a-scene> and <a-assets> … </a-assets> Other than the <script> tag pointing to A-Frame, these are the tags that enable the use of VR. Take it further by diving into an example and remixing someone’s code! Check out: www.vr-brilliantlabs.glitch.me and have fun editing the code and making your own VR friendly website! www.aframe.io

Step 5. Create your own VR world, explore the different tutorials, starter projects, and the HTML and AFrame Scene and Assets contained within to edit the

2 lines of code which when written in a text editor, saved as .html, and opened in browser, will create VR. Use WASD, arrows, or your favourite controller to navigate.

various elements and import your own objects, images, and video.


Don’t have a VR device or a Google Cardboard to view in virtual reality? No problem!   You can still develop awesome interactive 3D websites and experiences using A-Frame!

Augmented Reality AR Description: Augmented Reality harnesses the camera functionality of your device to superimpose an object or experience onto your screen and allow you to interact with your environment. Objective: Create a simple Augmented Reality experience using A-Frame, an AR Marker, and a 3D object. Similar to our VR, we will be using A-Frame and Glitch.com but this time with some added libraries from AR.js and a lot of code written by Jerome Etienne to save us time!

Step 4: Choose and train your Marker. There are pre-set markers available for use or you can create your own custom AR makers by visiting: https://jeromeetienne.github.io/AR.js/three.js/ex amples/marker-training/examples/generator.html Step 5: Try it out! Visit your Glitch URL with your device, enable the camera when prompted, and point your device at the marker. Voila! You should have your chosen object hovering on your screen! If not, check on all your previous steps and if you’re still having issues then please share your code with us and we will support your efforts! For more info: https://aframe.io/blog/arjs/

Step 1: Check it out! Visit https://ar-brilliantlabs.glitch.me with your web cam enabled computer, or a phone or tablet. Be sure to allow the site to access your camera so it can read the AR Marker. Step 2: You will need an AR marker like the one in the bottom corner of this page. If you’re using a tablet or phone then you can use the digital copy of this magazine on a separate device, print off your own physical marker, or search “hiro marker AR” on your favourite search engine.

Markers are used by the device's camera to trigger specific actions. Your device depends on the code you write to know what to do when it sees a specific marker.

Step 3: The code! Create your glitch.com account if you haven’t already and create a new html project. Navigate to Thanks to the great work of developer Jerome Etienne and a JavaScript library called AR.js, we have an easy to framework which we can drop into our code to enable AR functionality. All we have to do now is figure out the object we want presented when the camera points at the marker. Looking to give your students a head start for WebVR or AR? These technologies use HTLM and JavaScript and students of all ages can learn the design patterns, structures, and syntax of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in fun and engaging ways. Check out Codemoji and ask us for a free code if interested. Atlantic Canada’s EduCode also offers a platform to help teach students JavaScript and more. There are also Code.org, Code Academy, YouTube, and many choices out there! www.aframe.io


TAKE FIVE WITH ASHLEY HALLIHAN Miramichi Valley High School Photos by Alex Leslie We interviewed Ashley to see why he was inspired to become a teacher and what he's learned. How long have you been teaching? This is my 16th year of teaching at Miramichi Valley High School. I currently teach Foundations of Math 11, Environmental Science 120, Coop (MAKE) 120 and Advanced Technology 120 where students who have finished Coop (MAKE) are back in the MVHS MakerSpace for the second time. I actually started my teaching career in my 2nd year of university where I would get around 20 supply days each spring with a local permit. Why did you become a teacher? In high school, I helped a teacher coach middle school soccer and I also taught some lessons in cadets as being one of the leaders in our squadron. Both of these experiences, along with having a mother as a teacher, helped guide me into the profession of teaching.

I must also admit that having the summer months off to enjoy my passion of Atlantic Salmon fishing is a great perk to the job too! In your lifetime has anyone inspired you to change your mind, for the better, to overcome an obstacle? One of my mentors was a salmon fishing guide named William Bacso, who I worked with during my university years as a part time caretaker/guide for Wade’s Fishing Camps. Willy was from Hungary and he fled with his sister at a young age to Canada. He always had a passion for learning any subject while trying out new tech gadgets…a common theme for both of us. One important lesson he taught me was to take risks and not be afraid of failure. With the help of Willy and fellow guide Jason Curtis, we created a Fly Fishing Program for the youth at MVHS – a unique program that no one had implemented before at the high school-8-level.

Since the creation of this club in 2008, I have become more open to trying new things and stepping out of my comfort zone all in the name of student learning. How did you first get involved in MakerEd/Coding and how have you incorporated it into your lessons? My first experience with Maker-Ed was through our District Technology team showing me a video of an underwater robot exploring the Bedford Basin in Nova Scotia. These guys knew I was passionate about the Miramichi River and thought I would be interested in implementing this technology into either my Environmental Science course or our Fishing Club activities. From that moment, we applied and received funding from Brilliant Labs to undertake this project at MVHS. With support of administration and fellow technology teacher Kathy MacDonald, we were able to incorporate the OpenROV robotics project into the

"My passion for the Miramichi River inspired our first underwater robotics project ." Ashley Hallihan

Computer Science 11 course. These students became actively engaged in their learning and were eager to take on other Maker Movement technologies. From their interest, we decided to offer a one credit Coop 120 course nicknamed MAKE in their second semester. The MVHS MakerSpace was literally made by these students who developed projects using a variety of technologies such as: Sparkfun Inventor's Kits, Makey Makeys, Drones, MATE ROV, and PrinterBot 3D Printing. We moved from a small isolated classroom with a few netbooks into a transformed lab we now call MVHSMake. Students designed and finished this learning space themselves and it continues to develop each semester through student projects. We've been talking a lot about "Coding to Learn" in this issue... what does this phrase mean to you? Coding to Learn to me means that we can all learn through code whether it be a specific computer language to control a device or following a set of procedures in building a project. The beauty of todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s code is that it's easily accessed and applied at any grade level. We have gone beyond the days of changing a color of text on a screen or clicking a button on a webpage. Now, code gives immediate feedback to the user through the actions of device whether it be a Raspberry Pi Sense Hat or a mBot moving by itself while emitting beeps to the tune of Jingle Bells. Code has evolved into a language that has applications in every subject area. More importantly, our youth of today will need experience with code as they take on the jobs of tomorrow.

"We moved from a small isolated classroom with a few netbooks into a transformed lab we now call MVHSMake. Students designed and finished this learning space themselves and it continues to develop each semester through student projects."

Can you think of a project that helped a student (or students) improve their math or literacy skills through coding? How did it make you feel? One group of students designed a Sphero course made of wood with ramps and turns where the Sphero travelled according to the code in their program. This challenge came after the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;wowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; factor of using a Sphero for augmented reality and playing around with the wide variety of apps designed to showcase the features of this device. They started learning to code with Sphero and designing a course with masking tape on the floor. Math and Physics quickly became part of their learning as they explored measurement, angles, velocities and friction. Carpentry skills were applied as they wanted to make the track more concrete. Literacy is always a regular component in the MakerSpace as students need to maintain a daily journal, provide summaries online and present their projects to their peers as well as guests twice a semester. All of these subjects were considered when developing their code.


What is the funniest thing that has happened to you while in the classroom during a project? How did you and/or the students learn from it? A group of students had designed a payload box attached to our Parrot drone so they could test the carrying capacity of the drone and the impact this added weight would have on piloting. I allowed them to test their build in the hallway not realizing that their new box would now create a fixed distance for the ultrasonic sensor. Using the auto take off, the drone kept going up in the air until it crashed into the ceiling and fell back down to the ground. The students were nervous that I was going to be upset because of their crash. However, I enjoyed their failure as it provided a great learning opportunity about importance of prototype design and understanding the mechanics of the device including the role of the ultrasonic sensor. After this lesson, their nerves shifted into determination of designing a new platform that would not interfere with this sensor.

Has a student ever inspired you? How did their work, actions, or "Ah Ha!" moment change your teaching for the better? Last spring, I had a former student send me an email about how he was thankful for the learning opportunities provided in Make. He was a student from the first group of students who took the course when it was just being developed and to be honest, I thought he was a student who did not buy into that learning environment. Instead, he learned many skills that were beneficial to his studies beyond high school and appreciated all of the learning opportunities within the class. I must admit I was surprised, as the first version of the course was a learning experience for everyone, myself included! The course has become more organized and the level of student projects continues to amaze me each semester. This moment provided me with the justification that the Maker movement does have a role to play to developing students at any grade level.

What advice would you give to teachers who are intimidated by coding and makered projects? Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be afraid to take risks and step outside your comfort zone! Maker-Ed and coding involves a lot of learning where students and teachers are working together. The teacher takes on the role of being a facilitator while the student takes ownership of their learning. Be prepared to make mistakes with the students and use these moments as opportunities to further develop their understanding of their project. A great deal of learning can be explored from failures which in turn can lead toward future successes. Maker-Ed provides a learning environment where students have to strive toward their project objectives and goals. Whether or not the goals are met, students gain an appreciation of their learning while achieving a sense of pride in what they have done throughout their project. The focus needs to be on the process not the product. The highlights will come when both the process and the product are achieved!

take f ive

1. Take y our pas sion and 2. You d apply it on't nee in class. d a makers Get the p a tools, fu ce to in novate. nding, or at a tim s u pport o e. ne proje 3. Codin ct g to Le a r n m through eans we code wh can all le e arn t her it b compute e a specif r langua ic ge or f procedu ollowing res in b a set of uilding a 4. Take project. on the r ole of b the stud eing a f ent take acilitator ownersh 5. There while ip of their will be a le arning. learning students curve f and teac o r both hers wh of learn o take o ing. Th n this type e focus process needs to not the be on th product come w e . The h hen both ig h li g h the pro ts will are ach cess an ieved! d the pr oduct -11-

MEET OTTO. The DIY Bi-ped Robot I first met Peter during one of our summer tech sessions at a Halifax Central Library. His enthusiasm

Project by Peter Altenkirk Grade 9 Student, Central Colchester Junior High Introduction by Sarah Ryan, Co-Program Director, NS

for all things Maker and Tech was contagious! He was eager to help our tech counsellors tweak settings in Cura so that our Monoprice 3D printer would work at it’s optimal capacity. That’s when we started chatting about his love of making and how it evolved over the years since an early age. He’s been a true maker-- he loves inventing, in general, and has been involved with his student-lead Makerspace team since the initial development of the space at Central Colchester Junior High. His science teacher, Diane, mentioned an amazing project that he had been working on that involved 3D design, printing, electronics, and coding-THE whole Maker “works”! I just had to ask him if he would share it with others! Luckily, he agreed to and what a fun project it is! We just can’t wait to see what else comes from Peter and other students at CCJHS! -12-


Otto is the first robot that I built this year. I’ve built two others since. When I decided to build a robot, I was expecting lots of time to be spent on complex programming and trial-anderror prototyping. What I didn’t know was that almost anyone with a bit of programing knowledge and access to a 3D printer can make their own little “Otto” bot in under an hour. This is where my school’s Makerspace came in. I am on a Science enrichment plan at Central Colchester Junior High and this gives me a lot of opportunity to experiment and learn about robotics.

