Feynlabs – Using the Raspberry Pi to teach Computer Science – Part Two

Here is Part Two for Feynlabs – Using the Raspberry Pi to teach Computer Science

Our approach is based on accelerating the learning of computer science among young people

It has three parts


  • Concept – covers computational thinking, building blocks of programming languages and how to think about the problem from a Computer’s perspective
  • Compute - application of the concepts to a specific platform (initially Raspberry Pi and Python)
  • Extrapolate – Understanding  implementations in modern programming languages, expanding the conceptual frameworks to other  scientific  domains and computing platforms


What does it mean?

Part One – Concepts

  •  Instead of Computers, Let’s start with Sharks ..
  • Sharks have an organ called ampullae of Lorenzini which helps sharks detect electrical fields in the water.
  • Similarly, Cats and Dogs can see some colours but not all of them.
  • Human beings with a neurological condition called Snesthesia can literally ‘taste the rainbow’ because a stimulation of one sense (e.g., taste) produces experiences in a totally different sense (e.g., sight).
  • Thus, sharks, dogs, cats and even humans have a different experience (model of the world) depending on their perspectives
  • So, how do Computers see the world and how can that be used to understand Computer science?
  • Sharks ,dogs, humans and computers model the world
  • A model is an internal representation
  • Models are used to understand the world on a smaller, limited scale by capturing relevant information and the model is then used to predict future behaviour.
  • This forms the basis of computational thinking
  • Computer science is based on the idea of Computational thinking.
  • Computational Thinking is a problem solving method and the term was first used by the computer scientist Seymour Papert.
  • Computer Science and Information Technology are complementary, but they are not the same. Computer Science teaches a pupil how to be an effective author of computational tools (i.e. software), while IT teaches how to be a thoughtful user of those tools.
  • Alongwith reading, writing and arithmetic – Computational thinking is now a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists.
  • Thinking like a computer scientist extends beyond programming. It requires thinking at multiple levels of abstraction (which means computing models, Data structures and algorithms)
  • Thus, Computational thinking is a holistic discipline which involves solving problems, designing systems, understanding human behaviour and much more.


Part Two –  Compute

  • In this section, we apply the ideas to a specific platform (Raspberry Pi and the Python programming language).
  • However, we are using the Pi differently from most people i.e. We use the Raspberry Pi and Python to illustrate the ideas of Computational thinking and computer science across the stack.
  • Why is this relevant now? The Raspberry Pi allows us to explore the concepts of Physical computing. Physical computing involves building interactive physical systems which can sense and respond to the analog world. Much like the applications that can be created by the Raspberry Pi and Arduino

Part Three – Extrapolate

  • Part three involves extrapolating the conceptual framework to modern and emerging languages
  • For instance -
    Web era (Python, JavaScript)
    Systems languages (C, Processing, Assembly)
    Functional and emerging languages(R, Mathematica, Lua, Haskell, Dog)
  • The idea is to be able to learn any programming language/platform knowing the conceptual framework

How does this make a difference to learning and why does it matter now?

  • From a learning standpoint this is interesting because once the participant can see the big picture and they can add their own unique contribution/imagination to learning.
  • Our techniques lead to a richer conversation in teaching. Instead of discussing endless variants of IF-THEN-ELSE statements and FOR loops, we have the freedom to explore the beauty and interconnectedness of Computer Science at an early stage.
  • We can talk of hardware and software and algorithms holistically.
  • We can introduce the principles of Systems thinking and Problem solving
  • We can prepare kids for the next wave of computing by looking at a variety of computing devices.

