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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
Curated by Susan Einhorn
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Disney Research » Internet of Toys

Disney Research » Internet of Toys | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The emerging Internet of Things (IoT) will provide Internet connectivity to a broad variety of objects, such as industrial sensors, home appliances, and consumer electronics including toys. A new standardized IoT protocol software for wireless connectivity will enable toys to interoperate with other toys and smart objects around them. The IoT software will enable toys to be accessed, monitored, and acted on remotely. Our project CALIPSO (http://www.ict-calipso.eu) is partially funded by the research program of the European Commission. As part of this three-year project, Disney Research works together with several industry and academic partners to create an innovative solution for wireless IoT systems. The new CALIPSO communication protocol software enables toys to discover other objects, build mobile ad hoc networks, and communicate in a very energy-efficient way to maximize their battery lifetime. We envision several Disney-related scenarios in which the software will help creating innovative toy play patterns and experience designs.

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How Uber Hides Behind Its Algorithm

How Uber Hides Behind Its Algorithm | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

What the ride-hailing experience shows is the extent to which the behavior of these artificial intelligence systems can diverge significantly from the trappings they adopt. Similar mirages are cast elsewhere throughout the “sharing economy” and even in the design of our social platforms. They downplay the responsibility of the platform designer, masking the more active role these technologies play in the sectors they exist in.



As the uses of artificial intelligence continue to broaden, society will increasingly confront questions around the power these technologies can and should have. As we move toward regulation, we need to question the narratives offered by companies and make sure that policy reflects reality.

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Using Algorithms to Determine Character

Using Algorithms to Determine Character | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
A new generation of companies is applying mathematical models to determine if you will pay back a loan or stay in a job. Do they judge you more fairly than people do?


Computers aren't just doing hard math probles and showing us cat videos. Increasingly, they judge our character.

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Kids can't use computers... and this is why it should worry you

Kids can't use computers... and this is why it should worry you | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The truth is, kids can't use general purpose computers, and neither can most of the adults I know. There's a narrow range of individuals whom, at school, I consider technically savvy. These are roughly the thirty to fifty year-olds that have owned a computer for much of their adult lives. There are, of course, exceptions amongst the staff and students. There are always one or two kids in every cohort that have already picked up programming or web development or can strip a computer down to the bare bones, replace a motherboard, and reinstall an operating system. There are usually a couple of tech-savvy teachers outside the age range I've stated, often from the Maths and Science departments who are only ever defeated by their school laptops because they don't have administrator privileges, but these individuals are rare.

I suppose before I go on I should really define what I believe 'can't use a computer' means. Being a network manager as well as a teacher means I am often the first port of call when a teacher or student is having issues with computers and associated devices. As my lead technician likes to state, 'the problem is usually the interface between the chair and the keyboard.'


Tomorrow's politicians, civil servants, police officers, teachers, journalists and CEOs are being created today. These people don't know how to use computers, yet they are going to be creating laws regarding computers, enforcing laws regarding computers, educating the youth about computers, reporting in the media about computers and lobbying politicians about computers. Do you thinks this is an acceptable state of affairs?

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Crushing the coding stereotypes

Crushing the coding stereotypes | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Coding is not a niche skill. It is the universal language through which humans instruct technology on how to behave.


Add coding to physical computing and design and a whole new world opens up for students at all levels. 


And if you think this sounds too advanced for primary school, then you haven't seen what teachers and students are already doing. 


From creating automated bins to ward off pesky cockatoos, to building their own Vivid light displays that react to music, young students are often the most creative. 


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Should My Kid Learn to Code?

Should My Kid Learn to Code? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Most educators agree that basic application and internet skills (typing, word processing, spreadsheets, web literacy and safety, etc.) are fundamental, and thus, “digital literacy” is a part of K12 curriculum. But is coding now a fundamental literacy, like reading or writing, that all K12 students need to learn as well? 

In order to gain a deeper understanding of the devices and applications they use everyday, it’s important for all students to try coding. In doing so, this also has the positive effect of inspiring more potential future programmers. Furthermore, there are a set of relevant skills, often consolidated as “computational thinking”, that are becoming more important for all students, given the growth in the use of computers, algorithms and data in many fields. 

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The Modernization Of Computer Science Education | TechCrunch

The Modernization Of Computer Science Education | TechCrunch | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The courses available to most CS students teach important software development practices, but because they're designed around the typical classroom model of education, there are many aspects of the profession that they can’t convey to students. Unlike in the classroom, real-world software development projects are larger (in timeline and size) than the ones students encounter in class. One must also gain an understanding of some pretty substantial pre-existing code bases in order to be productive. What’s more, in the real-world, project management and interpersonal relationships can have as much impact on software design as technical issues, and systems are ultimately evaluated by user satisfaction rather than technical merit.

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Can computers make us better thinkers? - Kellogg Insight

Can computers make us better thinkers? - Kellogg Insight | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Uzzi: In the creation of Watson, did computational social science play a role?

