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June 2017 (Updated 03 Aug 2017)

Second Call for Papers: Special Issue on Coding with the Raspberry Pi

International Journal of People-Oriented Programming (IJPOP)

Special Issue on Coding with the Raspberry Pi

Submission Due Date

31 Aug 2017

Guest Editors

Steve Goschnick & (Guest Editor) Christine Sun


The unassuming Raspberry Pi, an inexpensive credit-card sized computer, was awarded the UK's highest engineering accolade last month - the Royal Academy of Engineering's MacRobert Prize ( ). It has clocked up over 14 million sales since launch in 2012, making it the third best selling general purpose computer of all time. The Raspberry Pi Foundation, a non-profit, designed the small but versatile marvel with the joint aims of teaching Computer Science to a new generation of students, whilst also servicing a growing cohort of startups and digital makers in prototyping their heavily divergent technical dreams.

The latest version (Model 3, with integrated WiFi and Bluetooth), launched in early 2016, is their biggest seller so far, perhaps following a pattern of Version 3 maturity touching the spot (e.g. Windows V3; iMac). There have been several public ponderings since then as to whether the Raspberry Pi has become disruptive (e.g. OReilly Podcast). Two of the largest players in the industry, Microsoft and Google, have launched respective IoT (Internet of Things) products that target it in recent times, namely: the Windows10 IoT Core and the Android Things (Google's IoT platform). That makes it plain and simple: the Raspberry PI has become disruptive in the IoT space, at the very least - nothing less warrants that sort of high-profile attention from across the pond.

Recommended Topics

Our interest in the Pi for this Special Issue is in the other main part of the original goal: how has the Raspberry Pi been travelling with regard to teaching and related research, in particular with respect to bringing programming to a new and more diverse generation. We are seeking papers around coding on the Raspberry Pi, including but not limited to the following topics and questions:

Some readings

  1. Website: Raspberry Pi - Teach, Learn and Make with the Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi Foundation (2017),
  2. Podcast: The Raspberry Pi 3: Is it good enough? The Raspberry Pi is starting to look disruptive (2016),
  3. Article: Google launches first developer preview of Android Things, its new IoT platform (2016),
  4. Article: How to Install Windows 10 IoT Core on the Raspberry Pi 3.
  5. Article: The Raspberry Pi and CoderDojo join Forces (2017), May, 26th.
  6. Posts: Wolfram Language and Mathematica for the Raspberry Pi. Accessed 2017, May, 31st.

Submission Procedure

Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit papers for this special issue on Coding with the Raspberry Pi on or before 31st August 2017. All submissions must be original and may not be under review by another publication. INTERESTED AUTHORS SHOULD CONSULT THE JOURNAL'S GUIDELINES FOR MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSIONS at All submitted papers will be reviewed on a double-blind, peer review basis. Papers must follow APA style for reference citations.

All submissions and inquiries should be directed to the attention of:

Steve Goschnick & Dr Christine Sun

Editor and Guest Editor

International Journal of People-Oriented Programming (IJPOP)


September 2016

The Rise of the Fit Bit Kids

Thu, 8 Sep 2016 01:05:06 +1000

By: gosh'at' (Steve Goschnick)

(Note: this article was published first on )

The rise of the fit bit kids: a good move or a step too far?

Steve Goschnick, Swinburne University of Technology

The concept of tracking your fitness with wearable technology is not new but the rate at which activity trackers are being worn by school children, is. And it's causing quite a range of reactions.

In the UK, a mother withdrew her child from primary school because it stopped him from wearing his electronic fitness bracelet, although following protests the school later allowed pupils to wear Fitbits (except during physical education class).

In New Zealand, high school counsellors said they were concerned the Fitbit devices could become a fixation, particularly with girls trying to lose weight and keep fit.

In Australia, students in some schools are wearing these devices (for example, nine of the 24 in my daughter's grade 4 class) despite terms-of-service such as Fitbit's saying users should be aged over 13 to use its service.

As for older students, Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma said earlier this year it was giving new students the option of wearing of a Fitbit as part of its ongoing fitness program. However, this caused some concern and sparked an online petition over fears it could promote eating disorders.

Fitbit's come in many colours. Flickr/Melies The Bunny, CC BY-NC

What gets children moving?

You only have to witness the magnetic attraction between kids and their small screens to realise why the modern parent is looking for an antidote to the exercise aversion of their offspring.

There's no doubt most kids thrive on structure put around their lives, such as enforcing some screen-time limits. The introduction of self-governance for kids at home is generally one of gradual steps and missteps.

An attractive feature of activity-trackers is that they come with an app that children are able to locate and install at kid-speed.

Your average self-tracking device does daily tallies for: steps-taken, kilometres-covered, calories-consumed and so on.

Dashboard of daily stats on the Fitbit app. Fitbit/Screenshot, Author provided

Parents will be happy to see children push up their daily step-count, and watch their young charges spending more time perusing exercise metrics and rewards, over first-person shooters and the demolition of rival buildings in Minecraft.

