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Evolving the definition of Computational thinking

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

Computer science can be better understood as a process of problem solving using Computers. Thus, while Computers play an important part in understanding Computer Science, the key skill of a Computer Scientist lies in the ability to solve problems using Computers

 

It could be tempting to reduce computational thinking to just another subject to be taught in schools. However, if we take a more aspirational viewpoint  -then the interplay between humans and computers will change the behaviour of both.

 

A more sweeping definition of Computational Thinking would call for new skills, new ways of thinking and make a radical change to the economies who adopt these principles.

 

The intriguing question is:

Over the years, how will the thinking of the learners (students) evolve? 

and

Could we end up addressing even more complex problems? i.e. Could Computer Science cause a virtuous cycle towards greater innovation if Computational thinking allows us to address increasingly complex problems over the generations?

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Computational Tinkering
The impact of computational thinking on our view of the world
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Wiley: Coding For Kids For Dummies - Camille McCue

Wiley: Coding For Kids For Dummies - Camille McCue | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

An easy-to-grasp introduction to coding concepts for kids

Coding For Kids For Dummies breaks coding into a series of small projects, each designed to teach elementary-to-middle-school-aged students a core concept to build a game, application, or other tool. In this his hands-on, friendly guide readers will get access to a leading coding tool that has been designed specifically for kids, showing them how to create the projects provided in the book as well as how to implement them into their own creative work.

 

Written by a teacher and leading advocate of coding education, Coding For Kids For Dummies explains to kids in plain English how to apply the math and logic skills they already have to the subject of coding. In no time, they'll be grasping basic coding concepts, completing their very own technical feats, and arming themselves with the computer science experience and know-how to prepare for a future working with technology.

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Paul Herring's curator insight, November 10, 2014 11:54 PM

Looks good

Peter Albion's curator insight, November 11, 2014 5:26 PM

This would be a useful addition to the library - personal and institutional.

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Computer Programming Is a Dying Art

Computer Programming Is a Dying Art | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Writing code is a terrible way for humans to instruct computers. Lucky for us, new technology is about to render programming languages about as useful as Latin.

 

The headlong global frenzy to teach programming in schools is coming about 20 years too late. Boston, New York, Estonia, New Zealand and a whole lot of other places are going crazy for coding courses, egged on by Code.org, which is backed by Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. It’s sacrilegious in tech circles to say so and might get me disinvited to parties with the cast of Silicon Valley, but learning a programming language could turn out to be fruitless for most kids.

 

We’re approaching an interesting transition: Computers are about to get more brainlike and will understand us on our terms, not theirs. The very nature of programming will shift toward something closer to instructing a new hire how to do his or her job, not scratching out lines of C++ or Java.

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Creative Computational Thinking: Problem Solving with Robots in Computing

Creative Computational Thinking: Problem Solving with Robots in Computing | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Lawhead et al (2003) stated that robots “…provide entry level programming students with a physical model to visually demonstrate concepts” and “the most important benefit of using robots in teaching introductory courses is the focus provided on learning language independent, persistent truths about programming and programming techniques. Robots readily illustrate the idea of computation as interaction”. Synergies can be made with our work and those one on pre-object programming and simulation of robots for teaching programming as a visual approach to the teaching of the widely used programming language  Java.

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How information moves between cultures

How information moves between cultures | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

By analyzing data on multilingual Twitter users and Wikipedia editors and on 30 years’ worth of book translations in 150 countries, researchers at MIT, Harvard University, Northeastern University, and Aix Marseille University have developed network maps that they say represent the strength of the cultural connections between speakers of different languages.

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Learning to communicate computationally with Flip: A bi-modal programming language for game creation

Teaching basic computational concepts and skills to school children is currently a curricular focus in many countries. Running parallel to this trend are advances in programming environments and teaching methods which aim to make computer science more accessible, and more motivating. In this paper, we describe the design and evaluation of Flip, a programming language that aims to help 11–15 year olds develop computational skills through creating their own 3D role-playing games. Flip has two main components: 1) a visual language (based on an interlocking blocks design common to many current visual languages), and 2) a dynamically updating natural language version of the script under creation. This programming-language/natural-language pairing is a unique feature of Flip, designed to allow learners to draw upon their familiarity with natural language to “decode the code”. Flip aims to support young people in developing an understanding of computational concepts as well as the skills to use and communicate these concepts effectively. This paper investigates the extent to which Flip can be used by young people to create working scripts, and examines improvements in their expression of computational rules and concepts after using the tool. We provide an overview of the design and implementation of Flip before describing an evaluation study carried out with 12–13 year olds in a naturalistic setting. Over the course of 8 weeks, the majority of students were able to use Flip to write small programs to bring about interactive behaviours in the games they created. Furthermore, there was a significant improvement in their computational communication after using Flip (as measured by a pre/post-test). An additional finding was that girls wrote more, and more complex, scripts than did boys, and there was a trend for girls to show greater learning gains relative to the boys.

