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Cities Of The Future, Built By Drones, Bacteria, And 3-D Printers - Co.Exist

Cities Of The Future, Built By Drones, Bacteria, And 3-D Printers - Co.Exist | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it


Though realization of this effort remains distant, it's notable to show how the thinking--and money--is moving to scale 3-D printing well beyond the desktop.

 

Further out on the horizon, this scenario means a greater coupling of biosystems and computation to evolve the living city. Bacteria will be engineered to target specific materials, like aging concrete. Released into cities, they will replace the old stuff with new bacterial glue that’s structurally sound, networked, and computational. Other bacteria could perform similar maintenance by retrofitting aging utility conduits and faded solar skins. Protocell computers could also be released into ecosystems, sensing chemical properties and transmitting them on mesh networks to remote dashboards. Vats of bacteria will pump out fuels, protein resources, and water.

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Computational Tinkering
The impact of computational thinking on our view of the world
Curated by Susan Einhorn
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President Obama Wants Every Kid To Learn Coding--For All The Wrong Reasons

President Obama just unveiled his “Computer Science for All Initiative.” Following up on the State of the Union Address, in which he announced his intention to offer “every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one,” the initiative includes $4billion in funding for states and $100Million directly for districts to increase hands-on K-12 computer science instruction.


If we want to get to the next great era of human ingenuity, we will absolutely need to make sure that everyone knows a little bit about the math and science that underlies today’s dominant technologies. But it is not, as President Obama believes, so they can be the labor force that drives a digital information economy. It is so that they have the critical objectivity to maintain their humanity even as they fully embrace a digital world.

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Introducing The Industrialist’s Dilemma

Introducing The Industrialist's Dilemma - The Industrialist's Dilemma - Medium

The Industrialist’s Dilemma is a new course at the Stanford Graduate School of Business that runs in the Winter of 2016, In “The Industrialist’s Dilemma” at Stanford GSB this Winter, we’ll be exploring the lessons of the world’s best startups taking on legacy industries as well the fastest-adapting industrialists that are putting digital at the center of their future strategies.


Just as Marc Andreessen described that software eating the world four years ago, startups today are able to harness the power of cheaper computing, unlimited data storage, ubiquitous internet and smartphones, contract manufacturing, and improved digital experiences to attack industries that haven’t changed for decades or centuries. While for years the tech industry had been squarely focused on optimizing known tech problems –building faster search engines or a better phone– all this digital power is causing a set of entrepreneurs to explore brand new solutions to nearly every legacy industry.

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Clockwork City, Responsive City, Predictive City and Adjacent Incumbents

Clockwork City, Responsive City, Predictive City and Adjacent Incumbents | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

For the last 150 years or so, we’ve run our cities like clockwork.

I don’t mean that as a compliment, a suggestion of flawless efficiency. Just that we’ve designed, planned and run our cities based on regulated industrial rhythms, bound to pre-digital engineering and organisations, and we still do.

We expect a rush hour at the beginning and end of work-week days, and planners intensify mass transit at these times along major arteries, usually into the middle of cities via a form of ‘hub-and-spoke’ model. Citizens must move towards the nearest nodes in that network — the bus stop, the metro station — rather than their actual origin or destination, and these must necessarily be organised along averages of demand.

These patterns are in-part derived from mass industrialisation, and its physical impacts, and the 20th century urban planner’s instinct to separate functions like retail, offices, housing and industry into different zones of the city.

These days, however, not only are we now trying to create ‘mixed-use’ urban environments, dissolving zones left, right and centre, but many of our patterns of working are fragmenting — whether that’s through zero hours contracts or the burgeoning freelance sector — as are many other patterns of living, generally.

But those clockwork patterns run deep. Few western cities look like a Lowrypainting anymore. The factories have gone, the workers have gone, the tramlines that delivered them have often gone too. Yet traffic still tends to runs along those now-buried lines, even though the route’s raison d’être has long since departed.

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These students can code a video game--can yours? | eSchool News | eSchool News

Coding games for kids are really about teaching the basics of logic and problem solving, said Scott Jacobsen of Madrona Venture Group, which has invested in Wonder Workshop. Technologies for kids teach how to match the analytic and creative parts of the brain, he said.