One reassuring aspect of the Fitbit daily dashboard, from the point of view of parents with slovenly kids in the home-zone, is that primary school kids are generally clocking-up lots of activity during their school day.

Self improvement

Researchers in pervasive computing see self-tracking as a significant tool in behavioural change in optimising one's self. From a sociology perspective, self-tracking is seen as heavily correlated with selfhood and identity.

These devices collect new information about one's self, capturing raw data that was previously hard-won or totally unavailable, and then present it visually for reflection, all with little-to-no effort by the individual. In doing so they offer a new source of rich knowledge about oneself.

Australian research into the phenomenon of self-tracking points to a philosophical grounding offered by French philosopher Michel Foucault. That individuals have a moral and ethical imperative to take up practices that help them achieve happiness, healthiness and wisdom. Practises that nourish both body and soul.

But despite the emphasis on self in this whole new scheme of smart things, the information being collected by these devices is also held by corporate entities beyond the individual.

Employers, with a vested interest in their employees' health and well-being, are also getting enthusiastic about these fitness devices.

In September 2015, the US retail giant Target offered more than 300,000 free Fitbit Zip devices to improve the wellness of employees, and the corporate image.

Some health insurance companies in the US and elsewhere, are now offering savings for people that wear such devices.

Any concerns?

So, what is the range of the growing concerns being raised about these self-tracking devices?

The computer scientist Jaron Lanier, author of Who Owns the Future?, was strapping technology onto his body back in the 1980s and has a good overarching measure of the dangers inherent in self-tracking:

There are two dangers: one is compromising privacy and the other is (that) participants can narrow themselves. Extreme adherents hyperconcentrate on certain kinds of numbers about themselves, and it can make them a little more robotic than other people.

Nonetheless, he missed the problem of low-grade devices. Fastfood giant McDonalds recently issued STEP-iT Activity Bands with Happy Meals in the US with 33 million Chinese-made wristbands set to go, only to recall them this month when burns and skin irritations were reported.

A growing concern is that self-tracking is becoming self-surveillance. And yet, in the public health domain self-tracking technologies dovetail nicely with the emphasis on self-management, on moving some personal responsibility and control back to individuals who require care.

It largely comes down to who has access to the data, what they use it for, and whether they have appropriate permission to do so.

Still, if it gets children off the couch and doing more exercise in the real world, by the time they are fit and healthy young adults they may well have cast off the activity tracking bracelet.

Or it just may evolve into a permanent augmentation, facilitating an optimised human life, from cradle to grave.

The Conversation

Steve Goschnick, Adjunct Professor, Swinburne University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

August 2016

App Review: ScratchJr (Scratch Junior) for both iPad and Android

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 11:09:15 +1000

By: gosh'at' (Steve Goschnick)

My app review of Scratch Junior got published in the International Journal of People-Oriented Programming, 4(1), pages 50-55.

As a simple 'app review' I'm quite surprised the publisher put it behind a paywall, and so I've put a copy here on my Blog site where it can be freely accessed (with the journal publisher's permission).

Its linked here as a .pdf file for your convenience:

I highly recommend it if you are thinking of getting a 7 to 9 year old into Coding - its very suitable for that purpose.

Enjoy, Steve

Figure 1. The Interface Guide built into the App is accessible via tabs along the bottom of screen.

Figure 3. Enacting the four on-screen game-controller-like buttons.

January 2016

Call For Papers: Kids and Other Novices Learning to Code

Mon, 4 Jan 2016 01:10:05 +1000

By: gosh'at' (Steve Goschnick)

*************************** CALL FOR PAPERS ***************************

2nd CFP: Kids and Other Novices Learning to Code: Insights, Tools & Lessons from the Visual Programming Frontline

Special Issue of: International Journal of People-Oriented Programming (IJPOP)

ISSN: 2156-1796, EISSN: 2156-1788

Editors: Leon Sterling & Steve Goschnick

Submission Due Date (extended): January 31, 2016

We are interested to hear of your research and experience with using and/or providing languages and programming environments designed to take whole new cohorts of people into Coding. Of interest is the whole span: 8 and 9 year-old school kids and younger, through to life-long learners who never thought about programming as a realistic option for themselves.

The well-known options include: Scratch, Alice, Greenfoot, AgentSheets, FLIP and various derivatives of Scratch (e.g. Snap!/BYOB, App Inventor, Blockly, FlashBlocks), derivatives of Blockly (e.g., WonderWorkshop, Blockly Games, etc.), and various other approaches, including executable flowchart environments (e.g. LARP).

Topics include but are not limited to:

We are interested in submissions from educators, facilitators and researchers with experience in the new coding environments, that delve into any of the above topics, and others that are closely related.

Some Readings:

Article: Want your kids to learn another language? Teach them code. The Conversation (2015), ... and repeated Below, on this page.

Article: Five reasons to teach robotics in schools. The Conversation (2015),

Article: An education for the 21st century means teaching coding in schools. The Conversation (2015),

Article: It's back to school for Facebook, and it's personal (a personalised learning environment). The Conversation (2015),

Journal paper: Judith Good (2011). Learners at the Wheel: Novice Programming Environments Come of Age. International Journal of People-Oriented Programming, 1(1), pp.1-24 (Via )


Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit papers for this special issue on or before 31st January 2016.