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Computational Thinking Education Gets More Funding - International Business Times AU

Computational Thinking Education Gets More Funding - International Business Times AU | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

A few days ago, Google founding investor, Dr David Cheriton donated $7.5 million to the University of British Columbia to establish a degree course in computational thinking and to add a new division in computer science studies. Classes for this new course, computational thinking, will commence in September 2016.

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Meet Your New Boss, Mr. Algorithm

 Meet Algo, your new boss. It’s flexible, willing to change work schedules so you can work when you want, and not when you don’t. It’s reasonable, providing you honest feedback without the politics of your last human boss.

 

We all know the story about algorithms and work the past few years. Service jobs across the country are increasingly being managed with the help of mathematical models of customer demand, revolutionizing everything from taxi driving to food delivery, home cleaning, and laundromats. I have argued that the increased autonomy and flexibility of these jobs means that algorithms are taking over unions as the primary driver of workers’ rights in the 21st century.

 

But now, startups are starting to move up the corporate ladder, using algorithms to improve and disrupt professions that up until recently have seemed almost completely insulated from the efficiencies of computation.

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Not everyone needs to learn to code

Not everyone needs to learn to code | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
 Many are suggesting that everyone learn computer programming, and that coding be a core component of our educational system. Here's a more measured approach.

Via Paul Herring
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Paul Herring's curator insight, November 11, 2014 5:41 PM

While I don't fully agree with Patrick Gray here, I think he makes an important point - it is the Computational Thinking skills that need to be taught and developed. As he concludes:
"Critical thinking, logic, rapidly learning new tools and methods, problem solving, and task management should be embedded in and encouraged in every content area, rather than as the sole domain of coding and technology." 

Peter Albion's curator insight, November 12, 2014 4:57 PM

It is the computational thinking that is important rather than its expression in any particular form such as a coding language. That, along with systems thinking, design thinking and program management, is at the heart of the new technologies curriculum. Let's hope that is not lost in the review simply because it is new and different.

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Computers Are Writing Novels, But Do You Really Want To Read Them?

Computers Are Writing Novels, But Do You Really Want To Read Them? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
It’s 10pm, November 30th, 2013. An author, aiming to finish a novel in November, takes up his laptop and begins typing furiously. By midnight,

 

I Got a Alligator for a Pet, written by a developer’s computer program, was part of National Novel Generation Month (NaNoGenMo), a competition in which programmers write apps that automatically generate at least 50,000 words.

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Movement improves girls’ computational skills

Movement improves girls’ computational skills | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Clemson researchers find that blending movement and computer programming supports girls in building computational thinking skills, according to an ongoing study funded by the National Science Foundation and emerging technology report published in journal Technology, Knowledge and Learning.

Via Paul Herring
Susan Einhorn's insight:

Computational thinking becomes a way to look with 'new eyes' at activities with which humans have been involved since the beginning of time. On the other hand, these activities seem to have been reflecting the principles of computational thinking even before we had the term and concept.

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A Teenager Gets Grilled By Her Dad About Why She’s Not That Into Coding

A Teenager Gets Grilled By Her Dad About Why She’s Not That Into Coding | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
(Turns out that it’s kinda-sorta her digitally aware dad’s fault.)

 

Jay: Why do you think there are so few girls in the class?

Sylvie: Lots of reasons: Art and music classes meet during the same time, so students cannot take art and programming. There’s also an English class that meets then. Students — seniors especially — want to have some free periods, and that period is the elective block. I also think offering the class solely senior year caused less girls to take it. Many students don’t want to commit to another kind of class so late in their high school career. Most students in this class have had some experience with programming before, however minimal. So, if girls in my grade have been less exposed to coding previously, I think they’re less likely to take a class on it.