BUILDING "OTTO" Step one in the building process was to wire up all the sensors, motors, and the buzzer, and insert them in the 3D printed Otto shell. I used the 3D printer in my school makerspace for my Otto, but a 3D printed shell comes with the kit. It was necessary to apply a few drops of hot glue to the leg joints, but aside from that everything should hold together fine. It is important to attach the servo motors to the feet while the motors are at 90 degrees, otherwise the Otto won’t walk correctly. I wrote a quick sketch (code) that set all my servos to 90 using an Arduino Uno board from the makerspace, and this made it very easy to construct properly. The Otto needed 4 AA batteries to operate, and once all the parts were in place, I powered it up and moved on to the programming.

A full Otto DIY robot kit can be purchased from the official otto DIY website, and all the code is free to download from github. The Otto has 4 servo motors to help it walk, a buzzer to let it beep, giggle (and even fart!), and a distance sensor to keep it from walking into walls. All the systems are controlled by an arduino nano. For all those who aren't familiar with arduino code, there are hundreds of projects and tutorials to help you start learning programming, including a whole "getting started" section on the arduino website that I would recommend reading before attempting this project.

Otto mid build. The wires can get pretty tangled if you’re not careful.


The Otto’s foot with servo showing. Normally the servo is housed in the leg piece.

The arduino IDE (the program for arduino boards) uses two types of codes, called sketches. Each sketch serves a different purpose. There is a running sketch (The part that you upload to the arduino board) and a Library reference (A type of sketch you download from the internet onto your computer). The Libraries for an Otto are available to download from github, and they are an extremely important part of the code. The purpose of a Library is to make it easier to write the running sketch. At the beginning of the Otto running sketch, there are several lines that read #include _______ This is the part of the sketch that connects to the Library. For example, instead of writing this in a running sketch:

The Otto uses a lot of libraries, so the actual running sketch is pretty straightforward. I ended up modifying my Otto to run instead of walk, and the changes were easy to make.

The Nano all powered up. This was before the Otto sketch was uploaded.

digitalWrite(4, HIGH); delay(500); digitalWrite(4, LOW);

The loop: if(obstacleDetected){ // Otto.sing(S_surprise); // Otto.playGesture(OttoHappy); delay(50); Otto.walk(4,700,-1);

You can write: LED.Blink(500); This means that using a Library saves you time when writing a running sketch, and it makes it easier to find bugs or mistakes.

Otto.turn(6,700,1); Otto.walk(5,500,1);

The running sketch for an arduino is uploaded to the arduino board, and it tells the board what to do and how to do it. With arduino, a running sketch always has two thing included: a void setup section and a void loop section. These parts of the sketch pretty much are what they sound like. The setup tells the arduino board how it will do things. (example: use pin 7 to 11 as inputs, and 4 to 6 are outputs.) The loop part just repeats over and over and is the part of the sketch where you tell Otto to run, for example.

A size comparison of the Arduino Nano and a USB plug.

} else{ Otto.walk(1,800,1); obstacleDetector(); //on } All in all, the funnest part of this project was watching Otto walk down the halls!

The Nano connected to the computer while I was Uploading a test sketch. -14-








K A Y O E -15-


Our trip to Maker Faire New York began on the Friday with the Educators Forum, a day long series of presentations and forums designed to spark discussions and inspire new strategies amongst the educators that were present. Throughout this day of learning, our cohort was engaged in discussions about new technologies and innovative practices and left eager to bring all that they had learned to their classroom. With everything that we took from this amazing day, we decided to focus on three quotes that really summed up the discussions. “When you give them access” One question that is often posed when it comes to makerspaces and the maker movement is: “when do you give them access and at what capacity”? This question was raised during the Educator's Forum on the Friday before Maker Faire. The quick answer is “Right away.” It is important to introduce students to the makerspace as a resource from the beginning. Getting students comfortable with the makerspace early on is essential to building confident

makers that can utilize the makerspace effectively. The intention here is not to just throw our students into the mix and hope for the best. Introducing the makerspace to students in a way that allows the resource to be scaffolded is key to facilitating the gradual independence of your learners in this space. “Agency, Authenticity and Audience” One of the take home messages that really resonated with us is the importance of agency, authenticity and audience in the makerspace. We at Brilliant Labs focus a great deal of our efforts on ensuring that students are engaged in authentic learning and working to solve real world problems. If we start with this we are working towards making sure that the student is the driving force behind the learning. If we succeed at this, then agency simply becomes a natural reality. The student is engaged in a learning process for which they feel a sense of ownership and feel that they are actually making a difference in the lives of others in their local and global communities. Finally, having the opportunity to take what they have created outside of the makerspace to a wider audience allows them to gain perspective. Getting the input and feedback from others validates what they are creating and helps them focus their efforts.


“Purposeful Play” Our students already learn a tremendous amount through discovery and inquiry, both of which are a big part of the makerspace environment. Letting our students explore on their own and make mistakes leads to a higher level of comprehension and less hesitancy in the makerspace. In saying this though, what sometimes is lacking is the opportunity for us as educators to do the same. If we are encouraging our students to explore and make mistakes we should be okay to do the same. Too often we get hung up on the idea that we need to be experts on everything in the makerspace. The idea of the maker mentality though is that it’s okay not to be an expert at everything. Furthermore, we have miniature experts at our disposal; our students. Perhaps it’s time we start including them in this support network and start learning together, and from each other, through purposeful play.

Our trip to Maker Faire New York In our last issue we mentioned that Brilliant Labs was proud to announce that 48 New Brunswick teachers have agreed to become members of an initial Cohort of Brilliant Educators. While it was almost 4 months ago, our teachers are busy collaborating and working through their ideas that were generated at our first meeting that was located at the World Maker Faire in New York City back in September. The rationale for the establishment of this cohort is simple: Create a network of teachers across all areas of New Brunswick who have adopted the principles of Maker Education in their own instructional practice. We cannot be more impressed with the diversity of educators who have assembled to contribute to the cohort. In addition to having both Francophone and Anglophone sectors represented, there are administrators, district technology mentors and teachers from every level of education. It is not often that we have the opportunity to share experiences

and develop an implementation strategy with as many like-minded individuals as what we had in New York. In fact, even on the flight home there were extremely motivated teachers collaborating and sharing notes across the isle of unsuspecting non-Brilliant Labs cohort passengers.

Currently, the Brilliant Labs team is preparing for the second cohort meeting which will happen across two different locations before the end of February. Without revealing too many details of the next meeting, one underlying theme to these meetings will be no and low-tech making.

In addition to the support generated across such a network of educators, the number and quality of projects that these educators have begun with their students is incredible. Many cohort members email us at Brilliant Labs expressing concern about a certain technical aspect of their project, only to have another cohort member, from another area of the province help them troubleshoot their issue. This has lead to the creation of student oriented projects including:

If you are in New Brunswick and interested in collaborating with a local member of our cohort, please feel free to reach out to jacob@brilliantlabs.ca and we will point you in the right direction.

Electronic Greeting Cards Interactive Bulletin Board Team of student Maker Instructors Wearable Electronic enabled teddy Choose your own adventure math game Cardboard Carnival Games Activities to grow district capacity for maker ed




Imagine a packed auditorium, standing room only. You move through the crowd working your way to the front where the fans' energy is electric. The lights go down and the sound of the room erupts. You look up to the dark stage to hear a single strum of a guitar - then silence. The person in back of you taps your shoulder like he’s Rolling Stone’s no.1 pick for the greatest guitarist ever. “I’m just like Jimi now” he boasts laughing and strumming his smartphone. The lights go up to reveal iROCK the first socially orchestrated Android and iOS interactive robotic band. Sounds like a near fiction story published by Wired right? Maybe, we'll have to wait and see. For now, we know the students at Saint Andrews Junior School are on the right track.


The students of Saint Andrew's Junior School (SAJS) in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, may not be filling auditoriums with the fictional iROCK products, but the initiatives happening in the SAJS makerspace under the leadership of teachers Anthony MacPherson and Catharine MacDonald, is inspirational and are proving that coding can bring students together, build ownership and create the foundation for lifelong 21st century skills. Anthony MacPherson is a music teacher at SAJS. We asked him what makes coding, robotics and maker education so magical at his school. This year we have been offering Makerspace as part of the Technology Education cycle as well as an afterschool program. The space serves 575 students from grades 5 to 8. Our students are a diverse cross section of youth from grades 5-8. During the scheduled times, it’s the grade 7 students who come in groups of 8-13 that are assigned to work in our makerspace as part of their regular schedule.

The after school group is a good mix of 5 boys and 7 girls of varying backgrounds and ages, whose imaginations ignite everytime they walk into the space.

We are seeing students not only increasing their understanding of basic code structure, but they are working more collaboratively to solve problems as a team.

Students are using Greenscreens to create videos for French, Social Studies and English to name a few. This allows for an extra level of immersion and integration of some of the available technologies in the school environment.

This is a perfect example of how computer programming was traditionally thought of as being an isolated practice, when in truth it is no different than writing a story that is later used to create, or inspire, another piece of art like a film or song. We need coders, designers and builders to collaborate to bring new innovation to life. Coding is so much more than learning rules, syntax and symbols. It's the foundation for 21st century skills and helps students take more ownership over projects. These are skills our students need to be competitive in the economies of the tomorrow. That's what we're doing here, they're not learning code… they’re coding to learn.

Students light up when new projects are introduced. They value the ability to be independent, come up with their own solutions and have a true sense of accomplishment when they are successful. These students appreciate having ownership over their progress, from start to finish. We have seen how using robotic tools, like Lego Mindstorm EV3, helps students build and design not only with their hands, but with code. The brilliant thing about robotics in the schools is that it moves students away from solitary work with a computer to actively designing and socializing with each other.


Many classes outside of the makerspace, however engaging, often don’t have the same level of ownership.

The group duct taped the motor next to the light switch, programed a hummingbird using scratch and added a sound sensor to detect the noise of the door opening to trigger the servo to activate the light.