Ferrucci: Watson was able to do what it did only because it was connecting to what humans are creating, and how they’re sharing information. Humans are communicating digitally. They’re writing down every thought they have. Not only are they communicating in different forms—they are also rating, ranking and regurgitating or re-describing in a variety of different ways. All that information that humans are creating for each other is the kind of information that Watson trains on.

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Initiative to teach coding, computational thinking to students launched - Channel News Asia

Initiative to teach coding, computational thinking to students launched - Channel News Asia | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Called Code for Change, the three-year initiative aims to reach out to 1.2 million Singaporeans through on- and off-campus programmes, helping them develop coding and computational thinking skills.


Said Ms Jessica Tan, managing director of Microsoft Singapore: "When we talk about computational thinking, what we're trying to equip our young with, is to be able to take the ideas that they have, to break them down, and solve problems, bring the ideas together, and be able to have the confidence, most importantly have the confidence to make things happen. To make things, to bring the ideas to life, and we believe that that would drive that change to enable them the possibilities."

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Can an Algorithm Hire Better Than a Human?

Can an Algorithm Hire Better Than a Human? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Start-ups say they can eliminate biases and create more skilled and diverse workplaces, but data science will probably need human supervision.
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So You Want Kids to Code! Why?

So You Want Kids to Code! Why? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Here are MY Reasons! The title of this post might lead you to think that I question the benefit of kids coding or programming.  No. That’s not it. I am just hoping that you have developed your own 

good reasons why you want kids to code. Then, in support of those reasons, you set the wheels in motion for your students to achieve those goals.

In brief, my reasons revolve around ‘students being in charge of their own learning’. These include:

  • student agency (locus of control)
  • scaffolding a cognitive partnership where students come to deeply understand learning through the development and application of metacognitive skills
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Algorithms of the Mind — Deep Learning 101 — Medium

Algorithms of the Mind - Deep Learning 101 - Medium
What Machine Learning Teaches Us About Ourselves


Much like steam engines, machine learning is a technology intended to solve specific classes of problems. Yet results from the field are indicating intriguing—possibly profound—scientific clues about how our own brains might operate, perceive, and learn. The technology of machine learning is giving us new ways to think about the science of human thought … and imagination.

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Artificial intelligence discovers planarian regeneration model

Artificial intelligence discovers planarian regeneration model | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
An artificial intelligence system has for the first time reverse-engineered the regeneration mechanism of planaria -- the small worms whose extraordinary power to regrow body parts has made them a research model in human regenerative medicine.
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Creativity via Big Data: from big data to computational thinking to creative problem-solving (innovation)

Creativity via Big Data: from big data to computational thinking to creative problem-solving (innovation) | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Einstein published his ideas and became a pivotal element in shifting the way we think about physics - from the Newtonian model to the Quantum - in turn this changed the way we think about the world and allowed us to develop new ways of engaging with the world.

We are at a similar juncture.  The development of computational technologies allows us to think about astronomical volumes of data and to make meaning of that data.

The mindshift that occurs is that “the machine is our friend”.  The computer, like all machines, extends our capabilities.  As a consequence the types of thinking now required in industry are those that get away from thinking like a computer and shift towards creative engagement with possibilities.  Logical thinking is still necessary but it starts to be driven by imagination.

Computational thinking and data science change the way we think about defining and solving problems.


Via Kim Flintoff
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Kim Flintoff's curator insight, July 30, 4:34 AM

Presented today at the Financial, Administrative and Professional Services Training Council Industry Currency Day.

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As Tech Booms, Workers Turn to Coding for Career Change

As Tech Booms, Workers Turn to Coding for Career Change | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Schools that offer accelerated training in digital skills are drawing more and more “career changers,” and graduates can make six-figure base salaries.


Internet giants like Google and Facebook have long fought over the top software engineers in the country, and that continues. But now, companies in most every industry, either by necessity or to follow the pack, are pursuing some sort of digital game plan - creating lucrative opportunities for computing-minded newcomers who want to reboot their lives.

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14 Girls Explain Why Women Should Learn How To Code

14 Girls Explain Why Women Should Learn How To Code | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
This summer, over 1,000 girls around the country are participating in a free summer program that gives them intensive instruction in computer science and mentorship from top female technology executives.
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Will Teaching New Computer Science Principles Level the Playing Field? (EdSurge News)

Will Teaching New Computer Science Principles Level the Playing Field? (EdSurge News) | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

It’s no secret that computer science (CS) courses are not a priority in many high schools. Across the nation, many schools get away with packaging courses that teach kids to make Powerpoints, spreadsheets and other rudimentary work as ‘computer science.’But when authentic CS is offered, it’s often in the form of the notoriously difficult and intimidating Advanced Placement courses, whose culminating test only a tiny fraction of students around the nation take and pass.


Realizing the dearth of access to computer science offerings in high school, the National Science Foundation, together with the College Board, convened a group of teachers and academics to craft a new course called “AP Computer Science Principles.” The primary goal of this new course, to be offered in fall 2016, is to increase student access to computer science, computing and STEM through a more multidisciplinary approach than the current AP course.