Comments welcome at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com

We drew this picture using a service called Popplet

















Image source for the sharks image wikipedia

My slides for Media web symposium – fraunhofer FOKUS – Berlin – #FOKUSMWS Smart Cities, Internet of Things and Web Technologies – Implementation perspective (City)









My slides for  Media web symposium – fraunhofer FOKUS – Berlin – #FOKUSMWS Smart Cities, Internet of Things and Web Technologies – Implementation perspective (City)

I speak here from a policy perspective(City perspective – i.e. different from vendor led talks of Smart cities)


1. How does an appstore fit in for IOT? – involve the community

2. What is the role of web technologies?

3. What is the biggest limitation to uptake of Smart cities?

4. Where does Big data fit in for IOT/Smart cities

5. How do you make a Business case for Smart cities?

6 What about the 50 billion connected devices? (IOT)

See also David Raggett’s slides on Smart cities and the Web of Things at the Media Web Symposium at the W3C blog

Interfaced piface to raspberry pi

Managed to interface piface to raspberry Pi and got the basic program to interface LEDs to work. A small step but glad it works. I think documentation for piface is still very early stage but it does work well after you overcome some initial things

I used this - Piface getting started  but even that document – sparse as it is .. needs some changes – will post them after I verify


Chance favours the connected mind ..

Love this!

MWC2013 – Mobile world congress roundup ..


 I spent the last week at Mobile World Congress.

The 2013 Mobile World Congress ends with more than 72,000 visitors, an 8% increase on last year More than 1,700 participating companies in 94,000 square metres of exhibition space. In my view, the transition from the older venue to the new venue was well managed and GSMA and the city of Barcelona deserves kudos for it

I was speaking / chairing twice -  Speaking at Mobile World Congress – IBM / Worklight – Mobile enterprise event  and At Mobile World congress – chairing – Where the Money Meets the Talent – Mobile Monday – GrowVC – . I was also a part of the @webinosproject

Here is an analysis of what I found interesting – both at the event itself – but also announcements coming from the event.

I track mobility from three perspectives:

-           An analyst

-          An entrepreneur (for my start-up feynabs) and

-          Tech policy discussions.

To see the background for my thinking, please see  2013 trends and How to analyse the industry in a mobile first world? Hence, the view emphasises areas I am tracking (for instance Smart cities).

Comments welcome at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com

Why is mobility significant?

On a personal note, I felt out of place carrying a laptop when @GabbyStern1 and her Wall Street Journal crew record the event on mobile alone!

We are truly in a Mobile First world

  •  No longer do we ask ‘Is this the year of mobile’ – instead global companies like IBM are adopting the Mobile first paradigm  
  • @WSTechUK says – It took 22 years for first 2 billion people to connect to the web – it’ll only take 5 years for next 2
  • GSMA Outlines State of Mobile Industry in New Report – with significant socio-economic contribution. The mobile industry is a major contributor to the global economy. The total mobile ecosystem revenues were US$1.6 trillion, or 2.2 per cent of global GDP. For the period through 2017, the mobile industry will invest US$1.1 trillion in capital expenditure and will contribute US$2.6 trillion to public funding. Importantly, in 2017, companies across the ecosystem will employ nearly 10 million people globally. “The mobile industry’s economic impact reaches far beyond its already-impressive $1.6 trillion in revenues, to boost individual well-being, corporate productivity and government funding,” said Mark Page, leader of A.T. Kearney’s Communications, Media and Technology practice and co-author of the report. “ To access the full report, “The Mobile Economy 2013”, visit www.gsma.com/mobileeconomy/.
  • GSMA Global Mobile Money Adoption Survey Identifies 30 Million Active Mobile Money Customers Globally in 2012 - The research shows the number of active mobile money users grew impressively; more than 30 million people undertook 224.2 million transactions totalling $4.6 billion during the month of June 2012 alone. “The social impact of mobile money is already well documented, and our report last year offered the first global benchmarks on how many customers were using mobile money,” Rapid Growth, Particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa  Mobile Money Contributing to Financial Inclusion 
    A full copy of the report can be found at: http://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/state-of-the-industry-2012
  • Global operator data revenues to surpass voice by 2018 GSMA claims mobile operator data revenues will overtake voice revenues globally by 2018, driven by a surge in demand for connected devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
  • Connecting with the next billion consumers was a key theme at MWC13

Mobile first – Three eras of app development – The merging of the web and mobile ecosystems – why have we reached the tipping point now?

I have been tracking the mobile and the Web industries holistically for more than ten years now .. and the key observation has been Mobility will become like the Web – but will complement the Internet and the Web in its unique way.

