Computational Tinkering
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We're Not Ready To Teach Kids To Code - Practical Elegance

Where technology hasn’t penetrated in a meaningful way is in professional development. Teachers are still “improving” their skills in more or less the same way they were decades ago. This has to change. If you’re teaching in a STEM-related area and you cannot or will not understand variable assignment, iteration, recursion, and other basic concepts — the very basics of coding — you should find a new career. I’m not saying you need to delve into pointers, concurrency, etc. Just the basics.

 

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Computational Tinkering
The impact of computational thinking on our view of the world
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An Augmented Reality Lego Set Helps MIT Design Healthier Cities

An Augmented Reality Lego Set Helps MIT Design Healthier Cities | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
When groups collaborate at the MIT Media Lab, the creativity soars.

 

When designers team up with engineers and computer scientists, the results can be greater than what any group produces on their own. Take, for instance, the augmented reality Lego set created in order to visualize urban design.

 

This construction used augmented reality to display data visualization as a moving process, keeping track of statistics like population density and transportation patterns. The team’s goal is to use the augmented reality Lego cityscape to analyze the impact of design on wellness. 

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The Rise of AI Makes Emotional Intelligence More Important

 

Develop the skills machines can’t replicate.

 

The booming growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), like most transformational technologies, is both exciting and scary. It’s exciting to consider all the ways our lives may improve, from managing our calendars to making  medical diagnoses, but it’s scary to consider the social and personal implications — and particularly the implications for our careers. As machine learning continues to grow, we all need to develop new skills in order to differentiate ourselves. But which ones?

 

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American schools are teaching our kids how to code all wrong

American schools are teaching our kids how to code all wrong | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The typical coding apps don’t get at the heart of computer science. Instead they stay at the surface, teaching what is comfortable and catchy. In that sense, they are equivalent to the songs on today’s “Top 40”—fun to listen to but offering no real insight or understanding into music literacy, meaning, or theory. Computing and computer science is the equivalent of immersing in a thicker study of music—its origins, influences, aesthetics, applications, theories, composition, techniques, variations and meanings. In other words, the actual foundations and experiences that change an individual’s mindset.

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The Year of the Robot

Our favorite research articles about how robots are taking over the learning sector.

1. Robots Imitate Cognitive Development Capabilities

2. Building Better Robot Tutors

3. It's Getting Easier for Pre-K Kids to Learn Robotics

4. Playful Talk Enhances Collaborative Robotics Learning

5. Rethinking the Robot
.

 

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Lego targets pre-Mindstorms minds with its Boost educational kit

Lego targets pre-Mindstorms minds with its Boost educational kit | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Boost is an impressive kit. The five on-board building experiences cover a lot of ground, from a robot to a guitar, to quasi Lego “3D printer” that’s more like an assembly line Rube Goldberg-style device that pieces together its own Lego creations..

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DT10: Virtual Reality. We have virtual reality. What’s next is straight out of ‘The Matrix’

DT10: Virtual Reality. We have virtual reality. What’s next is straight out of ‘The Matrix’ | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
The fizzled fever dream of the ‘90s is finally real thanks to hardware scraps from the smartphone revolution, but where is VR taking us? And are we sure we really want to go there?

 

 

What is it like to walk in someone else’s shoes? Books allow us to imagine it, and movies allow us to see it, but VR is the first medium that actually allows us to experience it. As VR developers catch on, generating empathy may turn out to be one of the medium’s most unique and powerful abilities.

Jeremy Bailenson, the founder of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, has spent years researching how VR may help us understand one another better, and the results are encouraging.

 


Via Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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NES Classic Edition sells out: What old games can teach a new generation

NES Classic Edition sells out: What old games can teach a new generation | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Old-school games like those of Nintendo's original console are being used to teach young programmers across the US.

 

One study led by Northwestern University learning technologist Uri Wilensky found that when high school students were tasked with recreating an existing video game, they were four times more likely "to draw inspiration from a game that could be played on an Atari or in an ‘80s arcade than on an Xbox or Play Station. Younger students are also cutting their teeth on programming with vintage games.

 

 

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Robots Imitate Cognitive Development Capabilities

Research confirms your sci-fi fears are becoming reality.

 

New research shows that robots have the ability to demonstrate cognitive evolution. Using theories on child development, researchers have run tests with robots to grasp a full understanding of their programmable learning abilities. The positive results show that robots have the ability to recognize both humans and avatars from their behavioral imitations. Simply put, this means they now have the ability to demonstrate the learning process that takes place in the minds of most infants.

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Should Every Child Know Computer Science?