All submissions must be original and may not be under review by another publication. INTERESTED AUTHORS SHOULD CONSULT THE JOURNAL'S GUIDELINES FOR MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSIONS at submission.aspx. All submitted papers will be reviewed on a double-blind, peer review basis. Papers must follow APA style for reference citations. This journal is an official publication of the Information Resources Management Association

PUBLISHER: The International Journal of People-Oriented Programming is published by IGI Global (formerly Idea Group Inc.), publisher of the "Information Science Reference" (formerly Idea Group Reference), "Medical Information Science Reference", "Business Science Reference", and "Engineering Science Reference" imprints. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit

Editors-in-Chief: Steve Goschnick & Leon Sterling ( |

Published: Semi-annual (both in Print and Electronic form)

All enquiries and for this Issue should be directed to the attention of: Prof. Leon Sterling, Co-Editor-in-Chief International Journal of People-Oriented Programming E-mail:

All manuscript submissions to the issue should be sent through the online submission system:


September 2015

Teach Kids to Code

Mon, 28 Sep 2015 22:10:05 +1000

By: gosh'at' (Steve Goschnick)

(Published first in TheConversation - see link at bottom of page)

(Published first in TheConversation - see link at bottom of page)

Want your kids to learn another language? Teach them code

Steve Goschnick, Swinburne University of Technology

Among Malcolm Turnbull's first words as the newly elected leader of the Liberal Party, and hence heading for the Prime Minister's job, were: "The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative."

And near the heart of the matter is the code literacy movement. This is a movement to introduce all school children to the concepts of coding computers, starting in primary school.

One full year after the computing curriculum was introduced by the UK government, a survey there found that six out of ten parents want their kids to learn a computer language instead of French.

The language of code

The language comparison is interesting because computer languages are first and foremost, languages. They are analogous to the written versions of human languages but simpler, requiring expressions without ambiguity.

They have a defining grammar. They come with equivalent dictionaries of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs; with prepositions and phrase patterns, conjunctions, conditionals and clauses. Of course the dictionaries are less extensive than those of human languages, but the pattern rendering nature of the grammars have much the same purpose.

Kids that code gain a good appreciation of computational thinking and logical thought, that helps them develop good critical thinking skills. I've sometimes heard the term "language lawyer" used as a euphemism for a pedantic programmer. Code literacy is good for their life skills kit, never mind their career prospects.

Scratch is one of a new generation of block programming languages aimed at teaching novices and kids as young as eight or nine to write code.

Scratch teaches code with movable instruction blocks. Screenshot from

The Scratch language uses coloured blocks to represent the set of language constructs in its grammar. A novice programmer can build up a new program by dragging-and-dropping from a palette of these blocks onto a blank canvas or workspace.

The individual shapes of the blocks are puzzle-like, such that only certain pieces can interlock. This visually enforces the grammar, allowing the coder to concentrate on the creativeness of their whole program.

The Scratch language (and its derivatives) are embedded in a number of different tools and websites, each dedicated to a particular niche of novice programmers. The website is a prime example and has a series of exercises using the block language to teach the fundamentals of computer science. is a non-profit used by 6 million students, 43% of whom are female. It runs the Hour of Code events each year, a global effort to get novices to try to do at least an hour of code.

For a week in May this year, Microsoft Australia partnered with to run the #WeSpeakCode event, teaching coding to more than 7,000 young Australians. My local primary school in Belgrave South in Victoria is using successfully with grade 5 and 6 students.

Unlike prose in a human language, computer programs are most often interactive. In the screenshot of the Scratch example (above) it has graphics from the popular Plants vs Zombies game, one that most kids have already played. They get to program some basic mechanics of what looks a little like the game.

Hit the 'Show Code' button at it reveals the JavaScript language behind the coloured blocks. Screenshot from

But has a 'Show Code' button that reveals the JavaScript code generated behind the coloured blocks (see above). This shows novices what they created in tiles, translated into the formal syntax of a programming language widely used in industry.

It's not all about the ICT industry

Both parents and politicians with an eye to the future see the best jobs as the creative ones. Digging up rocks, importing, consuming and servicing is not all that should be done in a forward-thinking nation.

But teaching kids to code is not all about careers in computer programming, science and software engineering. Introducing young minds to the process of instructing a computer allows them to go from "I swiped this" to "I made this". From watching YouTube stars, to showing schoolyard peers how they made their pet cat photo meow.

It opens up young minds to the creative aspects of programming. Not only widening the possible cohort who may well study computer science or some other information and communications technology (ICT) professions, but also in design and the creative arts, and other fields of endeavour yet to transpire or be disrupted.

For most kids, teaching them to code is about opening their mind to a means to an end, not necessarily the end in itself.

The Conversation

Steve Goschnick, Adjunct Professor, Swinburne University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.



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