Apps are the mechanism that unite the two paradigms – the Web and Mobile.

Historically, apps were synonymous with íphone apps and indeed that’ s how the whole app industry started. But today, the conversation has evolved. On one hand, when we speak of apps, we still talk of the cool UI (esp with native apps). But that’ s only a part of the story now. Developers, consumers and CIOs take good UI for granted but they expect more.

I see three stages of maturity (eras) of app development
1) Stage one – Building an app is only the first step 2007 – 2010 era
2) Stage two – Hybrid apps and managing across multiple platforms – 2010 to now ..
3) Stage three – Mobile first – Apps (web, mobile, hybrid) used to extend and transform the business process – 2012 onwards

Stage three is critical for competitiveness and it unites the Web and Mobile paradigms
For example – 5 years ago, the question was – how many devices do you support?
Now the question is
a) How many platforms (iphone blackberry android etc)
b) Then also the security, management, device integration and reach
c) Process change driven by mobility

d) Transformation of consumer behaviour, engagement and consumption(commerce) through mobile – i.e. Mobile first

Business Process change is not just for large enterprises. I use a taxi company which manages the entire user experience in great detail through an app. Stage three (how companies and SMEs manage the business process change through mobile devices) will indeed decide the winners and the losers over the next few years. So, we are in a stage of fundamental transformation which affects all businesses.

Hence, you should read the below from the above disruptive perspective



What can Operators learn from Telefonica?

Telefonica was part of the two most disruptive announcements I have seen. Both are now posted as separate blogs and are a must read IMHO

Implications of the firefox OS announcement for the industry ..

O2 tu-go – truly disruptive because it allows you to take your number out of the phone – I am not a number I am a tag –

What can other Operators learn?

1)      The OTT/Telco debate is in the last decade. It’s time to move on with creative partnerships and acquisitions

2)      Learning from the music industry, newspaper industry and the likes of Kodak – companies which don’t move fast will lose out

3)      Developers are the key stepping stone to the customer because they enable the Long tail (and hence transform your network into a platform)



NFC and mobile payments

It was the year of NFC and there were many announcements related to NFC and the usage of NFC in the show itself. I will post more on NFC in a separate blog


Automotive also featured big time at MWC13

“50% of new cars purchased in 2015 will be connected”, says Francesca Forestiera, director of mAutomotive at @GSMA#MWC2013 #M2M





A chat with @disruptivedean has got me interested in webrtc. Agree with dean that webrtc disruptive

Some links:


Connected city

I spent a lot of time with the connected city demos.

Extending the idea of a ‘connected house’ a connected city is a GSMA initiative featuring a town hall, department store, and apartment to an electrical store, hotel, cafe and lounge, and a car showroom etc


On the radar


If you are in Berlin next week, Meet me at the 3rd FOKUS Media Web Symposium where I am also speaking

Comments welcome at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com @ajitjaokar








Image source:  Mobile World Congress 


Meet me at the 3rd FOKUS Media Web Symposium

Every year, I have attended this event and I enjoy it. Post MWC, it’s now on my agenda

If you are in Berlin, you should attend it.

The 3rd FOKUS Media Web Symposium

As usual, the event has two parts. The first day is tutorials and workshops

Connected TV
Multiscreen App Development
TV – hybrid, smart, social, multiscreen – what is the next?

Web Technologies for Smart Cities & Internet of Things
The second day has a series of sessions and talks which you can see here
The registration and details are at 3rd FOKUS Media Web Symposium. If you are there, happy to meet

Implications of the firefox OS announcement for the industry ..


















The firefox OS release was the hottest announcement at MWC. The basics of the firefox OS announcement are well publicized by now.