Should Every Child Know Computer Science? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
A group of nonprofits and educators wants all students, even kindergartners, to know the fundamentals.

 

More and more jobs are requiring some knowledge about how computers work. Not just how to start one up and surf the web, but how they actually run, how—at the simplest level—a series of inputs leads to a series of particular outputs.

 

Yet, across the United States, few children are being taught even the basics of computer science. It’s a discipline left largely to the self-motivated YouTube watchers and the kids lucky enough to be born into tech-minded families with resources.

 

 

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Do Computers Think - Deborah Kay's Blog

Do Computers Think - Deborah Kay's Blog | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Is computational thinking getting humans to think like computers or getting computers to think like humans? More fundamentally, do computers think?

Via Paul Herring
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Anchoring Computational Thinking in today’s curriculum

There is a lot of talk of "Computational Thinking" as a new imperative of education, so I wanted to address a few questions that keep coming up about it. What is it? Is it important? How does it relate to today's school subjects? Is Computer-Based Maths (CBM) a Computational Thinking curriculum?

Firstly, I've got to say, I really like the term.

To my mind, the overriding purpose of education is "to enrich life" (yours, your society's, not just in "riches" but in meaning) and different ways in which you can think about how you look at ideas, challenges and opportunities seems crucial to achieving that.

Therefore using a term of the form “xxx Thinking" that cuts across
boundaries but can support traditional school subjects (eg. History, English, Maths) and emphasises an approach to thinking is important to improving education.

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Why Computer Science Education in K-12 Settings Is Becoming Increasingly Essential

Why Computer Science Education in K-12 Settings Is  Becoming Increasingly Essential | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

To begin, let's dispense with the notion that the "opportunity" in teaching CS is simply to train an army of programmers. While there is no question that there is a huge need for information technology workers--estimates often place this figure at over 500,000 unfilled IT positions in the U.S. alone--computer science is far more than just programming and the end goal of a CS education is not just to produce software engineers. Indeed, schools don't teach students to read books and write essays analyzing them because we are trying to create a cadre of literary analysts. Similarly we don't teach physics because we have a desperate need to expand the search for dark matter. We teach these subjects in school because they provide students with frameworks to think critically about and better understand the world in which they live. Similarly, learning CS is not just about giving students the skills to build the next mobile phone app. Much more significantly, learning CS helps students develop systemic thinking skills for problem solving, practice logical deduction, and learn to express themselves with greater precision and clarity.


Via Paul Herring
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The World’s Biggest LEGO Set

Digital blocks + Google Maps = Build with Chrome

 

Build with Chrome fuses LEGO with Google Maps to create the world’s biggest LEGO set. Not only can users choose any empty plot of land around the earth to build on, they can also see creations made by others, making the experience both creative and interactive. Build with Chrome is an out-of-the-box approach to a classic children’s toy. Also, don’t let the name fool you; Build with Chrome also works on internet browsers that aren’t Google Chrome.

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Matthew Battles,  technology’s impact on our experience of art, culture, and the natural world, etc

The Associate Director of metaLAB digs deep for his upcoming book, TREE.

 

Matthew Battles is a maker and thinker whose work merges literary, scholarly, and artistic forms of inquiry. His writing on the cultural dimensions of science and technology appears in The American Scholar, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, and The New York Times. At metaLAB, Matthew advances an agenda of creative research exploring the dark abundance of collections in libraries and museums; technology’s impact on our experience of art, culture, and the natural world; and the conditions of culture and experience in the context of deep time.

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Debating the Ethics of Machine-Enhanced Humans Is a Learning Curve

Debating the Ethics of Machine-Enhanced Humans Is a Learning Curve | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Philosophical frameworks give technological advancement a moral compass.

 

As human augmentation becomes more common for everything from improving memory to vision, public discourse on the ethics surrounding the practice have grown. Deus Ex is leading this conversation with their newly released ethical design framework for human augmentation.

 

How much can humans be altered before they are no longer considered human? Can robots who feel pain, learn, and respond emotionally be considered human? What if everyone around you adopts a special augmentation, but you don’t want it, do you have the right to say no? Deus Ex is working with academics, entrepreneurs, and developers to answer these questions.

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Did Media Literacy Backfire? – Data & Society: Points

Did Media Literacy Backfire? – Data & Society: Points | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Anxious about the widespread consumption and spread of propaganda and fake news during this year’s election cycle, many progressives are calling for an increased commitment to media literacy programs…
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Be Careful What You Code For – Data & Society: Points

Be Careful What You Code For – Data & Society: Points | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Technology can be amazingly empowering. But only when it is implemented in a responsible manner. Code doesn’t create magic. Without the right checks and balances, it can easily be misused. In the world of civic tech, we need to conscientiously think about the social and environmental costs, just as urban planners do.

