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Public Engagement

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					 Inspirational IT
Public Engagement a Global
         Challenge

 Professor Nigel Shadbolt
      BCS President
                     BCS@ nearly 50

Record membership
Sound finances
New products and services
Increasing numbers of candidates taking
our exams
Leading a successful Professionalism
Programme
Raising our Learned Society Profile
                     BCS@ nearly 50

Created a dynamic Thought Leadership
Programme
Expanding our work with business,
government and academia
Improving our infrastructure - physical
and digital
52 Specialist Groups
6 Forums
55 Branches…
                           And yet…

We face a real problem
Whilst IT is a vital part of society
and culture
IT cannot flourish without support of
wider community
This requires public engagement
We have not been effective here
               We are not unique…

Science, Engineering and
Technology have changed the world
Scientists, engineers and
technologists feel unappreciated
and undervalued
In our discipline the problem is, if
anything, even worse
               The public image is…

A poor one
Bored at school
A world of geeks and nerds
Profession associated with IT failures
Falling numbers at University
This varies from country to country;
interesting differences in emerging
economies
                Reasons advanced
                        include…
The public doesn’t care
The IT school curriculum
The media
The technology
Us
                       Reality check…

Public appetite for SET exists
Urgent need to review IT in schools
We need to engage with the media
We are in possession of inspirational
technology
The challenge lies with us
                     What can we do?

Defy expectations
Understand the nature of the problem
Confront the challenge of our subject in
schools
Foster media engagement
Evangelise computational thinking
Embrace the breadth and variety of our
discipline
                             How do we do it?
Invest time, effort, energy and enthusiasm
 • Top down and bottom up
 • BCS has appointed a Public Engagement Manager
Change Public Opinion
 • Reach the opinion formers
 • Engage more aggressively with mainstream media
Select targets
 • Find the issues, the debates, future possibilities
   that affect us
 • Work at all levels exploit our connections and
   networks
            The emerging approach

Using the 50th as a platform to
engage
Focus on the future externally, while
celebrating the past achievements
Select areas that can be made
accessible, interesting and
engaging to wide and various
audiences
Contextualise breakthroughs
                 Example activities

Crisis in Computing
Celebrating the future through the
past
Inspirational role models
The power of computational thinking
The caring digital society

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                                   Crisis in Computing
Significant downturn in students
entering computing/computer
science degrees
Government does not yet fully
recognise the problem
Media strategy
 • Pallab Gosh
 • Edelman
 • Timing
Week after I became President
interview became the most viewed
and emailed on the BBC Online
And then you have to deal with the
consequences
                                                 13
                Inspirational Role Models

Recruit those who have
made a difference
Look for the next
generation
Cultivate our own skills
Working with other
Professional Bodies and
Learned Societies




                                    14
                            Celebrating the Future
                                  though the Past
UK has a somewhat unique
tradition in this regard
Illustrates both strengths and
weaknesses
The Bletchley Park Story
 • Codes and Cyphers
   Heritage Trust
 • Computer Conservation SG
 • Bombe
 • Colossus
 • BCS support Cypher
   Challenge



                                             15
                 Computational Thinking:
                 A revolutionary paradigm
A large part of modern
STEM is all about;
computational models,
representations,
abstractions
But it goes wider into
social sciences and
humanities
This is a well kept
secret and we need let
it out...
            The Caring Digital Society

Issues of societal interest
 • e.g. Privacy - surveillance and
   sousveillance
Putting forward the benefits and not
always focusing on the disbenefits
 • e.g. Improved citizen services
Informed dialogue is essential
 • e.g. HFA and GM Crops
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            This is not just a BCS
                         problem ...
Is it...?




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