Founders of companies working on tech for kids, however, insist that the games and programs are not exclusively for kids who want to be computer scientists. Everyone, they say, will need to know how to speak to computers.

“For us, coding is not a set of technical skills but a new type of literacy and personal expression, valuable for everyone, much like learning to write,” Scratch co-founders Mitchel Resnick and David Siegel wrote in a last week. “We see coding as a new way for people to organize, express, and share their ideas.”

Many entrepreneurs agree. “It’s not that kids need to learn a particular programming language,” said Hadi Partovi, co-founder of Code.org. “It’s learning how apps work, how basic technology operates. I can’t imagine being a functioning member of society in 30 or 40 years without knowing that.”

Susan Einhorn's insight:

What is missing from many (most) of these articles is the awareness that the recognition of the importance of programming (yes, programming, not coding) as a key thinking tool and literacy skilll didn't start with code.org or the first Hour or Code or even with Scratch, but with a group of very forward-thinking people many decades earlier, most notably people like Seymour Papert, Cynthia Solomon, Wally Feurzeig. Their work inspired and helped shape much of the thinking and development we talk about today.

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A Million Programmers? How About a Billion Problem Solvers!

A Million Programmers? How About a Billion Problem Solvers! | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Software is in almost everything we touch, so the demand for software engineers is increasing exponentially. If our kids can't fill these jobs, then someone else's will and we'll have to continue to import talent.

But focusing on computer science as a gateway to good jobs would be akin to thinking about English Language Arts only in the context of script writing. It's shortsighted and completely misses the fact that coding is a new literacy that can help kids develop and achieve across every core competency.

According to a recent study by Tufts University, kids who study computer science improve transferrable skills like sequencing, which has a direct positive correlation with improved reading comprehension.


Via Paul Herring
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Paul Herring's curator insight, November 12, 2015 5:05 PM

"... There's been a 57% growth in software jobs in NYC alone over the past seven years, and analysts predict that by 2020 U.S. companies will have 1.4 million open programming jobs.


Software is in almost everything we touch, so the demand for software engineers is increasing exponentially. If our kids can't fill these jobs, then someone else's will and we'll have to continue to import talent. .."

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Computational Thinking by Deborah Tatar

A team of researchers led by a Virginia Tech faculty member have received $1.25 million from the National Science Foundation to introduce students to computational approaches and the ways they can help deepen their classroom science experiences.


Via Paul Herring
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Students tackle programming, but is it only for maths geniuses?

Students tackle programming, but is it only for maths geniuses? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Programming is now common in schools but just because students have spent their lives using technology does not mean they are all good at creating the coding that underpins it.


Programming makes things work. Phones, fridges, robot vacuum cleaners – these digital devices work because a programmer has coded a list of instructions a computer can understand.


"Programming gets students to think," Gesthuizen says.

"Coding is a high-level skill that gets them thinking about solving a problem, and there is more than one way to solve a problem. When students are learning maths, they are learning individually, but programming is very social and collaborative."


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“Emotion Is a Side Effect of Intelligence”

“Emotion Is a Side Effect of Intelligence” | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

If we look at some of the ways that researchers are developing artificial intelligence now—through deep learning, iterative neural networks, and so on—the systems they’re creating don’t seem likely to respond emotionally in ways that would be recognizable to us. Is it a fantasy to imagine that our artificial intelligences will feel in the same way that we feel?

I don’t think it’s a fantasy; I think it’s a necessity. Or, at the very least, emotion is a side effect of intelligence. If we do accidentally manage to create something intelligent, I would guess that it would exhibit some kind of emotion as a side effect of intelligent action in the world. And I’m not alone in thinking this, by the way.

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An algorithm can predict human behavior better than humans - Quartz

You might presume, or at least hoype, that humans are better at understanding fellow humans than machines are. But a new MIT study suggests an algorithm can predict someone's behavior faster and more reliably than humans can. 


It’s fairly common for machines to analyze data, but humans are typically required to choose which data points are relevant for analysis. In three competitions with human teams, a machine made more accurate predictions than 615 of 906 human teams. And while humans worked on their predictive algorithms for months, the machine took two to 12 hours to produce each of its competition entries.