Lego Mindstorm EV3, Robotic Strumming Project

Over the years we have had several red zone students who have really gravitated towards the program. We often get students who have difficulties engaging in the regular classes; nonetheless, they are proving to not only be engaged in the projects, but most have been very successful. This is a real win for everyone. We’ve been challenging the students to step out of their comfort zone and start developing robotic solutions to accomplish tasks that range from automatic light switches to selfstrumming guitars. Many of the students are involved in block based coding initiatives using Lego Robotics, Finch, Hummingbird and of course Scratch. The students who worked on the light switch project were some of our older students, grade 8s. They had remarked that in some of the buildings around town, there are lights that detect when someone enters the room and turn off once they leave saving energy. They decided to make something similar using a servo motor.

Micro Servo SG90

This was a practical application of coding with Scratch and was a great way to apply concepts like “if/then/else” and things like sound thresholds using less than or equal to. The self-strumming robot acoustic guitar stemmed from the group’s desire last year to make a “Robot Band.” Many of the students who are part of the makerspace also take private music lessons or participate in the school’s band program that I facilitate. The Robot Band project was coded using Logo Mindstorm EV3 robot. The students determined there was a big hurdle using the programming of the EV3 which was how to strum different rhythms at a variety of meters depending on what song they wanted the robot to strum. The strumming mechanism was pretty ingenious. Initially students attempted to have a motor that rotated an arm forward, reverse, forward and reverse. This mechanism proved to be very clunky and didn't sound very “musical” since the arm had to physically change direction. Their solution was to build different blocks of code to execute each strum. Knowing what didn’t work helped the team figure out what would and eventually they designed a crank mechanism that spun in only one direction. The difference was heard in the pivot point causing their mechanical hand-pick to strum backward for half of a rotation and forward for the rest of the rotation. This is similar to the way the crank arm moves in a crankshaft piston. -20-

This enabled students to use a simple loop and pause code block to strum in whatever pattern they wanted instead of the clunkier and more sporadic forward-reverse code they had written first time making the sound more fluid. This may not be the iROCK band imagined at the beginning of our tour, but in the future this project could inspire students to consider that they are only limited by their imaginations. Because once they learn the value of collaboration and what's possible with code they very well could create an interactive robotic band. The goal for our makerspace in the remaining months is to continue on-going projects and initiatives while starting to incorporate Raspberry Pi microcomputers as coding stations. Thanks to the help and funding of Brilliant Labs together with the support of co-program directors Kim Desveaux and Sarah Ryan, the SAJS is ready to offer students the guidance they need to transition from using block code to programing languages like Python. This transition will allow students to develop their programming skills to create projects with LEDs, motors and maybe someday soon we can move into the IoT landscape. It’s a great time to be a maker and inspire rockstar coding.

<coding> + communications challenge. Communications technology in North America has a long cryptic history. From deciphering smoke signals to Morse code, long distance communications were limited to line-of-sight or short BY KAYOE STEWART BRILLIANT LABS INNOVATION COORDINATOR

range transmissions. It wasn't until Italian physicist


most thought it would be impossible to broadcast

Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean, Dec.12, 1901. Until then, beyond 300 km. Marconi proved them wrong when the Morse-code signal â&#x20AC;&#x153;sâ&#x20AC;? travelled more than 3,200 km from England to St. John's NL. This past November, more than a century later, we celebrated how far wireless communications have come by launching a new innovation challenge that will span Atlantic Canada and give students a glimpse into the making of a wireless device.


On November 16th, Brilliant Labs welcomed students & teachers, in person and virtually through our telepresence robot and Google Hangout, to George Street Middle School. Once everyone was settled Bruce MacDougall, Rogers Communications Regional Vice President for Enterprise Business in Atlantic Canada, announced a generous grant of $25,000 from the Ted Rogers Scholarship Fund to launch a suite of innovation challenges. What better way to kick off new challenges than to recognize Marconi's efforts by having the students create their own wireless device with the help of some code and the Micro:bit. To help explain the challenge, Taylor, a grade eight student at George Street Middle School, led everyone though an activity inspired by the Rogers Coding & Communications Challenge. Teachers passed out the innovation kits and Taylor asked students to hook-up Micro:bits and code them. After about 20 mins the students were able to send and receive Morse code messages to each other. Soon after, Taylor accepted a plaque from Rogers commemorating the partnership.

Left: Bruce MacDougall sharing a Ted Rogers Scholarship Fund Partnership plaque with Taylor, Grade 8, George Street Middle School

If you are interested in taking on this challenge, please visit our website at https://www.brilliantlabs.ca/rogerschallenge. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have Micro:bits at your school? No problem. Fill out

In the few weeks after this event, we have had many teachers and schools from all over Atlantic Canada signing up for the challenge. Incredibly, we have had a few teachers already reaching out via twitter with photos and videos highlighting their students working their way through the challenge. This is fantastic, as these challenges took us quite a while to work through ourselves. We are eager to see how people from all over our region are going to find innovative solutions to these challenges. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget to use the #RogersBLChallenge hashtag when you are sharing.

the form at the bottom of the challenge page to receive a Rogers Micro:bit Challenge package complete with a lesson plan and everything you will need to tackle this challenge.



TEACHER'S GUIDE Make your Holiday Lights Better with Code and Arduino


Do you have an Arduino in you makerspace, but aren't sure where to start? Let’s take some time explore Arduino and have a little holiday fun! In this tutorial we will explore the Arduino and learn to write our first program.

What is an “Arduino”? An Arduino is a microcontroller that can be used to receive and send signals to control electronic components like LEDs, piezo buzzers, sensors, motors and lots more! In other words, it is a small device that can send and receive signals. It is incredibly flexible and increasingly popular being used to create anything from a drone to a heart monitor. We’re going to do a simple starter Arduino project. Often, we think we need to know everything about Arduino boards in order to get started – and that can be overwhelming. So, for this project we are simplifying what we need to know.


Here’s the Arduino Uno. You will note the USB power port is identified. You will use this port and a cable to connect to the computer. Also, we will be creating a simple circuit, so you will need to use the Ground Pin and a few Digital Pins. That’s it for today. Now, there is a lot to the Arduino – including processors and memory and more – but let’s keep it simple. https://www.arduino.cc

Materials Needed 1. An Arduino based board: There are many different types of Arduino boards. For this tutorial we are using the Arduino Uno. 2. USB Cable: The "Universal Serial Bus" cable is one of the most popular cables used mostly to connect computers to peripheral devices such as cameras, camcorders, printers, scanners, and Brilliant projects. 3. Breadboard: These are one of the most fundamental pieces when learning how to build basic circuits. 4. Resistors (8): Resistors do just that – they resist the flow of electricity. Note: Knowing which resistor to use is very important and it is a far more detailed discussion than we have time for in this tutorial. FOR SAFETY ALWAYS USE THE PROPER RESISTOR. You will find many online discussions of resistors and how to calculate the proper resistor. For this tutorial we will use the Brown – Black – Red color combination 5. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) (8): A light-emitting diode (LED) is a two-lead semiconductor light source. Please remember, LEDs have polarity. Long leg is positive (+); Short leg is negative (-).

6. Jumper Wires: is an electrical wire (or group of) in a cable with a connector or pin at each end used to interconnect the breadboard. Individual jump wires are fitted by inserting their "end connectors" into the slots provided in a breadboard, the header connector of a circuit board, or a piece of test equipment.

Blink! First, we will learn to use the Arduino IDE software to make an LED blink! This is a basic starting tutorial for using the Arduino. Component Introduction: Now let's create the circuit. In this tutorial we will assume you have experience with basic circuitry. We will be using a breadboard to create our circuit. The breadboard is a series of interconnected terminals that are connected like in the image below. The postive (+) and negative (-) columns are connected in a column. The numbered lines are also connected. For example a1 through e1 are connected in a row. Before connecting your LED in the circuit, you may have noticed that one of the legs of the LED are shorter than the other. The LED is a polarized component it must be connected in the proper polarity or direction. The shorter lead is the negative (-) lead and must be connected to the ground on the Arduino. If it is not connected correctly the LED will not work. -24-

PRO TIP Always unplug your Arduino before altering your circuit. Although working with a small voltage it is good practice. While the Arduino is plugged in there is power flowing through the circuit that could shock or burn you and could even damage some of the parts!

Connecting Your Circuit 1. Using a wire, connect the GND (ground) pin from the Arduino to the negative channel on the breadboard. 2. Use the provided resistor to connect the negative channel to B26. 3. Use the LED to connect from E26 to E25. 4. Use another wire to connect A25 to pin 13. (see www.brilliantlabs.ca/holidaylights for how to finish the circut).

Arduino IDE Before starting any projects you first need software that will let you control the Arduino board. Arduino’s coding software can be found at www.arduino.cc (see www.brilliantlabs.ca/holiday-lights for complete download instructions).

It will set everything up and then wait. It is here where we will tell the board what pins to use and how to use them. Void loop() is where you will tell the board what to do, and when to do it. This is the command part of our code. We will tell when to turn LEDs or motors on, when to read sensors, etc. The code written in this section is read linearly by the computer. This means it is read in the order that you have written it and then repeated.

Time to Code Open the Arduino IDE program to begin coding. The Arduino can be programmed in C or C++. We will write code in the IDE program and then upload the code to the Arduino. The code will then be stored in the memory of the board and will begin to execute. You will notice when the program opens, there are some things already written in the file: void setup() and void loop(). This is the head start Arduino gives you to write proper code. In this initial tutorial, all you need to know is that Void setup() is where you will set up your device. You will tell the Arduino what pins you will be using in the project. The Void setup() code will be run at the start of the project.


The number within the brackets are in milliseconds (one one thousandth of a second). We used to here to tell the Arduino to leave the light on for half a second and then turn it off half a second.

Troubleshooting If the code uploads (you will get a message saying upload successful) but the light is not blinking try looking over your circuit and ensuring everything is connected in the right location and is fully inserted in the breadboard. If you receive an error saying there was a problem uploading the code to the board (there will be an error message in orange) reread your code and check you have entered all the lines correctly. For more help visit www.brilliantlabs.ca/holiday-lights to get full instructions/images.

More Lights

Here’s a few notes on the code you’re written: digitalWrite - this is used to send power to a pin. It has 2 settings HIGH or LOW making it the perfect function to turn an LED on and off. We used it here to do just that! https://www.arduino.cc/en/Referenc e/DigitalWrite

Now that we understand how to control one LED with our board why not add another to pin 12? This is where the learning and exploration come in. Remember the basic steps (starting with unplugging the board from the computer while removing and/or adding components). To add the first LED you used wires, a resistor and an LED. So, repeat the process but use a new pin location on your Arduino. I used pin number 12. Want more? Get this entire Teacher's Guide at www.brilliantlabs.ca/holiday-lights. Have fun and enjoy the brilliance of code.

delay - this is used to tell the board to take a quick break or to stop for a certain amount of time. -25-

It takes a village

Weymouth is a small village in Digby County, Nova Scotia. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home to picturesque clapboard houses that still have their victorian charm as they sit on the banks of the Sissiboo River. To outsiders looking in this once thriving

How exposing youth to coding and technology can transform communities. A discussion with Patrick Hankinson, entrepreneur and co-founder of Compilr.

shipbuilding and lumbering community is like many in Atlantic Canada that have been riddled with industry hardship. Few would consider towns and villages like

By Brilliant Labs Staff Writer

Weymouth to be an ICT incubator...especially 20 years ago.


