3 free films to show ITGS students

The Great Robot Race

The Great Robot Race, known more formally as the DARPA Grand Challenge, was a 2005 race for driverless vehicles. Racing through a long and twisty course in the Nevada desert, the teams competed to create the first autonomous vehicle capable of completing this challenge.

PBS’ coverage of the event is now freely available. Despite being a few years old, the film is still very interesting and relevant to the ITGS Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Expert Systems HL topic. Exercise 16-11 in my textbook is a useful precursor to this exercise, and completing the LEGO robots lesson before can also help students identify the difficulties of creating driverless vehicles. The PBS support page for this video also has many useful resources explaining how the robots sense their environment – great for helping students understand that robots ‘measure’ rather than ‘think’ in the conventional sense.

After viewing, students canĀ  move on to more recent innovations such as Google’s driverless car. (Sebastian Thrun, who worked on the Stanley car in this video later worked on Google’s vehicle).

Royal Institute Christmas Lectures – Hi-Tech Trek

Although the name of these videos might make them sound stuffy and boring, they are anything but. Designed specifically for younger audiences, the videos bring alive concepts in computer science and information technology through demonstrations, interactive examples, and audience participation. My favourite of the series is the final lecture, Digital Intelligence, which covers topics including pattern recognition, computer vision, and machine learning. All videos are freely available online.

Wired Science: Technology: World War 2.0

In 2007 a series of events in Estonia sparked the first large-scale cyberattack to affect an entire country. A political dispute over the country’s Soviet history led to a concerted online attack which took down banks, newspapers, and government sites.This special Wired Science video examines the background of the attack, explains how it happened and why it was so hard to stop, and examines the effects on the country.

This is a good video to use when teaching the Security, Networks and the Internet, or Politics and Government. It can be used in conjunction with various maps of the Internet as a basis for discussing how such attacks might affect countries in the future.

(Only the first 20 minutes of the video relate to the attack)

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