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Prof: This tech is a canary in the student outcomes coalmine - eCampus News

Prof: This tech is a canary in the student outcomes coalmine - eCampus News | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
An Iowa State University study found instructors may be able to better assess how a student performs in class through the use of digital textbook analytics.


Of those 236 students who opted for the digital textbook, the average spent nearly 7.5 hours reading over 11 days through the 16-week semester. Junco noted students who spent more time highlighting their readings also earned overall higher grades in the course.

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Microsoft's ambitious coding program expands | eSchool News | eSchool News

Microsoft's ambitious coding program expands | eSchool News | eSchool News | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Though the technology industry is booming, especially in Washington, only about one in four high schools nationwide teach computer science.

Many local and national efforts are hoping to close that gap. In its last term, the Legislature passed a bill that will use $2 million in state and private funds to train high school teachers to teach computer science and to set standards and teacher training programs for 2016-17.

And in the past few weeks, Microsoft also expanded its own program, which now is operating in nearly 60 Washington schools.

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Where’s the Elephant? : The Daily Papert

Where’s the Elephant? : The Daily Papert | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

You probably know the original story: One of the blind men touched the ear and said an elephant is a curtain; the second touched the leg and announced that an elephant is a huge pillar; and the third touched the tail and said, “No, no, it’s a small snake.”
The story allows us to cast the question about the integrity of Logo as: Where’s the elephant? As teachers we might well worry: in our desire to show children many ways to use the computer are we missing the wood for the trees? 


The critical logician in me felt a little silly when the associationist bricoleur in me reached for Robert Dehort’s The Life and Lore of the Elephant and Why Animals Have Tails. But the bricoleur won, for the trail led me to see the connection between ears, legs, and tails in a deeper light than I had before. And it turned the story into a much better metaphor for parts and wholes of understanding.


By this time the meaning of the word “blind” in the original story had changed for me. In its complacent reading the story allows those of us who are blessed with sight to congratulate ourselves on seeing the connections between the ears, legs, and tails of the elephant. But to “see” real connections we also need a spirit of playful, exploratory inquiry and skill in the unnamed art of making connections. And most of all, we need to have a taste for making connections, to retain the joy in connecting that is innate in all of us – though so often attenuated in school by habits of dissociated learning.

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It’s time we made ‘code’ an official language, and teach it in every school

It’s time we made ‘code’ an official language, and teach it in every school | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Kids may intuitively master Twitter, Snapchat and Angry Birds, but unless we teach them programming in school, they’ll never have the skills necessary to develop the next generation of software.


Coding as a career is not for everyone, nor should it be. Unlike 2012’s viral campaign called CodeYear, created by startup Codecademy, I am not suggesting that people drop what they’re doing and try to become programmers overnight. The point is, just as we do with broadly applicable subjects like math and science, we should introduce it and teach it early on so that kids have yet another valuable arrow in their knowledge quiver, whether they later pursue a career in programming or not.

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Why coding is the vanguard for modern learning

Why coding is the vanguard for modern learning | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Coding is coming to all of our schools with a lot of hype, inevitably there is push back from many different quarters for a variety of reasons… In my view these push backs are uninformed.  The code I know is the vanguard for modern learning, and for this reason, in my view, anyone interested in learning should take notice, and seek to understand, what is happening.

The Importance of the Learning Environment

We get so attune to curriculum and assessment as it is done in schools, we can begin to think that all learning, no matter how it occurs, produces the same results and the same outcomes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Coding as Visual Expression

Coding as Visual Expression | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

What happens when computer science isn’t an additional class, but worked into the projects that students create in art and humanities classes? What happens when we realize that coding is a language, and as a language, expresses something?

Professional artists and designers have used coding to create visual forms of expression. There’s a community of such artists creating libraries and open-source software from their experience in computational design. These products, such as Cinder, make coding more accessible to artists looking to learn by playing around with the syntax. These artistic communities are highly professional but also supportive, embodying the participatory culture and sharing ethos of the coding community.