“I couldn't imagine being where I am today without being exposed to computer programming at a young age” shared Patrick Hankinson, entrepreneur and cofounder of Compilr, a Halifax startup that focused on teaching people how to code. Patrick and his siblings were exposed to business and technology at a young age. Their father was a familiar face in town as the owner for the local car dealership and gas station. He was up and out of the house early most days showing the work ethic required to run the business. The children got the sense that business ownership had its challenges, but was rewarding nonetheless. Their father exposed his kids to another valuable piece of their impending future the idea that technology is fun. “Dad loved tech. We always had a computer in the house and our family even hosted the village's first internet service provider on top of our garage.” Their mother also had a knack for seeing opportunity as she ran a daycare that soon needed to expand. We asked Patrick what he thought of this early introduction to technology and business: “It was a good mix. Our parents showed us the benefits of running your own business and fortunately for me I was exposed to computer programming by my older brother, Stephen, who was self-taught. By learning from him I was able to publish a video game at a young age, build two multi-million dollar businesses, invest in 15 other

“I couldn't imagine being where I am today without being exposed to computer programming at a young age”

- Patrick

Pactrick Hankinson, entrepreneur and co-founder of Compilr.

technology businesses and support the technology ecosystem in Atlantic Canada. Unfortunately, most kids in Atlantic Canada don't have that ‘mix’ and an older brother who is well-versed in programming.... and willing to teach it.” Patrick shared his vision for future communities, “We need to support digital literacy by offering educational support for students and their teachers. I’m a big supporter of project-based learning initiatives, coding, maker education, technologyspecific training and a big part of that is community outreach and engagement practices. -27-

Without this exposure, rural students could miss out on future opportunities. More and more companies are hiring remote workers, without digital literacy support students could miss out on these jobs." As we move into the 21st century, more and more rural, even urban, communities will be faced with the challenges of a changing technological landscape and global economy. “Realistically, not every child will have early exposure to technology, knowledge and support, but without exposure to information and communication technology (ICT)

skills, our youth stand less of a chance to realize their innovative talents. These skills are extremely valuable for our youth. They are transferable between industries and have the ability to transform communities” explained Ed McGinley, CEO TechImpact & Information and Communication Technology Council of Canada (ICTC) committee member. Communities are not the only ones feeling the global crunch. Across Canada, universities are not seeing enough people entering computer science or ICT focused programs. Dr. Ruth Shaw, Computer Science Professor at UNB Saint John says that “attracting students to computer science at the PSE level starts at the junior high level. We have been partnering with Brilliant Labs to offer the annual NB SCRATCH Programming Finals to this age group since 2014. Another outreach event that has had great success is our annual NB High School Programming Competition.

We have offered this event every spring since 2007 and, last year, close to 50 students from across the province participated. Many of these students do go on to take a CS degree (~20% per year) so we have anecdotal evidence that these outreach activities do help in recruiting students to CS programs. But this is not enough. By implementing coding into the K-12 school system we could be reaching many more students at a much younger age and, hopefully, increase the diversity of students entering an ICT career. Plus, representation of females in the STEM fields is dismal, sitting at around 25% for mathematics, computer science and IT. (http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/w omen-science-technologyengineering-and-mathematics-stem).

By 2021, the proportion of ICT workers who are working in non-ICT industries will increase to 84%.

Universities, colleges, federal funding agencies (NSERC) and industries are trying to reverse this trend. Our schools could play a major role in this effort and the ICT industry would benefit from a more diverse workforce.” The New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) agrees and is taking steps to support youth early with the hope of increasing interest and enrolments in its Information Technology programs. Dr. Diane Burt, Director of Applied Research and Innovation at NBCC, believes that engaging youth in ICT experiential -28-

learning and applied research activities will open doors to many opportunities for further education and career development. “NBCC has a strong history of creating opportunities for youth to explore and experience new fields. By reaching out to young people through our College 4 Kids Summer programs, the My NB 150 youth conference and by volunteering in local schools, we’re helping these young students discover and develop skills in fields new to them, such as IT.” “In fact, in collaboration with Brilliant Labs, Dr. William McIver, Jr., our NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing, is currently developing a novel program for pre-secondary students that integrates elements of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) subjects with fun and practical applications to projects based on their own interests,” added Dr. Burt. A recent 2017-2021 Information and Communication Technology Council of Canada (ICTC) report cited there are approximately 811,200 ICT professionals in Canada. By 2019, the ICT industry will require an additional 182,000 workers, with Atlantic Canada needing approximately 11,000 professionals to fill industry needs. “...technology drivers such as Artificial Intelligence, 5G Mobile, Virtual & Augmented Reality, 3D Printing, and Blockchain are all radically redefining the skills needs of tomorrow. The rise of the gig economy is now also reshaping the employment landscape into a more autonomous, freelance, and a globally mobile workforce. In 2016, 53% of all ICT professionals in Canada were working in non-ICT 28

"...Less than a decade ago you didn’t need a firm understanding of computers or their languages to work in marketing, television, or the grocery store, but as we move further into a digital environment we will need more and more skilled people..." - Ed McGinley, CEO TechImpact

industries which indicates an increased prevalence of technology across all sectors of the Canadian economy. By 2021, the proportion of ICT workers who are working in non-ICT industries will increase to 84%.” We asked Ed McGinley what that means for the everyday job seeker: “the lines between ICT jobs and more traditional occupations have been blurring for several years. The “blur” is now happening at an increased pace. Gone are the days of expecting your “tech person” to sort all your technology issues and explain every implication of a tech adoption. In order for companies to remain competitive, there is increasing pressure on every employee to understand technology in the workplace. Less than a decade ago you didn’t need a firm understanding of computers or their languages to work in marketing, television, or the grocery store, but as we move further into a digital environment we will need more and more skilled people who understand various forms of technology and who can work with forever evolving programming languages.” The ICTC paper also reflects the trend of fewer youth entering the ICT workforce compared to those nearing retirement. “The hyperconnected landscape continues to reshape the future of work by 2021. While the quest for skilled digital talent is increasingly borderless, nurturing a robust youth talent supply in Canada remains a

For an example of the blur of ICT industries, see Back to the Supermarket of the Future https://news.microsoft.com/europe/features/super market-of-the-future/

priority for enabling a strong foundation of digital innovators.” reported Namir Anani, ICTC President & CEO. This borderless talent supply could work in the favour of small towns or urban centres that recognize this changing ICT landscape. Digital literacy can start at home, in the classroom, or in a community hall. The goal is to expose Atlantic Canadian children early no matter which village, town, or city they live in. Patrick echoed these sentiments “In my opinion, we’re not seeing ICT talent because students just don’t know they have options outside traditional professions. One of the greatest things about ICT related employment is that staff can work from almost anywhere. It’s the perfect opportunity for rural communities that have a strong ISP infrastructure. If companies need ICT services they can find them anywhere in Canada or beyond. That’s why I appreciate and support Brilliant Labs. They work with teachers, communities, local organizations and students whether they’re downtown Halifax or in a small town like the one I grew up in. Together, we can truly change the region - one community at a time.”

It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a child to raise a village. Historically, Atlantic Canadian towns & villages saw opportunity in the natural resources around them. Today, the opportunity can begin in community schools to be incubators for innovation with our greatest natural resource: our Youth! Innovation Incubator Checklist: My school has community partnerships with local businesses and entrepreneurs. My school encourages parent/student collaboration: everyone has a voice. School projects are connected to our community’s real world problems. Our students are exposed to technology & the skills needed for coding, computational & critical thinking Our students are exposed to cross generational learning. Our teachers receive STEAM professional development, (may include technology/project based/ coding)



Coding is a HOOT! Owls have a long association with wisdom and learning. Often you'll find them represented as classroom

Owls are Alive with Code at Coxheath Elementary, Coxheath, NS

decorations and all-knowing characters in classic children stories like Winnie The

By Kim Desveaux

Pooh. Many schools use the 'wise old owl' as

Co-Program Director, Brilliant Labs

a mascot or emblem, but few share the

Photo by Doug Swinson

ability to bring these inanimate symbols of learning to life. Especially those in the fourth grade. That is until, master Scratcher, Nora Shaheen decided it was time to stretch her wings and hack a stuffie.


Nora Shaheen, grade 5 student at Coxheath Elementary, was intrigued with the idea of adding some hardware to her coding projects after having the chance to create a Makey Makey Piano in her school’s Makerspace last season. So, this year when Principal Trevor Leblanc encouraged Nora to create a project in the Makerspace she knew right away what she wanted to do: an interactive Scratch Makey Makey project. Then, it was just a matter of deciding on the topic and where to begin. Nora has a great understanding and love of coding in Scratch – so, as co-program Director of Brilliant Labs, we talked about what else she would like to incorporate into the project – and the answer was ‘stuffies’ (stuffed animals) and in particular, she had two tawny owl stuffies and was willing to donate one to her school project. Nora wanted to be able to teach others about the tawny owl – and decided to make the owl itself interactive by connecting it to the Makey Makey. The project was off and running. Nora started by researching facts about the tawny owl and then recorded each fact as a separate sound clip using Scratch. Then she created an owl sprite in Scratch it was a great way to incorporate her art skills. After, Nora began writing the code (see below).

Now she was ready to start transforming her stuffie. Nora carefully opened the body of the owl to insert the wires. After, she sewed the Velostat conductive fabric conductive fabric on for buttons. The wires were then connected to the Makey Makey to complete the circuit.

Nora, 9 yrs, hacked her tawny owl stuffie using a Makey Makey, Scratch and Velosate conductive fabric.

"Sewing the buttons was the hardest part. The coding was easy, the sewing was trickier" Nora, Grade 5

Why did you choose this project? I already knew how to use Scratch. I have an account and have made many games and projects. So, I wanted to do something with the Makey Makey and I thought it would be cool if I could make something people could touch too. I really wanted to use the Makey Makey again – the last time we only got to make something with gummies. To incorporate the ground wire into the project, Nora fed the wire through a pen attachment. To make the buttons interactive now you simply touch them with the tip of the pen. What did you learn? I learned a lot about the Tawny Owl. I also learned how to sew and add buttons to make it react when the buttons were pushed.