  • Following the lead of Telefonica and geeksphone, Mozilla revealed big-name supporters in the Operator community including Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telenor.
  • Device vendors TCL Communication Technology (Alcatel One Touch) , ZTE, Huawei have joined and devices will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon™ chipset.
  • The first wave of Firefox OS devices will be available to consumers in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela. Additional markets will be announced soon.
  • Mozilla wants to launch a fully open mobile ecosystem built on HTML5. The first Firefox OS powered devices are expected to launch commercially in Brazil in 2013 through Telefonica’s commercial brand Vivo.
  •  Firefox OS will be built on Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko project which enables HTML5 applications to access the underlying device capabilities of a phone -  e.g  the camera API.
  • While there will be an official Firefox Marketplace, others could deploy their own marketplaces. Similarly, multiple payment methods are supported.
  •  The devices themselves support many smartphone like features including camera, messaging etc alongwith built in cost controls,  social media integration and a deep contextual search that allows you to search the web and app ecosystem at the same time. For example searching for your favourite artist allows you to get buy concert tickets
  • Mozilla aims to bring the first phones powered by its Firefox OS to Europe by the summer
  • Even AT&T Mobility CEO says he’s open to Firefox OS

You can see a video here (from Richard Taylor, editor of Click Tout video )

Implications for the industry

The mobile world congress 2013 was focused on the next billion and in that sense, the Mozilla firefox OS device is in the same ballpark (being targeted to emerging markets)

The choice of HTML5 and the open Mozilla stack is interesting

I have blogged before that there are many reasons why HTML5 fits in well with Mobile Operator’s strategies.

On first glance, it sounds counter intuitive – especially when Mark Zuckerberg says betting on HTML5 was facebook’s biggest mistake and Google bets heavily on Android. (UPDATE – PS read this great article in the register as counterpoint for Zuckerberg view HTML5 is’nt facebook’s biggest mistake

However, assuming some problems are overcome, there are many reasons for synergies between HTML5 and Operators – for instance Operator could leverage their brand across many devices, the Operator can conduct trials for games through features like zero rating of data for initial uptake etc.

So, if we look at the Firefox OS announcement in that context, it makes more strategic sense.  Operator led initiatives have had little success historically – but the Firefox OS initiative is not (primarily) a collaboration between Operators but rather it is initially a collaboration between an Operator(Telefonica) and a major Internet player (firefox) which brings a vibrant developer community to the platform.  With the current announcement (18 Operators + 4 device vendors) – we have the possibility for a true ‘third ecosystem’ powered by developer support(from Mozilla)

An interesting feature- not much covered –  is ‘carrier customization’ especially around granular billing. This strategy has already tried out by the likes of  Opera web pass with limited success – but embedding such features deep inside a device could be very interesting for an Operator in emerging markets.

Strategically, the biggest impact of this announcement would be on devices in emerging markets(for example from Nokia) – but I expect over time – the ecosystem could well migrate to advanced markets.

In any case, the effort to create a truly open device is commendable and deserves recognition and support – especially when the more traditional proponents of Open systems seem to have abandoned the efforts – leading to an irony that the Operators have picked up the Open mantle ..

May it succeed :)


Sony and Telefonica are also evaluating the firefox OS

Based on live chat see live chat tefdigital Radio_20 with  carlosdomingo on  #FirefoxOS - there are plans for site compression (like Opera Mini)

Related posts:

1) If you are in Berlin next week, I am speaking at Media Web Symposium at Fraunhofer FOKUS

2) Mobile World Congress 2013 roundup

Image source: Mozila

PS – I was pleased to get a developer version of this phone – but I have not tested it yet – which I look forward to doing so!

O2 tu-go – truly disruptive because it allows you to take your number out of the phone – I am not a number I am a tag

This is the future! Rarely have I put an entire ad on the OpenGardens blog – but this could be truly disruptive
This is the kind of innovation Operators should be doing!
May even cause me to switch from Voda :)
PS I have no commercial relationship with O2.

See the ad above

This is the first of the two innovative services from Telefonica(other being the Firefox OS- Mozilla announcement) a separate blog on that soon

Tu-go adds value to the customer and solves the ‘network effect problem’ because  Tu Go deducts charges from the user’s existing call minutes. In contrast, Skype and others involve the purchase of credit. Also, both parties do not need to have it – only the calling party.

Interestingly, Tony fish and I predicted this in 2005/2006 in our book Mobile Web 2.0 when we put forward the idea that I am not a number – I am a tag.  and its now really true :)

I am pleased about this!