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A Look Back at the Media Lab’s 2015 — MIT MEDIA LAB — Medium

A Look Back at the Media Lab's 2015 - MIT MEDIA LAB - Medium

On October 30, we celebrated the Media Lab’s 30th anniversary with a day-long symposium, Mind, Magic & Mischief, followed by a party and alumni gathering. Highlights were tributes to Marvin Minsky and Lab co-founder Jerome Wiesner, and talks by Kofi Annan, Steve Pinker, George Church, Nolan Bushnell, Mary Lou Jepsen, and US CTO Megan Smith. The event also recognized the Lab’s 30-year collaboration with LEGO. To acknowledge this, LEGO gave us an incredible 30th birthday present: a scale model of the Media Lab complex—made out of LEGO, of course. If you’re in Cambridge, you can see it on display in our E14 lobby.

Our Knotty Objects summer symposium in July brought together a group of designers, inventors, and scholars who are merging design and technology in new and unexpected ways. Our antidisciplinary view of research made the Lab a great spot to explore the intersection of design and technology.

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What Students And Teachers Really Think About Computer Science In Schools

What Students And Teachers Really Think About Computer Science In Schools | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
The good, the bad and the disappointing


Teachers who work at the poorest schools are more likely to think that computer science is vital to their students’ futures, but are less likely to think their school boards agree, a new survey released Tuesday reveals.


The survey was conducted by Gallup on behalf of Google, and looks at perceptions of computer science for different groups, including students, parents, educators and school district administrators. It follows an earlier survey released in August, which looked at access to computer science courses and found that lower-income students have fewer opportunities to study the subject. However, this latest survey shows that low-income students' lack of access is not due to apathy on the part of their educators.


Twenty-one percent of teachers who work at schools where more than half of the student body qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch said they thought access to computer science is more important to a student’s future success than other elective courses, like music or art. Only 10 percent of teachers who work at schools where 25 percent or fewer students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch said the same thing.

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Writing Good Code Is a Lot Like Making Beautiful Music

Writing Good Code Is a Lot Like Making Beautiful Music | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Much like a good song, good code is all about how the individual pieces fit together.


“Some of the best musicians I know are also engineers,” (coder and musician Richard) Plom says, pointing to various coders among the vast ranks at Apple. The two pastimes, you see, aren’t as different as they might seem. “Good code—when it’s written the right way—sings,” Plom explains. “It’s like constructing a song.”


You get a glimpse of that watching a Vine video with a perfect loop. It’s music, driven by code. And in a way, itresembles code, which often include loops. But at the same time, to use Plom’s term, these Vine videos “sing”—in multiple ways. And reaching that point requires a quality found in coders and musicians and coder-musicians. As Plom describes it: “It’s a way of thinking.”

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Dextro, One Of The Most Elusive Algorithmic Artists | The Creators Project

Dextro, One Of The Most Elusive Algorithmic Artists | The Creators Project | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Since the mid-90s, the hermetic and anonymous artist behind the name Dextro has been quietly creating some of the most pioneering algorithmic and generative art. Though his identity is a mystery, he is known for converging various styles, with work resembling luminous waves in one piece, and glitchy patterns in the next.


“[The work] was interactive within a pre-defined frame of possible behaviors,” he said. “Now I like 'algorithmic' more than 'generative' or 'code-generated' [because it] hints at functions, relationships, dynamics, and not just information and rules.”


For his video work, once Dextro “captures” the initial idea, he begins experimenting with code, changing numbers to see what happens. Changes can be surprising if the script is unstable.


Dextro explained that, although numerical values change linearly, the visual results are far from linear. What's of interest for Dextro is the ability to define a mathematical situation that “holds in it many possibilities, which come to surface through numerical variations in some part of its initial setting."

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Penumbra Foundation

  • What goes on in the darkroom: exposed!
It requires only a fraction of a second to take a picture on an iPhone and share it with someone halfway around the world. An alternative photography process from the 19th century involves dozens of steps and can take an entire day to get right. So why do it? Located in the historic so-called "Photo District" of NYC, The Penumbra Foundation offers educational opportunities where inquisitive artists and students can learn a variety of alternative processes, test them out, and decide for themselves. 
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Buoyed by Congress, STEM and coding are on the rise | eSchool News | eSchool News

Buoyed by Congress, STEM and coding are on the rise | eSchool News | eSchool News | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
New legislation makes computer science an official part of STEM education, as more Americans say STEM is critical to the nation's future.