What was the hardest part of the project? Sewing the buttons was the hardest part. The coding was easy, the sewing was trickier. We had to use a curved needle so the thread could be sewn through the stuffie. What was the best part? It was really fun testing the owl. I was running wires inside the owl (after I removed a lot of stuffing) and so I had to keep testing that it worked every time I moved the owl. I played the sound clips a lot. Would you do it again? Yes, I would do it again. It was lots of fun and I really liked it. Nora will be demonstrating and sharing her project with other students in her school. I am very confident that because of this clever & interactive project every student at Coxheath Elementary will know several facts about the tawny owl. This was Nora’s first self directed project in the Makerspace but I’m sure it won’t be her last. 28

<In our classroom>

...we may not all be on the same level, but we all have something to offer! - Destiny </In    our classroom>

Programming is becoming an essential skill. By 2020 there will be more computer science jobs than computer science students. More importantly, when kids take control of their own learning, programming can be a lot of fun. We talked to Destiny, 10; Grace, 10; and Keira, 9 Grade 5, at Kingston & District Elementary School Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, Nova Scotia to see what they thought about coding at school. What has been your experience with coding so far? Destiny: The Hour of Code, Tynker, Scratch, Micro:bit, the Ozobot was one of my first (and favorite) devices so far. Grace: Two years ago with the Hour of Code, Tynker, Scratch, Micro:bit, Sphero, Co-spaces. Keira: Mainly Javascript since age six, but lately I’ve been focusing on Drag & Drop coding now, especially Scratch and Tynker. What are your favorite exercises to do involving coding? Destiny: I really like the Micro:bit. We’re learning and teaching our teacher how to use it!

Destiny and Grace working on the Micro:bit.

Grace: using “give me Five” which is supporting and getting support from other students to solve problems when you’re stuck with coding activities. Keira: I really like working with Tynker. Visual programming is more colourful than plain Javascript.

realize that so many people were doing it where we live in NS! Keira: It is the difference between understanding a lot of the world around you. Learning what code is and how it works is enough for me to see that it’s important.

How has coding changed how you view the world around you? Destiny: Honestly, it makes coming to school more fun! Our classroom time is really interactive with each other. There is less arguing--we may not all be on the same level but we all have something to offer! Grace: I’m happy to have the opportunity to learn. I had heard about coding when I was younger, mainly on TV, but I didn’t

Has there been anything that was surprising or you discovered while learning to code? Destiny: The term “never give up” actually applies. Sometimes we take a break and come back to the same problem and have a new way to solve it. Grace: Well, really, that I can do it! It just seemed like something very boring, or difficult whenever I thought about it before I had any experience.

Grace working with Microsoft MakeCode a free, open-source Block and JavaScript learn-to-code editor that promotes a more inclusive approach to computing education.

Keira, age 9, coder for life!

Now I know that not only can I do it but I love learning by doing it! Keira: Just that you can’t expect the code to run perfectly every time. Not really surprising but good to remember and keep your patience. What are other ways that you would like to use code in the future? Keira: I’d really love to take apart old and new electronics to see how they are different from each other inside. Kind of like a timeline for technology. Maybe make some interactive sneakers with LEDs! Destiny: Build, program, and fly a customized robot/ drone. Grace: I would like to design an interactive video game that helps people somehow. Is there anything else that you would like to share about your journey in coding? Destiny: It’s really made my dreams of inventing something seem much more realistic. I loved learning about wearable technology-- something totally new to our experiences so far! Grace: I hope that we can continue to code beyond this year as it really does make learning things like math much more exciting! Keira: I plan on improving my coding skills to surpass my older family members! Someday I’ll be making new things from our old electronics and coding them to do what I want them to!

The camp teaches young children coding lessons, robotic lessons, what virtual reality is like and has gear for 3D printing. (Joseph Tunney/CBC) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/camp-teaches-saint-johnchildren-cutting-edge-tech-1.4251693

17 5-Julal - 2 -Journ h p ra Teleg

"Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think"

s i a ç fran 4.0 When we think of coding and where it fits along the K to 12 continuum, most of us donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t A discussion with Rebecca Hitchman, grade 1 French Immersion teacher at Nelson Rural in Miramich.

typically think of grade 1. Rebecca Hitchman, a

By Kayoe Stewart Innovation Coordinator Brilliant Labs Photo by Aaron Burden

coding to help her students learn French. The

grade 1 French Immersion teacher at Nelson Rural in Miramichi, is proving this misconception wrong by using Micro:bits and Brilliant Labs team strongly believes that coding and computational thinking must begin at an early age so that our students are exposed to 21st century skills right from the get-go.


Kayoe: Can you describe the challenge you wanted to tackle in class? Rebecca: This is the first year that they have brought the French immersion entry level down to grade 1. I have always taught higher grade levels and have noticed that 21st century learning and the integration of technology in the classroom was becoming a big part of how students learn and stay engaged. I wanted to bring that into the grade 1 class, at a level where students were able to use it themselves independently and were engaged in their learning at the same time. My challenge was how to integrate technology at such a young age and use it in math and literacy in a second language. Kayoe: There are many different devices out there. What led you to thinking that the Micro:bit was a potential solution to this challenge? Rebecca: I was introduced to the Micro:bit at an opening session for teachers that you and Jacob presented from Brilliant Labs. Each teacher at the session received one, and when I was shown how it worked, I was convinced that it could be useful in my classroom. It was compact, it was interactive, it was easy to code and would engage students.

After a long brainstorming session with Rebecca on the Beam robot (for telepresence assisance) here at Brilliant Labs HQ, I knew that she had the same mindset. It was amazing to see that just the day after our virtual meeting she was already implementing this technology into her classroom. Since then, Rebecca has also impressively incorporated the Micro:bit into her literacy and numeracy curriculum. Her students are using the Micro:bit to practice French by coding their devices to scroll their weekly sight words and numbers from 0 to 20.

Kayoe: Your set up is really unique. Can you describe it and how you have incorporated the Micro:bit into your classroom activities and how it is helping you meet outcomes?

During our last visit to Miramichi I wanted to stop and visit her class in person to see how everything was going. It was great to see all of her students really excited for our visit and eager to show us what they had coded with their Micro:bits. I was so blown away at how quickly her students had adopted coding that I just had to sit down with her to chat.

Rebecca: I began by integrating the Micro:bit into my math centers. I showed students the Micro:bit on the smartboard first and coded it to randomly display a number from 0-20 when the A button was pressed. Students would have to recognize the number, describe it and then write it in numerical and written form. This focused on the outcomes of N1: Say the number sequence 020 forwards and backwards by 1s, N4: Represent and describe numbers to 15 (number words to 10). Once the students understood how to use it, they coded two of the Micro:bits to display the numbers 0-20 randomly on shake.


These Micro:bits were then used at one of my centers. When at the Micro:bit centre, students shake the device and decide who has the greater number then practice printing the number in words on white boards. I also have started incorporating the Micro:bits into their literacy centers. I wanted to use them to work on French vocabulary so that they had to focus on constructing their word wall. I wanted to make learning a new language even more fun and engaging. With the set of Micro:bits that I received from Brilliant labs, each student works with their own device coded with words to work on. Currently, we are focused on the theme of "Family”. They shake their device and have to respond to the vocabulary word that appears with a partner (for example, by explaining if they have a sister or brother). This aids in their writing/representing outcomes. Their partner is able to ask them questions about their family member which targets their speaking outcomes of using

familiar vocabulary and sentence structures to communicate their ideas, preferences, and understanding. The benefit of the Micro:bit in this case is that each student’s device can be coded with specific words that they as an individual have to work on. The Micro:bit has also been used on the Smart board in the morning to ask the students a question or as part of their morning message which is part of their morning routine to communicate simple messages. Kayoe: How are you making sure that coding plays a big part? Rebecca: Students go through the computational thinking process and are able to decide how they want to code the Micro:bit as a class. We work together and go through the logic to create the code using the MakeCode interface. They are also involved in the spelling of each word that is coded on the Micro:bit. This reinforces their French language and sounds. Kayoe: What are your plans for the future? Rebecca: My plan with the Micro:bit is to get students to form their own sentences with the vocabulary words we are working on. If each student codes their device to scroll a specific word I could challenge them to physically line themselves up to form proper sentences. I would also like to get them to use the Micro:bit to label certain objects in the classroom to reinforce familiar vocabulary. Once they have expanded their French vocabulary, I would like to get them to code their Micro:bit to display words with certain sounds that we are working on as well. -37-


This is a great tool for collecting data for individual students as well. Kayoe: Any advice for anyone who teaches at the lower levels and is interested in incorporating coding in their classroom? Rebecca: My advice is not to be afraid to introduce technology to the lower levels. I am not an expert at Micro:bits and am continuously learning more about coding. I would also suggest seeking out a session on coding to attend. Younger students can adapt to change very well, and are growing up in a society that is very technologically inclined. My advice would be to start small when introducing coding to your students and allow them to explore on their own. This will also help to enhance their problem-solving skills.

Back at Brilliant Labs HQ, we’re filing this one under ‘Success’ and taking notes!

To follow Rebecca and her class’ progress follow her on twitter @Raiders1FI

geometry ya'll

Before we get too far into this article, I feel I must reveal two truths: (1) I do Inspired Code: A week long obsession with Circle Packing.

not identify as someone who is

By Jacob Lingley Program Director, Brilliant Labs

huge math geek. This article is about

particularly skilled at coding; (2) I am a

how these two truths collided a few weeks ago and lead to circle patterning above.


Pretty neat, huh? You’re likely thinking, “it just looks like a bunch of purple circles, randomly placed inside a rectangle.” If these are indeed your thoughts, you are absolutely correct. The only question I have for you then becomes: would it change your interpretation of the circles, if I told you that they were all created by code? Let the journey begin. Truth One: I am a huge math geek. Making such a declaration may lead you to believe that I prefer to spend my spare time deriving endless equations. Quite the opposite. My appreciation for math really lies within the field of geometry. I find the patterning and combination of simple shapes and polygons to be fascinating. A few weeks ago, I found myself relaxing and watching an episode of the TV Show The Big Bang Theory. While Sheldon Cooper’s t-shirts are always amusing, the shirt he was wearing in the image below made me think of a potential math problem that students may find as amusing as Sheldon’s witty one-liners.


I'll admit, packing circles on paper was only fun for a few iterations. I couldn’t help but think of one of the most common rectangles that students throughout Atlantic Canada use on a daily basis: the stage found within Scratch. Furthermore, what if we couldn’t control the size of the initial circle? Perhaps we could create a code that would satisfy the same constraints that the Circle Packing activity offers, but adds in some Scratch coding inspired randomness. Truth Two: I am not particularly skilled at coding.