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When Women Stopped Coding

For decades, the share of women majoring in computer science was rising. Then, in the 1980s, something changed. The percentage of women in computer science flattened, and then plunged, even as the share of women in other technical and professional fields kept rising.

What happened?

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Why the 'coding for all' movement is more than a boutique reform - Washington Post (blog)

Why the 'coding for all' movement is more than a boutique reform - Washington Post (blog) | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Think of learning to code as Cursive 2.0.

 

...why have we committed our research to increasing access to computer science for all students? How do we answer Cuban’s call to caution against the fast rush, promoted lately by Silicon Valley interests, to teach all students coding? And how do we see the “computer science for all” movement positively impacting teaching and learning in the schools? Will it bring more progressive education into the schools despite much of its driving force being the creation of more jobs for the tech industry?

 

We have one answer to all these questions: Computer science can help interrupt the cycle of inequality that has determined who has access to this type of high-status knowledge in our schools. Just as public education is crucial for promoting reading and writing, it is equally important for introducing students to the fundamental concepts of computer science. Computer science drives innovation across all fields, from the sciences to the arts—across all careers, from medical assistants to auto mechanics. Students who have this knowledge have a jump-start in access to these careers, and they have insight into the nature of innovation that is changing how we communicate, learn, recreate, and conduct democracy.

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Coding is the New Literacy - Think Playgrounds, Not Playpens

Coding is the New Literacy - Think Playgrounds, Not Playpens | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Professor Marina Bers discusses her research into the design and study of innovative learning technologies and how she believes coding is the new literacy.
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Expressing Yourself Through Code

An unexpected new genre of dance.

 

In this video, Kotb explains how two seemingly irrelevant childhood interests merged to become foundations of her creative performances that fuse dance, music, light, and technology. Furthermore, she shares the lesson of being different and earning respect as she forges a new path in a field dominated by men.

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Computational Creativity and the What-If Machine - Wired

Computational Creativity and the What-If Machine - Wired | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

In Computational Creativity research, we study how to engineer software which can take on some of the creative responsibility in arts and science projects. There has been much progress towards the creative generation of artefacts of cultural value such as poems, music and paintings. Often, when produced by people, such artefacts embed a fictional idea invented by the creator. For instance, an artist might have the fictional idea: [What if there was a quiz show, where each week someone was shot dead?] and express this through a painting, poem or film. While such ideation is clearly central to creativity, with obvious applications to the creative industries, there have only been a few small, ad-hoc studies of how to automate fictional ideation. The time is therefore ripe to see whether we can derive, implement and test novel formalisms and processes which enable software to not only invent, but assess, explore and present such ideas.

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Kids should code: why 'computational thinking' needs to be taught in schools - The Guardian

Kids should code: why 'computational thinking' needs to be taught in schools - The Guardian | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

But it’s more than being able to interact with the remarkable microcomputers in our everyday lives, it’s about having the knowhow and the confidence to look beyond the shiny applications and to the code beneath: about using technology to create from the ground up, not just consume.

More of our schools’ curricula should be devoted to this kind of knowledge. It’s not just student’s technical skills that benefit from this type of learning. The spillover is that students develop better ways to approach and think about problems, which is just as valuable as the technical skills themselves.

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The Company That's Turning Activists Into Coders

The Company That's Turning Activists Into Coders | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Code for Progress is bringing more women and people of color to the tech world, and using their skills to change the world in the process.

Via Paul Herring
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Barbie book about computer programming tells girls they need boys to code for them

Barbie book about computer programming tells girls they need boys to code for them | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
"Dear Santa, for Xmas I want 'Marginalisation Of Women In Tech Barbie!'"

 

In recent years, Mattel has made attempts to transform Barbie from pin-up to empowering female role model - just look at their 'Entrepreneur Barbie', for example, complete with tablet, smartphone and a LinkedIn account. But a recent installment in their ongoing Barbie: I Can Be... book series seems to have missed the memo, inadvertently telling young girls that they can't be game developers or programmers.

Susan Einhorn's insight:

2014 and this is still the message for girls - unbelievable! 

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Algorithms in Nature

Algorithms in Nature | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Cool! There's a website to go w/ that "convergence of systems bio & computational thinking" paper I tweeted last week http://t.co/H02qajxYqW
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What Can Programmers and Writers Learn From One Another?