Three out of four Americans in a recent survey said they think “science is cool in a way that it wasn’t 10
years ago.”


Seventy-three percent of participants in the Finger on the Pulse opinion survey, from Horizon Media’s WHY Group, agreed with the statement that “in the future, all the best jobs will require knowledge of computer coding languages.”


Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said they believe knowing how to use a computer is equally important as knowing how to read and write.

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Study asks: Can math teachers teach coding? | eSchool News | eSchool News

Study asks: Can math teachers teach coding? | eSchool News | eSchool News | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

How do students and teachers learn math and computer science, and how can we ease the coming shortage of computer science teachers? Worcester Polytechnic Institute will partner with Brown University and Bootstrap to examine those questions.

A team of computing education experts will study how students—and teachers—learn mathematics and computer science, and how those ways of learning can influence each other.

Describing algebra as “the gatekeeper for most STEM jobs,” Fisler and colleagues are excited to further explore the connection between math and computer science. Implementing computer science courses in the schools poses a challenge, as few middle schools and high schools have computer science teachers on staff, and few states offer teacher certification in the area.

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Martine Mannion's curator insight, December 14, 2015 8:12 AM

"Can Math teachers teach coding"? I would argue most definitely. I introduced a group of top set Yr 8 students to MSW Logo and a set of walk through activities on https://nrich.maths.org/1532 My main objective was to see if I could get my students to engage their computational thinking skills and approaches in tackling the activities, rather than me direct and dictate from the front. The lesson was amazing, the students took ownership of their learning, working collaboratively and competitively, many exceeding the set activities to go on to explore other possibilities to create mathematical puzzles by consulting online channels including 'YouTube' By the end of the lesson, teachers and students alike had developed a better understanding of how programming and mathematics can influence each other by applying the principles of computer science. I have gone on to transfer this model into lessons in other curriculum areas including Music and History, the results are wonderful, dynamic and creative learning that pushes the boundaries way beyond expectations - the student 'gets it and loves the challenge.

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It’s finally happened — scientists construct part of a rat brain in a computer

It’s finally happened — scientists construct part of a rat brain in a computer | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

After a decade of work, the Blue Brain Project of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne claims, in a paper published in Cell, that it has created 31,000 virtual neurons comprised of 207 individual neuron subtypes. While the entire rat brain is estimated to have some 21 million neurons, even this tiny portion of the organ has scientists agog with the new realm of possibilities this latest discovery unlocks.


The ultimate goal of the $1 billion endeavor is not only to construct a whole rat brain in a computer, but a human brain as well. his project is separate from efforts to upload a consciousness to the cloud — rather, the hope here, as the New York Times explains, is for researchers to be able to “digitally encode some characteristics of neurons and their connections that are common to all brains.” 


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A ‘memory foam’ approach to machine learning could reboot artificial intelligence | ExtremeTech

A ‘memory foam’ approach to machine learning could reboot artificial intelligence | ExtremeTech | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Towards the goal of creating a more robust system of unsupervised learning, a team at Loughborough University in the UK has been perfecting an artificial intelligence model based on “memory Foam.” The name hints at the nature of the model itself. Memory foam, which has become a popular component of mattresses, can take on an infinite variety of curvatures depending on the impression left on it by the person. In a similar vein, a computer employing the memory-foam approach learns to recognize stimuli by gaining an overall impression of sensory stimuli left upon it. Many believe this method more closely resembles the actual working of the human brain rather than algorithms used in supervised machine learning.

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Computational thinking in compulsory education: Towards an agenda for research and practice - Springer

Computational thinking in compulsory education: Towards an agenda for research and practice - Springer | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Computational Thinking is considered a universal competence, which should be added to every child’s analytical ability as a vital ingredient of their school learning. In this article we further elaborate on what Computational Thinking is and present examples of what needs to be taught and how. First we position Computational Thinking in Papert’s work with LOGO. We then discuss challenges in defining Computational Thinking and discuss the core and peripheral aspects of a definition. After that we offer examples of how Computational Thinking can be addressed in both formal and informal educational settings. In the conclusion and discussion section an agenda for research and practice is presented.

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