I am more of what you would call a code Circle Packing is a repeating mathematics pattern that places the maximum number of circles within a confined boundary.

appreciator than a coder. If you put my skills up against those of any Atlantic Canadian elementary student who has had any experience

Not only is Sheldon wearing a brilliant shade of

in coding, my skills would pale in comparison. I

purple, but he is also paying homage to a

try not to let my limited skill set dissuade me from

geometric fractal pattern known as Circle

using code to prototype my ideas. Luckily, one of

Packing. If you consult Wikipedia or Wolfram

the great aspects about learning how to code is

Alpha, Circle Packing is a repeating

that there is an incredible community of

mathematics pattern that places the maximum number of circles

passionate coders who are more than willing to help with your coding adventures.

within a confined boundary. In Sheldon’s case, the outer circle created the initial boundary, and then subsequent multiples of circles were

Before clicking together any blocks of

placed within the larger circle such that

code, I always do a little flowcharting to

the original area is covered with as many

attempt to bring some order to the

circles as possible with no overlaps.

project. Take a look at the image to the right. I find this to be a great strategy to

I started to think about how middle-school

organize my thoughts I was surprised to at how

mathematics students in Atlantic Canada are

quickly my mathematical understanding of

taught to calculate the area of simple two-

circle packing became visualized on the

dimensional figures such as circles and

Scratch Programming Stage. The math teacher

rectangles. The obvious question became: How

inside of me was also extremely content to be

many circles will fit in a rectangle?

forced to consider the relationship between the

This is when the ol’ grid paper, ruler and compass came out as thoughts of circles became

surface area of the Scratch stage to the

scribbles that resembles the graphic at the top of

randomly placed circle areas.

this page.


Here are a few of my Scratch blocks as well as a link to this code on: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/189136019/. I encourage any of you to remix a version of your own and send it over to jacob@brilliantlabs.ca . Remember the goal is simple: randomly place circles such that they never overlap. Since I have capitalized on the randomness of code, every time I hit the start event, the code creates a new circle packing masterpiece. I allow the code to run through around 2000 circle spawning iterations before stopping the code to admire what it created. My final goal for this project is to print 9 iterations of the code and create an art piece. How great is it to have an opportunity to showcase the beauty of code and math. As mentioned, this project was created over the course of a week. Like many projects, I am a little embarrassed to admit how many hours of creation and collaboration went into the semi-final version (see Scratch images to the right).

o es out t o g s k n tha Special e very skilled som ine who m f o s e colleagu ake my Circle helped m dreams come Packing yoe Stewart, true: Ka m Rich & Graha son. l Jeff Wil -41-

KIM'S PICK 5 Top 5 reasons Circuit Playground Express  is a classroom hit!

It is lightweight and inexpensive so it’s the perfect entry point to the exciting world of wearable electronics! Add a battery pack and you’re ready to go!

The Circuit Playground has EVERYTHING onboard – no need for solder or breadboard. It has 10 mini NeoPixels, a motion sensor, temperature sensor, sound and light sensors, a mini speaker, 2 buttons, and capacitive touch inputs! It is ready to use right out of the box. It’s easy for beginners - NO coding experience necessary! The Circuit Playground incorporates the Microsoft www.makecode.com online platform so you can drag and drop code to create fun wearable electronics projects.

Cost: $30-35 CAD https://www.adafruit.com/product/3333

Support and project ideas are available at www.adafruit.com to get you up and running right away. Many project tutorials from light up unicorn hats to interactive bicycle gloves. When you’re ready – the Circuit Playground is also an Arduino compatible board – so it’s ready for advanced programming in languages C or C++ or JavaScript.

BONUS! As an added bonus, there is no need for a class set. Visualize and prototype your code on a virtual Circuit Playground Express at makecode.com

Have a project idea & need support? visit: Brilliantlabs.ca



A discussion about the history of women in computer science, today's growing gender gap in STEM fields and the young women who are taking ownership over their education.

In the eighteenth century, England and France found themselves in a race to industrialize. The Industrial Revolution transformed society from predominantly rural communities to great industrial By Brilliant Labs

cities. A new social order was on the

Staff Writer with contributions

horizon that would forever change humanity.

from Sarah Ryan, co-program director, Nova Scotia

However, with access to power, and the machines that wielded it, there was a growing need for knowledge that could not be gained without reading and writing skills. These skills were the gateway to the machines and were granted to men long before women. -44-

Those women who did have

authoring very detailed notes that

before the modern computer age, we now

access to literacy skills were

outlined a method for calculating

know how very right she was.

mostly aristocrats. Ada Byron,

Bernoulli numbers using Babbage’s

Countess of Lovelace, was born

machine. Ada’s program was able

revolution so did the machines. Steam

in 1815. She was not only

to take complex formulas and turn

gave way to electrical and we welcomed

classically trained, but her mother

them into easy calculations that

the age of modern computing. In the

insisted that most of her studies

could be coded on to punch cards.

beginning, early computers were

be focused on math and science.

These cards could have been fed

programmed by women during WWII.

into Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a

Jean Bartik studied mathematics and was

imagination and sense of

mechanical computer that Babbage

seen to be a natural fit for this job. She

wonderment. Ada adored

never built. Instead it was Ada

and her peers would calculate the

This focus was met with a great

As society advanced into the industrial

machines. She would hunt for any

trajectory of rockets and artillery shells left

material she could fine that would

from each weapon. Every weapon

feed her curiosity. At age 12, she

needed its own trajectory table for

became obsessed with flying and

calculation. The entire task would take 30

decided she was going to build a


steam powered flying machine.

In 1945, Bartik accepted work with a

She would spend hours studying

new machine called the ENIAC. This was

birds and knew that the wings of

electric, large and wasn’t slowed by clunky

her machine needed to be in

mechanical parts. Plus, it could do the

proportion to the body where the

calculations much faster. During this time,

the best place for the engine

men enjoyed building machines, like the

would be. Ada never built her

ENIAC, while women were left to the

machine, but 15 years later William Henson and John Stringfellow patented a similar machine in 1842. Imagine if her exposure to engineering, science and math was accompanied with the tools and support to create her flying machine. Think about how very different the history of female engineering would be. It was Louis Pasteur who lectured that “chance favours a prepared mind” and for 17 year old Ada this was certainly true when she was introduced to mathematician Charles Babbage. This introduction changed Ada’s life forever and would put her on the path to writing the world’s first computer language by

tedious task of creating the programs. 17 year old Ada Lovelace, Wikipedia.

who imagined what the future would look like. She knew that machines like Babbage’s could be used for general purpose and do anything if given the right set of instructions. She even considered that it could compose “elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.” Nonetheless, Ada’s mentors and tutors were conflicted by her skillful and logical thinking. They often

Computer programing became known as ‘women's work’ or clerical tasks - not glamorous or well paid. Regardless, as big and fancy as this machine was it wasn’t performing well. Bartik and her team pulled up their sleeves and started problem solving. They were able to increase the efficiency and get the ENIAC running at 20 seconds per calculation, 10 seconds less than it would take for a shell to hit it’s target. As

would remark that what she was doing was man’s work and that it could weigh heavy on her weaker mind, because back then it was commonly believed that a woman’s physical makeup could not support such ‘brain-power’. Ada not only proved them wrong by publishing her work in 1843, a century


ENIAC, Wikipedia,

well as they did, Bartik and her team of six

I liked geometry so I chose math.” The

women went unrecognized for their work.

timing was right for Martha because the

When the war was over Bartik moved to

University of Vermont received its very first

work on the UNIVAC, one of the first

computer and her advisor, Mr. Riggs, was

commercial computers that was easier to

eager to share its ability with his class.

program thanks to Grace Hopper who is

Computers during this time were

accredited with creating COBOL (A

regarded as Third Generation and were

program that used words instead of

the first to have integrated circuits. This

numbers and allowed operators to give

was the beginning of smaller machines,

commands in English). Cobol is still used

even though they were still bulky and very


large compared to today. These

By the 1950s and 60s, 30-50 percent of

computers could calculate more than

all programmers were women and the

34,000 instructions per second and had a

salaries were rising. To help us explore

memory of 8-64 KB, a vast improvement

this time, we contacted Martha Bryan, a

over the computers Bartik and Hopper

retired computer programmer and supply

worked on. Martha started taking the

teacher who lives in L'Etete, New

computer courses taught by Mr. Riggs


and enjoyed these "because they were

context specific problem solving was often

like doing puzzles". During the summers

seen as favoring men over women, as

Greyhound Computer Corporation (a

she worked at a local bank in the

many young girls did not to study STEM

leasing company that provided computers

computer department writing payroll

related subjects as Martha. Some

or programming services to companies

programs for small businesses. “It was

researchers feel that these aptitude and

that didn’t have the staff or technology on

fun. I remembered thinking ‘you’re going

personality tests helped shift computer

hand). She joined the company after

to pay me to sit at a desk with a nice view

programming away from being female

studying mathematics at the University of

and do puzzles all day!’ If someone’s

dominated to the predominantly male

Vermont from (1964-68). We asked her

payroll didn’t come out right you’d just

industry we see today.

what interested her in computer

debug the program by going back to figure

programming. “I guess I was lucky to

out where the problem was and follow it

although women make up 47% of the

have landed where I did” Martha shared.


workforce compared to 24% in the 1950s,

Martha was a programmer at

Programmers Appitude Test, 1968.

According to Statistics Canada

“At 14 I never thought I’d be a computer

After graduation she decided to seek

programmer. I didn’t even know what a

her fortune in San Francisco. “I didn’t have

2011 computer science influenced the

computer was. In high school they asked

a job when I got there, but I knew not

greatest number of university-level

me what I wanted to major in for

every business had a computer. I would

workers, but only one-quarter were

university. I didn’t have a clue. I figured

go into the big buildings and ask if they

women. Over the past two decades the

had one. If they did and were interested in

number of young women in computer

me, I would write an aptitude test. I

science has declined as have their

remember enjoying these tests because I

salaries, with males making on average

liked figuring things out and it was nothing

17% more than their female counterparts.

more than finding the patterns. Little kids

Martha Bryan & daughter Sadie, 1974.

only 13% are engineers. Between 1991-

“I don’t remember there being any

do this in kindergarten now”. Martha

gender bias” Martha shared. “It was a time

enjoyed the tests and had an eye for detail

of women’s liberation when equal pay for

and the ability to see multiple answers.

equal work was a common discussion. I

Again she was lucky, because Martha

found work at the Greyhound Computer

liked tests and puzzles. For others, this

Corporation and was one of their first

type of math questions that requires the

computer programmers. Our team was

ability to see subtle differences and

made up of 6 - 8 programmers and had a


fair mix of males and females. I never felt

been. We are working to turn the tide

that I was unappreciated or didn’t get an

and to ignite a spark that will encourage

equal wage. It never crossed my mind.”

more young girls to enter STEM fields.