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Secrets of computer science: Tips for aspiring programmers, and advice for ... - GeekWire

Understanding how to work effectively on a team is critical for a successful career in computer science, you can be a great programmer no matter when you start learning — and, yes, the perks for employees at big tech companies are pretty sweet.


Those were some of the takeaways from a panel that the University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering department hosted on Friday afternoon as part of an annual event called CS4HS to expose middle and high school teachers to computer science.

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Evolving the definition of Computational thinking

Evolving the definition of Computational thinking | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

In this article, I explore how the definition of Computational Thinking could evolve.  As Computer Science is introduced in schools, it is tempting to confine it to the ‘curriculum’. However, doing so would miss the larger point of how Computer Science could truly benefit innovation and economies.  The article intentionally takes an aspirational view of Computer Science and Computational thinking.

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Computer-generated art, writing tested for human qualities - CBC.ca

Can someone distinguish between a computer-generated versus a human-produced poem or piece of music? A U.S. college wants to find out with a series of contests in the coming academic year.


Dartmouth is seeking artificial intelligence algorithms that create "human-quality" short stories, sonnets and dance music sets that will be pitted against human-produced literature, poetry and music selections. The judges won't know which is which.


"Historically, often when we have advances in artificial intelligence, people will always say, `Well, a computer couldn't paint a sunset,' or `a computer couldn't write a beautiful love sonnet,' but could they? That's the question," said Dan Rockmore, director of the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth.

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Why every child should learn to code

Why every child should learn to code | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Will every job involve programming? No. But it is crucial we equip new generations with the ability to think about the world in a new way. 


Software is becoming a critical layer of all our lives. It is the language of our world. In the future, not knowing the language of computers will be as challenging as being illiterate or innumerate are today.


This is not primarily about equipping the next generation to work as software engineers, it is about promoting computational thinking. Computational thinking is how software engineers solve problems. It combines mathematics, logic and algorithms, and teaches you a new way to think about the world.

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Why is computer programming a key scientific skill? | Science in a different light

Computers are only as clever as the person programming them, but they can handle a lot more data, and process it a lot faster, than the human brain. 

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EMBRACING THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES CURRICULUM

EMBRACING THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES CURRICULUM | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Australia’s first digital technology curriculum is on its doorstep, and anyone who has been paying attention in educational circles for the last two years knows the words computational thinkingand coding are all the rage right now. So what are the implications for educators, who are likely to have had little exposure in their training as to how to teach computer science to children, and are therefore somewhere between frightened or excited by what lies ahead?.


Via Paul Herring, Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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Coding Is the New Writing for Developing Self-Expression, Communication, Imagination and Solving Hard Problems

Coding Is the New Writing for Developing Self-Expression, Communication, Imagination and Solving Hard Problems | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Putting coding on a par with the basic 'three Rs' is a trend in education-talk recently. However, we know from years of research that its utility goes well beyond the "schoolish three Rs" or "a great job or even instant riches" some day in the future. In my view kids must become coders and digital media creators rather than just information receivers and videogame players, because computational inventiveness, visualization and modeling, toward which coding is one fundamental first step, is essential for success in a world in which digital communication increasingly dominates civil society, business and commerce, science, entertainment, and human interaction around some of our world's most pressing problems --climate change, water scarcity, terrorism and security, global education and health.


Unfortunately, what's missed by some of the featured debatersis the key epistemological idea that developing a "computational-inventive mindset" allows kids to experience deep learning and thinking that are possible only when they participate in a learning culture where they are left to solve hard problems, imagine new solutions, ask questions, research and build things -- simulations, games, apps, models -- by themselves, about something that matters to them, through self-directed and self-organized collaboration using programmable tools.

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Paul Herring's curator insight, June 16, 8:24 PM

Love this comment:
"Unfortunately, what's missed by some of the featured debaters is the key epistemological idea that developing a "computational-inventive mindset" allows kids to experience deep learning and thinking that are possible only when they participate in a learning culture where they are left to solve hard problems, imagine new solutions, ask questions, research and build things -- simulations, games, apps, models -- by themselves, about something that matters to them, through self-directed and self-organized collaboration using programmable tools." - very wise words!

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What is code? If you don't know, you need to read this:

What is code? If you don't know, you need to read this: | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
The world belongs to people who code. Those who don’t understand will be left behind.


We are here because the editor of this magazine asked me, “Can you tell me what code is?”


“No,” I said. “First of all, I’m not good at the math. I’m a programmer, yes, but I’m an East Coast programmer, not one of these serious platform people from the Bay Area.”


I began to program nearly 20 years ago, learning via oraperl, a special version of the Perl language modified to work with the Oracle database. A month into the work, I damaged the accounts of 30,000 fantasy basketball players. They sent some angry e-mails. After that, I decided to get better.


Which is to say I’m not a natural. I love computers, but they never made any sense to me. And yet, after two decades of jamming information into my code-resistant brain, I’ve amassed enough knowledge that the computer has revealed itself. Its magic has been stripped away. I can talk to someone who used to work at Amazon.com or Microsoft about his or her work without feeling a burning shame. I’d happily talk to people from Google and Apple, too, but they so rarely reenter the general population.

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