Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Thursday 1 February 2024

Can I write about your interesting computer science research on CS4FN (the work blog)?

I've just posted the below to PECS a mailing list for people interested in public engagement with computer science although this particular post is more about science communication (telling people about computer science research - though you definitely do need to tell people about your research if you hope to involve them in it in any way so ... two sides of the same coin I think). 

If you're doing an interesting computing-related or computing-adjacent project and would like me to write about it (it's free!) then let me know: or @JoBrodie on Twitter and most other platforms.

Of course you are also very welcome to write about the topic yourself but please be mindful of the young audience (using jargon is fine but please say what it means) and use everyday metaphors that kids might understand to draw links with your project.

At the end of the emailed bits there's some extra context.


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One of the things I do, as part of Paul Curzon's ICT PE Champion grant through CS4FN, is write about specific computer-themed research projects for the CS4FN blog. Some of these articles may eventually find their way into our print magazine (which is sent to subscribing schools and made available free as PDFs).

I've recently written about Dr Heather Turner's 'diversity in the R project' EPSRC fellowship and am currently liaising with the AMPER team for an article on their project about an AI tool to support people with dementia. There's another article nearly ready about the use of photogrammetry to create 3D rotatable images of delicate historic clothing fragments (inspired by an AHRC project).

I wondered if I could write an article about your work? (For the other EPSRC ICT PE champions possibly the end result (a blog post) may also be useful as an additional ResearchFish output...)

Our intended readership is for young people (about 14 years old), though we do also have a mini magazine for 8-12 year olds too. I think in reality our blog posts will be read and used by teachers rather than young people themselves, though we know that youngsters do read the magazines.

Here are some examples of our recent articles to get a sense of how we write about things.

Singing bird – a human choir, singing birdsong - by Jane Waite
- about the 'Dawn Chorus' project (not research as such, an art installation) which recorded people singing slowed down birdsong which was then sped up - and sounded like birds!

Eggheads: helping us to visualise objects and classes - by Daniel Gill
- helping people understand some concepts in computer science education that aren't always intuitive

Equality, diversity and inclusion in the R Project: collaborative community coding & curating with Dr Heather Turner - by me
- about Dr Turner's fellowship looking at ways of making the R project more welcoming / useful to a wider pool of people

Virtual reality goggles for mice - by Paul Curzon
- research giving mice an immersive experience where they're running on a treadmill but letting them think that they're moving through a maze

CS4FN Christmas Computing Advent Calendar - by me
- a series of 25 blog posts, one a day during Advent, with a mixture of computing research, history of computers, 'gosh that's quite interesting' factoids, computing puzzles and things to colour in and a bit of festive whimsy :)

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Extra context

Sometimes I just hear about something and write about it but I do also search through Twitter and the UKRI's funding pages (can be interesting to see what's just been funded). The writing I do is aimed at UK schoolkids (primary (8-12) and secondary (13+)) and teachers and most of what I and others on the team write is mediated by teachers in a classroom setting.

One of the aims of the EPSRC project that I receive funding from is to engage schools with computer science research. We also take a fairly broad view of what that means, and we also write about stuff that's just interesting (even if it's not about computing research). We just want to share our enthusiasm and nerdy joy about all matters computer-y :)

We're huge fans of the fact that computing is incredibly interdisciplinary, unavoidably so. There are people who are doing complex technical programming things and doing research into that, but there are also people doing research into things that aren't about computer science but which use it (e.g. bioinformatics and any research project where data is sensed, gathered, analysed or displayed using a device). Almost everyone uses computers all the time. Every day I get to say 'gosh I didn't know that' about some clever use to which someone's put a program, or a way that they've approached something (we also like writing about computational thinking and unplugged 'programming' too).

One of the things I'm also starting to do is take any opportunity to link a blog post about a particular topic to information about a relevant job (I collect job adverts, descriptions & person specifications that relate to computer science in some way). E.g. for the R project post I linked to a range of Research Software Engineering roles and for the AMPER dementia project I'm intending to link to a series of 'Dramaturgy for Devices' PhD project roles that were recently offered in the Netherland, about using theatre and performance to drive improvements in social robots' behaviours.

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