As more men became interested in the

To do this we need to see computer

coding world, the gap widened and some,

science through a different unbiased

like Nathan Ensmenger in his book The

lense and disrupt the myths associated

Computer Boys Take Over,

with it. Martha offered some advice

theorized that organizations created tools,

“Get a book and try it out. See if you like

like the aptitude and personality tests, to

coding. If you like puzzles, you may be

discourage women and, overtime, the

surprised at how much you’d like

false stereotype of an antisocial and

computer programming.” Try it out. That’s exactly what needs

mathematical genius behind the machine was created. As small personal

to be encouraged and Sarah Ryan, co-

computers grew in popularity they became

program director of Brilliant Labs in

associated with gaming. Many of the sports or war games were geared towards young boys and men. They had little interest to girls and women. This may be another reason behind the decline and lack of interest in computer programming. Between 1991 and 2011, the number of women between 25-34 years old working in computer science industries dropped by 4,000 jobs, with the greatest decline from 2001 to 2011, while young males saw an increase of 25,000 computer science jobs. When Matha was programming 30-50 percent of all programmers were women, now they make up only about a 22% of computer science jobs. We asked Martha what she thought of the ‘math-genius’ myth. “It’s not calculus, it’s much easier than higher math. It’s logic. You don’t need to be a math genius. It’s looking for repetition.” She recalled

using Fortran, Cobol and Assembler. “Cobol was easy and used for business applications. It was programming using english commands. Assembler was more mathematical, because it was closer to what the machine would understand. In a business application you don’t need to be a math genius at all. A lot of kids are already doing logic thinking in the video games they play and the patterns they’re learning in class. That’s basically what you’re doing in programming; is seeing patterns. Repetition, loop and adding one each time with instructions getting tighter and tighter as you go on. They made it sound like coding was nothing spectacular. They made it sound like programming in the future will be like a clerk, or secretary, filling out forms...everyone would know coding that’s what they were saying 50 years ago”. 2017 seems like light years from the mammoth machines that occupied computer rooms decades ago. Today, not everyone knows how to code and the gap between men and women in computer science is the largest it has ever

Nova Scotia has been doing just that. This past August 16-year old Eliza Fraser reached out to Sarah. “She was interested in forming a coding club at her school and this sent my heart aflutter!” Sarah shared with a smile. “It’s truly inspiring when students take ownership over their education by showing such initiative. She was about to enter grade eleven at Citadel High in Halifax, Nova Scotia and wanted to get a jump on strengthening her tech skills. Her interest stemmed from some introductory coding lessons that she attended over the summer. She was hooked right away.” It sounded to us that Eliza was like Martha and drawn to coding. Sarah explained that “Eliza had recognized the value in not only understanding the technology around her, but also knowing how to create with it. She noticed that so many of her peers were consuming but not comprehending how their beloved devices worked.” “I believe that integrating technology into education is very important and teens my age don’t have enough inschool learning opportunities. I would

Men make up 72% of all STEM jobs in Canada.


love to bring Brilliant Labs to Citadel

can code. “It’s important that young

High School” shared sixteen year old

people understand the technology behind

Eliza Fraser.

the devices they use so frequently and

Sarah and Eliza went to work figuring

I’m happy young women like Eliza are

out how to get a coding club started at

getting involved in computer science early

the school. “We first chatted about the

in life”.

options--a gathering at-lunch, after-

Eliza is doing exactly what Martha

school, or even a few hours on the

suggested. Thanks to Sarah she not only

weekends. Eliza decided that lunches

has the new inventor's kits, but she has

would work best and everything else

the book that goes along with it and is

naturally evolved from there.” The two

trying it out. “We have been using the

discussed what technology platforms

inventor's kits for a few weeks and are

would be both interesting and beneficial

going through the book doing different set

for the group. Eliza really liked the idea

ups. Everyone is in grade 11 and most

of adding an element of hardware and

are in the International Baccalaureate (IB)

Sarah had just the tech on-hand. “I

program. We’re all interested in what

happened to have a new set of

coding is and the careers that can come

Micro:bits and inventor kits with me, so

out of it!”

this was a perfect opportunity to put

After just over a month exploring the

them in the hands of students for

Micro:bits the group is excited to explore


new equipment and coding platforms.

Eliza found a small (but mighty)

Sarah hopes the next may include

group of her peers and formed what is

website design or wearable technology.

now the first all-girls coding club at

“We can’t wait to see how this coding

Citadel High (although boys are

group progresses and Brilliant Labs is

welcome to join, of course). Eliza’s

happy to support them along the way.”

teacher-advisor, Ms. Melissa Deveaux, is a math teacher and a woman who

Happily it looks like Eliza may be one young woman who will help turn the

tide and lessen the gender gap in computer science fields. “I am now even more interested in considering a degree in computer science” she said with a smile. Imagine if Ada Lovelace’s flying machine had the support to be taken from paper to air. Intellectually she had everything that was needed to make that dream come true, but without support no 12 year old, whether they are in early 19th century England or in 21st century Atlantic Canada, could make that machine fly. Technology is all around us and we are embarking on the next evolution of computing power. Morgan Stanley says quantum computing will have "far reaching consequences for many sectors” and is being seen as the fourth industrial revolution. Just as the first revolution needed more knowledgeable people who could read and write, the skills of the fourth will be to see patterns, to be a critical thinker, to create, to collaborate and to continiously learn using technology. Now is the time to encourage young women to try computer science. If we don’t encourage our daughters by giving them the support and tools they need today... they will never see their flying machine move from paper to air, or watch it break the quantum speed barrier and shatter the glass ceiling.


*Referenes for this discussion can be found with the online article at www.brilliantlabs.ca/FllyingMachine

THE MAGIC OF CODING There is more computing power in your smartphone than the computers used for the Apollo missions. BY STAFF WRITER, BRILLIANT LABS

50 years ago: The First Flight of the Saturn V. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/50-years-ago-the-first-flight-of-the-saturn-v

Code is everywhere! We find it in our mobile devices and computers, our home appliances, toys, automobiles, industries, financial institutions, and the internet. Code is the glue which holds our software and hardware together and binds us to our digital worlds. With more computational power available in the palm of our hand than there was 50 years ago to the Apollo Missions which first brought our astronauts to the moon, our culture often overlooks the Computer Scientists and Engineers which have brought us to where we are. Global events like the Hour of Code and national events like Canada Learning Code have done a wonderful job at raising awareness about Coding and Computer Science. Encouragingly, all Canadian Atlantic Provinces are working to develop strategies and implement supports to help teachers and students take coding beyond awareness and an hour or two throughout the school year. Our region is well underway into transforming how coding, computational thinking, and innovation is perceived, taught, and used by teachers and students. Coding truly is magical and is proving to be a real world Super Power for the 21st Century. From Drones and 3D printing, medicine

and bioengineering, rocket science, energy, Virtual and Augmented Realities to robotics and computational devices, the web, mobile applications, gaming, entertainment, data, big data, open data, and the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable technologies, cyber security, autonomous vehicles, machine learning, artificial intelligence, Blockchain, Smart Contracts, cryptocurrencies, the decentralizing web 3.0, and the complete transformation and paradigm shift of computation which has arrived through superposition and entanglement available to Quantum Computing. Who wants to wait for strings of Ones and Zeros to get lucky and try to find the exit to the maze one path at a time when Qubits can explore it almost instantaneously? A globally competitive and rapidly shrinking world blazing forward 24 hours a day, 365.25 days per year, will not wait for Atlantic Canada to keep up or catch up. We must do what we’ve always done best. Work together, pick ourselves up by the bootstraps, and work very, very hard to develop a comprehensive solution which assures our young people will not just follow and consume but create and lead us into the 22nd Century. Code allows us to develop anything our imaginations create and


will allow us to explore and better understand the universe in ways that were once only possible in science fiction. With this Super Power comes tremendous responsibility. In the very near future, automation will create ethical socio-economic dilemmas as many current fields of employment will no longer be necessary or relevant. Code and innovation will help redefine traditional industries, and we will create technologies which can either heal or hurt our planet and environment. Culture is being transformed through social media and access to information and with net neutrality, security and privacy are very real concerns for every new application and technology developed. Artificial Intelligence needs to be developed very cautiously if we are to heed the warnings of Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking as programs and robots don’t make mistakes, it’s the human programmers and developers behind them who do. Those who can’t adapt, keep up, or better yet, thrive in this digital world may be viewed as obsolete and a societal burden. We must be vigilant and proactive as every action now influences the future of our youth and their wellbeing in the decades to come.

Microsoft Hololense, Mixed Reality https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens

Governments, the education systems, and the educators within have a much greater responsibility in making certain our future generations will have an active role in defining their own futures than most would ever imagine. They aren’t the only ones responsible however as success hinges on a concerted and intentional approach comprising of community members, governments, private sector industry, and post-secondary working hand in hand. Human psychology, physiology, and wellness are directly linked to technological innovation and code. We need to empower our youth to take the lead. Atlantic Canada’s population is aging at an alarming rate and this issue will be compounded by the fact that we are already facing the disappearance of traditional jobs to automation but also the prospect of a future comprised of hundreds of thousands of unfilled STEAM and Coding related jobs. This will have devastating consequences for Atlantic Canada if we can’t generate our own Computer Scientists, software and hardware engineers, researchers, and other key responsibilities required to support the socio-economic growth of our region. The next two years will be crucial in Atlantic Canada and will serve to build onto the cornerstone placed almost 4 years ago by the CodeKids documentary and the great work being done across the region by many teachers and students with support from community, business, and educational leaders. Where the call to action is urgent, and the tone alarmist, there is a very positive outlook for the region but only if we continue to push forward. We still have an incredibly arduous path to climb up this digital mountain and, where there are great

things happening, we are nowhere near where we need to be. Students and teachers throughout many schools and communities are pushing the boundaries of how students are coding to learn rather than simply learning code in isolation or for the sake of just learning code. Project Based Learning, through more than 800 projects supported by Brilliant Labs since its inception, is proving to be a perfect delivery mechanism as it allows students to problem solve collaboratively and persevere with code as they work on projects that have meaning for them. They construct their own understanding and curricular outcomes are infused throughout their coding projects by the professional educators facilitating their learning. Close to 100 school and community makerspaces are currently supported by Brilliant Labs and where they are wonderful environments helping youth think creatively, foster innovation, and develop an entrepreneurial spirit, and also providing students with opportunities to code in meaningful ways, it is in stark contrast to what is happening in the large majority of our schools and communities. A synergy between provincial, postsecondary, private sector, and federal programs are essential to sustaining these efforts, and allowing students to code while solving real-world Atlantic Canadian problems. CanCode, a recently developed federal program with a goal to help more than 500,000 students to learn to code will kick off in the new year and allow local, regional, and national partners to work collectively to support the many current awesome Atlantic Canadian initiatives!