What Can Programmers and Writers Learn From One Another? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Simple, elegant solutions work, no matter the discipline.

 

Proponents of stronger computer science and programming courses in schools generally focus on the usefulness of those skills in today’s world. Some argue that computer programming should be offered instead of a foreign language requirement, while others say it’s crucial to engineering and robotics. Rarely is coding considered a complement to the English curriculum. But what if learning to code could also make students better writers?

 

There are more similarities between coding and prose than meet the eye. “The interesting thing about writing code is you don’t really write code for the machine,” said Vikram Chandra, a professor of creative writing at UC Berkeley and author of “Geek Sublime,” on KQED’s Forum. “That’s almost an incidental byproduct. Who you really write code for is all the programmers in the future who will try to fix it, extend it and debug it.

Susan Einhorn's insight:

Another look at the link between writing code and writing prose to be considered along with the article about National Novel Generating Month. Coding, language, structure, purpose, impact. 

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Introduction to Computational Finance and Financial Econometrics - DataCamp

Introduction to Computational Finance and Financial Econometrics - DataCamp | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Get an in-depth insight into the mathematical and statistical tools and techniques used in quantitative and computational finance!

In this course, you'll make use of R to analyze financial data, estimate statistical models, and construct optimized portfolios. You will learn how to build probability models for assets returns, the way you should apply statistical techniques to evaluate if asset returns are normally distributed, how to use Monte Carlo simulation and bootstrapping techniques to evaluate statistical models, and the usage of optimization methods to construct efficient portfolios.

The material in this course was originally developed as a complement to Prof. Eric Zivot's Coursera lectures. Therefore, for those that are new to the subject, and for those that want a full course experience, it is recommended to make use of these Coursera resources as well. However, if you have past experiences in the subject of financial econometrics and computational finance, it is possible - but challenging!- to take the DataCamp course stand-alone.

This course is for everyone interested in finance. There are no hard requirements, but having a good mathematical basis, and an interest in financial markets is recommended.

Via M. Edward (Ed) Borasky
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Computational Thinking: A Necessary Foundation to Coding - IEEE Technical Community Spotlight

Computational Thinking: A Necessary Foundation to Coding - IEEE Technical Community Spotlight | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Instead of providing students – both those formally studying programming and markup languages, and those making use of the many free and public resources made available – with just instructional knowledge of how to code, Booch insists that it’s essential to “fundamentally teach the notion of computational thinking.” This includes not only the basics of how to code, but a range of mental tools that reflect the breadth of the field of computer science, such as how to design systems, solve problems, and understand human behavior. Perhaps nothing sums this up more than the words of Carl Sagan, whom Booch quotes with clear intent: “Science is much more than a body of knowledge. It is a way of thinking.”


Via Paul Herring
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Paul Herring's curator insight, November 5, 2014 6:36 PM

Very important point: "Booch insists that it’s essential to “fundamentally teach the notion of computational thinking.” This includes not only the basics of how to code, but a range of mental tools that reflect the breadth of the field of computer science, such as how to design systems, solve problems, and understand human behavior. ...(similarly to) Carl Sagan ... “Science is much more than a body of knowledge. It is a way of thinking.”

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Could Economics Benefit From Computer Science Thinking?

Computational complexity could offer new insight into old ideas in biology and, yes, even the dismal science.

 

Economists are sometimes content asking whether or not a banking system could be stable or a market could continue to grow. But they and other scientists could benefit from a computational view that asks not just whether the right conditions exist but also how hard it is to find them, according to a commentary published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

The “how hard?” question is about computational complexity, saysChristos Papadimitriou, a University of California-Berkeley computer scientist and the commentary’s author. “Nature, [people]—they are doing some kind of computation,” he says, but some computations are easier than others. 

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Cracking the code - NZ Herald News

Cracking the code - NZ Herald News | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

At Marina View School children as young as 7 are programming, making them among the youngest in the country to be learning such skills - but it's a feat that will soon be ordinary by some international standards.

This month a new computing curriculum was introduced in England, with all primary school children learning about algorithms and computational thinking. A similar move in Australia was planned for the start of next year, but a recent curriculum review by Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has put it in doubt.

The compulsory option is hailed by those who see coding as the "new literacy" - a skill that will unlock the prosperous jobs of the future.

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