Keynote Speaker

Prof. Antanas Verikas
Halmstad University, Sweden

Prof. Antanas Verikas was awarded a PhD degree in pattern recognition from Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania. Currently he holds a professor position at both Halmstad University Sweden, where he leads the Department of Intelligent Systems, and Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania. His research interests include learning systems, classification, fuzzy logic, image processing, computer vision, pattern recognition, applied soft computing, and visual media technology. He published more than 170 peer reviewed articles in international journals and conference proceedings and served as Program committee member in numerous international conferences. He is a member of the European Neural Network Society, International Pattern Recognition Society, International Association of Science and Technology for Development, and a member of the IEEE.

Plenary Speaker

Assoc. Prof. Brad Mehlenbacher
Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development (ELPHD), College of Education, NC State University, USA

Dr. Brad Mehlenbacher is currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of Waterloo's Games Institute. He is an Associate Professor of Distance Learning (Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development), Primary Area Faculty Member with Human Factors and Applied Cognition (Psychology), Affiliated Faculty Member with Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (English and Communication), and Affiliated Faculty Member with the Digital Games Research Center (Computer Science) at NC State University. Mehlenbacher is author of the CCCC's 2012 Best Book in Technical and Scientific Communication, Instruction and Technology: Designs for Everyday Learning (MIT Press, 2010), co-author of Online Help: Design and Evaluation (Ablex, 1993), and has chapters in the CCCC award-winning Solving Problems in Technical Communication (U of Chicago Press), The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook (Lawrence Erlbaum), The Computer Science and Engineering Handbook (CRC), and the 1998 NCTE award-winning Computers and Technical Communication (Ablex). He earned his BA and MA at the University of Waterloo and his PhD in Rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon University. Mehlenbacher is past president of ACM SIGDOC. Brad has consulted for the Computer Science Department and Engineering Design Research Center at Carnegie Mellon; the Centre for Professional Writing at the University of Waterloo; Apple Computer; SAS Institute; and IBM.

Prof. Xabier Basogain
University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Spain

Xabier Basogain is professor of the University of the Basque Country - Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea. He is doctor engineer of telecommunications by the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and member of the Department of Engineering Systems and Automatics of the School of Engineering of Bilbao, Spain. He has taught courses in digital systems, microprocessors, digital control, modeling and simulation of discrete events, machine learning, and collaborative tools in education. His research activities include the areas of: a) soft computing and cognitive sciences to STEM; b) learning and teaching technologies applied to online education and inclusive education; c) augmented and virtual reality with mobile technologies.

Speech Title: Computational Thinking in Schools: A Window to the World of Knowledge

Abstract: In this talk we present the results of the project 'Computational Thinking in Schools' implemented by research group Cognitive Computation of the University of the Basque country, with members in Europe and USA. Our research activities integrate areas of computer science, cognitive sciences and educational technologies.
What is Computational Thinking? We will begin the talk by describing and illustrating the main elements of a working definition of Computational Thinking. This definition is the result of a comprehensive reflection on the experiences of our work and the analysis of the different interpretations of Computational Thinking that appear in the scientific literature on this subject.
What significant changes, values, methods, content, can Computational Thinking bring to our schools? In order to answer these questions it is helpful to know, with specific details, the essential characteristics of the current state of teaching and learning in schools around the world.
The PISA report (Program for International Student Assessment) organized by the OECD, notwithstanding the criticisms received from other institutions, offers relevant information regarding the current state of education in the world. The analysis of the PISA test allows the documentation of the topics being taught in schools, the type of tasks the students are required to practice (and by extension the parts of the brain they train,) as well as a documentation of what students of the world learn, and do not learn, in the areas of Science, Mathematics and Language.
Our group has focused its work on the study of the PISA report, in particular in the area of Mathematics. During this talk, we will illustrate with detailed examples the acquired knowledge of 15-year-old students around the world in the area of Mathematics after 10 years of compulsory education.
An analysis of the current state of knowledge in the area of mathematics in schools around the world allows us to propose specific educational actions that we consider necessary and effective. These are innovative educational actions aimed at those spaces of knowledge where Computational Thinking is known to be useful and effective: For example, in improving the problem-solving capacity of our young students.
Our educational proposal includes the introduction in the curriculum of Mathematics of topics that have the following characteristics:
1) Use of human computational primitives based on language and objects.
2) Use of generative languages and projects for problem solving.
3) Incorporation of topics in modern mathematics and the current world: discrete calculus, cybernetics, probabilistic thinking, differential vector geometry, the external world of the computer, robotics, and the world of data of the Internet of Things (IoT) and on the cloud.
4) Use of computers and educational technology in the classroom.
During this presentation we will show an application from the world of cybernetics called 'The self-driving car.' This is an example of a project made with the generative language Scratch. This example illustrates the features the Computational Thinking offers in order to develop new levels of cognitive processes in the minds of our students.