L'Odyssée students develop app powered interactive arcade cabinet

Here’s the best part and where the magic of coding develops! We will let you in on a bit of a secret… Where many adults fear the unknown, and are reticent to learn code or expose kids to coding, youth are absolutely loving it! Where adults see it as intimidating, youth see it as fun puzzle solving. Where adults often have no clue where to start, many students turn to their peers or technological tools like the internet and YouTube to find answers. Is coding easy? It can be! There are endless amounts of entry points for children across the K12 spectrum to be exposed to coding and the educational tools at their disposal have grown exponentially in the past few years. There are an infinite number of projects students can undertake and work to apply dozens of different computer languages. Take a look at Brilliant Labs’ Blog, Twitter Feed, or previous edition of this magazine to catch a glimpse of the type of projects students are working on with their teachers. In short, there is something for everyone! For example, great teachers like Manon Richardson of l’école Camille Vautour in SaintAntoine, have even found ways to empower grade 6 students to help all other students in their school to learn

Grade 6 students at Camille Vautour teach other students to code during regular workshops

to code. Her students have been working in their school’s makerspace and developing coding and technological projects through a weekly Genius Hour to better prepare themselves for today and tomorrow’s opportunities. Students tackle design challenges, work with robotics, coding, and multimedia. Since September 2016 grade 6 and 7 students have been offering specialized 6 week coding and robotics workshops to students from Kindergarten to grade 8. These workshops are tailored depending on the age of their participants and over the course of their 6 weeks students are exposed to a variety of technologies including Bee-bots, Wedo, Mindstorms, Ev3, Spheros, and coding with Scratch and Python. Manon’s students are now developing their JavaScript skills using Moncton’s EduCode platform and recently organized and delivered Hour of Code activities to all students in the school! Think Virtual Reality is too complex for Middle School students? Mikhael, a grade 8 student from le Centre d’apprentissage du Haut Madawaska has entered the world of VR development using Microsoft’s Mixed Reality platform. He’s been hard at work developing both a Unity3D powered game and a VR website for his school. We recently asked him how he got started and why he was interested in coding and technology. He shared with us that he began working with Arduino micro controllers and Minecraft in grade

5 because he enjoyed creating his own things. He was very interested in VR so decided to learn how to use Unity3D and C# to develop his own game. This game will be on display at Clair 2018, the largest Francophone educators conference east of Montreal which takes place in Clair, NB from January 25th-27th. His game, which is currently in development, includes driving a vehicle around a small city, entering a store, and purchasing materials for use in his school’s green house to help students learn how to plant seeds. He’s overcome many challenges with research on the internet, including the need to pay attention to syntax and capitalization. In the future, he plans to continue to develop his own games, help fix computers (he also helps run his schools HACCÈS program where students manage and operate a Linux laptop lending program for other students), and he has a goal to develop his own company technology company.


Educators need to look no further than Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development and scaffold student learning to assure their students experience success and a continued thirst for not just learning code but for lifelong learning. Is there a better tool than coding to support future proof creative problem solving and critical thinking skills? Computational thinking in a makerspace or team project setting seemingly exemplifies all 4Cs (Communication, Collaboration, Creative Problem Solving, and Critical Thinking) of 21st Century education and turns dialogue into action! We may not have control over the weather here in comparison to California’s Silicon Valley, but we can certainly work together to create a situation where our young people want to reside and can thrive. We just need to make sure it happens and happens fast.

Mikhael Develops with Windows Mixed Reality

A conversation with grade 10 Woodstock High School Student Andy Lee.

When did you first develop an interest in technology, then coding? I’ve had an interest in technology for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was little, my father worked for IT companies, and I suppose it naturally rubbed off on me too. During my elementary years, I was also a huge fan of video games, which naturally led me to learn how to use the computer sufficiently. From then on, I extended my interests into computers, phones, programming, and entrepreneurship. With respect to coding, I gained interest after working on a science fair project in grade 7. I tried to study Python from a book, but quickly moved on to taking online lectures from universities on YouTube. I currently know how to program in Python, Java, Visual BASIC, Swift, and a little bit of Ruby.

Photo by Daniel Frank

Please describe a project you are currently working on that involves coding and what inspired you to work on this project? I am currently working on developing an app for the Apple App Store using Swift. The app is for high school students taking math courses. Being a high school student myself, I quickly ran into problems regarding different types of functions. While I can’t give too much away about the app, I proposed my idea to Brilliant Labs who were generous enough to sponsor funding for me to develop the app. The app works with different types of functions and its properties to assemble a portable function toolkit on your phone. For now, I am only working on the iOS version of the app.


What challenges have you experienced with code while working on this project? How did you resolve it? Programming an app is significantly different than programming a computer program: you have to design EVERYTHING from the logic to the interface. I was pretty good at programming the logical structure of the app, but when it came down to creating the graphical aspects, I struggled with it a lot. Even something as simple as putting a label or text box on the screen is actually very complicated. Since Apple devices come in different screen sizes, not every screen has the same measurements (aspect ratio). And the key is to make every graphical object proportionate to each other, regardless of screen size and location. Yeah… it usually takes me a lot of math to figure those out.

Tell us about a funny story that happened to you during a project that included coding. One funny (more aggravating than funny) thing that happened during coding took place in school. One of the courses I am taking this semester is Computer Science 120, an online course where students learn how to program in Java using nothing but Notepad. One of the assignments was to create a program in which the user would enter ten numbers in order and the program would output the numbers in reverse order, fairly straightforward. Having had experience with Java prior to taking the course, I finished writing the program in ten minutes, but the program wouldn’t compile. I didn’t understand why. I checked it over multiple times for syntax errors, but I couldn’t find any errors within

those 30 lines. Upon debugging for two DAYS, I found out that all I was missing was a bracket to close off the main method… I learned not to use Notepad after that “incident”. If you could build a time machine to visit 2037, what would you see? What will you be doing? Hmm… I think I see myself as an entrepreneur in the future. I want to move to Silicon Valley, where the newest tech is being developed. I want to be in the action, in the most technologically advanced sector of the world. I don’t quite know what I’ll be doing… It’s hard to predict with these things, especially in an industry that sees rapid changes on a daily basis, but I think it’s very interesting how, in

today’s world, just one person can make a huge difference in how the world works. Plus, the weather is a lot nicer in California too! Do you have any advice for someone starting to learn to code? Start small. Set small and incremental accomplishments. Have a LOT of patience, it can be frustrating sometimes, know that programming is a skill that can take years to truly master. Don’t be discouraged. Most importantly, make sure to practice daily!

What's next Join Kayoe and Jacob in January for a YouTube Live highlighting LowTech Making in Literacy, and in February Notable and Codeable Mathematics.

January February

Innovation Challenge: Get ready to build your vision of a future city. Watch for details at brillinatlabs.ca/InnovationChallenges CLAIR 2018 - Educators Conference http://www.apprendrepourlavie.com/clair2018/

Partner Events: Skills Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia Skills Competition Registration January 8 From Jan 8-Mar 9, registration is open for the 20th Annual Nova Scotia Skills Competition. For more information on contest areas, eligibility, and to apply go to www.skillsns.ca

Innovation Challenge: Accessible Mini-Golf (Partnership with Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation). Watch for details at brillinatlabs.ca/InnovationChallenges

Saint John, NB: Feb. 3. Join the Cardboard For Kitty cardboard building challenge in support of the Saint John SPCA. Teams will have 2 hours to build per-design cardboard cat homes for a chance to win prizes & bragging rights for a good cause. For registration & details visit: www.cardboardforkitty.com.


Halifax: Brilliant Labs will be hosting Tech Sessions during March Break 2018 in partnership with Halifax Public Libraries! Topics will include coding, robotics, micro- controllers, and 3D Design/printing (exact days, times and locations TBA at http://www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/ ) Halifax: The MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning will once again feature Brilliant Labs during their 2018 Creative Exposure March Break Camp on Wednesday, March 14th. This camp is for youth ages 12 to 16. More information can be found here: http://macpheecentre.ca/courses/march-break-day-camp-creative-exposure/ HRM: Mar.12-16: explore the inner workings of robotics, developing programming skills using LEGO NXT technology, and discovering some of the amazing tech companies we have here in Halifax! Contact us at info@digitalnovascotia.com Millenial Inc. High School Pitch Competition, March 23rd, Planet Hatch, Fredericton, NB


Elves aren't the only ones building this season.

Callling all social innovators  & entrepreneurs Share your journey with us on or before March 2nd, 2018 and you may find yourself in BLM's spring edition.

THE SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE Entreprunerialism & Social innovation. If you're a teacher or student who has moved, or is moving, from the makerspace to the commercial space, why not share your entreprenurial journey with us before

Next Issue March 2018

March 2nd, 2018. You may find yourself in this spring's Brilliant Labs Magazine*. The goal of the next issue is to share the stories of the students & teachers who are transforming what they've learned in class by creating opportunities: for themselves, their community, or their school. We are looking for groups or individuals who are building a business, solving a community problem through social innovation, or who have a special message about spirit of undertaking. If you know someone, or are that someone, please contact Brilliant Labs or email info@brilliantlabs.ca

*Contact: info@brilliantlabs.ca or your Brilliant Labs advisor. We appreciate all submissions; however, due to limited space not all stories will be featured.

THANK YOU We would like to thank the students & teachers who are creating magic everyday and to the contributors & staff who helped create this winter issue: The Magic of Coding.




PHOTOGRAPHY Most of the photography was provided by staff and contributors. Professional images were sourced at Unsplash.com. Brilliant Labs is a non-profit, hands-on experiential learning platform based in Atlantic Canada. We support the intergration of creativity, innovation, coding and an entrepreneurial spirit within classrooms & education curricula. Visit us at www.Brilliantlabs.ca or CONTACT US info@brilliantlabs.ca www.brilliantlabs.ca

brilliantlabslabosbrillants @brilliant_labs -57-

Brilliant Labs Channel


The future is you.

Make it magical

Brilliant Labs is a non-profit, hands-on technology and experiential learning platform based in Atlantic Canada. We support the intergration of creativity, innovation, coding, and an entrepreneurial spirit within classrooms & educational curricula.

Profile for BrilliantLabs

Brilliant Labs Magazine Winter 2017-18