Via Jim Lerman
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2016: A year in the life of the Lab – MIT Media Lab

2016: A year in the life of the Lab – MIT Media Lab | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

We’ve all been witness to some trying times over the past 12 months, both in the United States and across the world. In sharing some of the highlights of the past year, we are fully cognizant of the challenges ahead, of the importance of academic freedom, and of ways we can best address some of the most critical global needs.

Toward this end, I was one of more than 626 MIT faculty members who recently signed a statement upholding our values of science and diversity. In adding my name to the distinguished list of signers, I emphasized that today’s academic institutions must remain havens to protect diversity of opinions and the freedom to express those opinions when the political climate threatens to impinge upon those freedoms.

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Is this graphic novel STEM education’s secret sauce?

Is this graphic novel STEM education’s secret sauce? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
A new graphic novel that uses computational thinking to teach students to code might be the next big thing in STEM education.

 

Curly Bracket, from Ashoka fellow and Swedish social entrepreneur Johan Wendt, is a combination textbook and graphic novel that builds students’ computational thinking skills.

It takes advantage of the graphic novel format to engage students with visual representations and active movement, and it shows with clarity each problem students must solve and why those problems are important.

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Craig Tashman - LiquidText will change the learning landscape

The CEO of LiquidText on changing the way we interact with digital text.

 

Craig Tashman is founder and CEO of LiquidText, a NYC based startup that develop products to help professionals and students find, understand, and share unstructured textual information. Tashman earned his Ph.D. in 2012 from Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing where he explored better ways to support deep, critical reading through flexible document representations. His previous research included interactive visualizations for desktop window management, visualizations for usable security, three-dimensional image creation, and data compression.

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Stop Teaching Programming, Start Teaching Computational Thought | Make:

Stop Teaching Programming, Start Teaching Computational Thought | Make: | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Educators want to teach programming to make a generation of coders, but even non-coders can benefit from learning computational thought.

 

Computational thinkers aren’t just programmers. They’re the people who can create lovely intricate patterns in Illustrator, or make a really cool gizmo in Minecraft, or make a MIDI synthesizer play crazy microtonal jazz solos. They understand not only how to make a computer speak, but they also have an imagination for what it could possibly say.


Via Jim Lerman, Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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Google: Race and gender gaps persist in computer science education

Google: Race and gender gaps persist in computer science education | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Google research with Gallup shows unequal access to K-12 computer science classes.

 

New research from Google shows that black students are less likely to have computer science classes in school and are less likely to use computers at home even though they are 1.5 times more interested in studying computer science than their white peers.

 

The findings are part a report released Tuesday by Google in partnership with Gallup that puts the spotlight on the racial and gender gap in K-12 computer science education. Google says its aim with the research, which surveyed thousands of students, parents, teachers, principals and superintendents, is to increase the numbers of women, blacks and Latinos in computer science.

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Here's What You Get When You Design a Chair With Algorithms

Here's What You Get When You Design a Chair With Algorithms | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
The Elbo chair is the culmination of a collaboration between human and machine.

 

THE ELBO CHAIR is unusual piece of furniture. Not for its looks—though the legs, back, and arms bear an uncanny resemblance to bones—but for how it came to be.

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IdeaFestival 2016: Why science and tech need the humanities to create maximum value, explains MIT physicist 

MIT's Alan Lightman explained how technology and the humanities must play powerful complementary roles in society, echoing ideas from Steve Jobs and Edwin Land..

 

"Science and technology give us new material things, like iPhones and atomic bombs," said Lightman, who is both a scientist and a fiction writer. "But how we actually use those things depends on our values and priorities, and how we choose to live in the world as humans and a society."

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Stop saying coding is 'fun' and 'easy'

Programming computers is a piece of cake. Or so the world's digital-skills gurus would have us believe. From the non-profit Code.org's promise that "Anybody can learn!" to Apple chief executive Tim Cook's comment that writing code is "fun and interactive," the art and science of making software is now as accessible as the alphabet.

Unfortunately, this rosy portrait bears no relation to reality. For starters, the profile of a programmer's mind is pretty uncommon. As well as being highly analytical and creative, software developers need almost superhuman focus to manage the complexity of their tasks. Manic attention to detail is a must; slovenliness is verboten. Attaining this level of concentration requires a state of mind called being "in the flow," a quasi-symbiotic relationship between human and machine that improves performance and motivation.

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