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World's cheapest computer gets millions tinkering - Inquirer.net

World's cheapest computer gets millions tinkering - Inquirer.net | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

It’s a single circuit board the size of a credit card with no screen or keyboard, a far cry from the smooth tablets that dominate the technology market.

 

But the world’s cheapest computer, costing just $25, has astonished its British creators by selling almost 1.5 million units in 18 months.

 

The Raspberry Pi is now powering robots in Japan and warehouse doors in Malawi, photographing astral bodies from the United States and helping to dodge censorship in China.

 

Upton and his colleagues first thought of creating a cheap computer suited to programming when they were teaching computer science at Cambridge University.

 

They noticed that children of the wired generation lacked the day-to-day experience of coding that was so formative for the computer geeks who grew up in the 1980s.

 

“They didn’t have the grungy familiarity with the dirty bits, the hacking,” Upton told AFP.

 

“The theory of computer science is math, but the practice is a craft, like carpentry.”



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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, 11:54 PM

Looks good

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

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

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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.”


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Paul Herring's curator insight, November 5, 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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How to Grab and Keep Girls’ Interest in Computer Coding

How to Grab and Keep Girls’ Interest in Computer Coding | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
There's growing and well-founded concern about the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math fields, particularly when it comes to women of color. Here are some ideas on what to do about it.
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New Learning Times : Article The Importance Of Tinkering

New Learning Times : Article The Importance Of Tinkering | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Study Design: Learning to code has gained new momentum in recent years with the proliferation of innovative and easily accessible online resources. However, little is known about how novice programmers learn to program. The authors wanted to explore this topic and focused on one specific learning activity, tinkering, that has been theorized by scholars as a crucial activity for beginning programmers. It has historically been difficult to capture data on tinkering activities because they are, by definition, very subtle and incremental shifts in behavior that might not follow an established pattern.

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, October 2, 7:39 PM

Tinkering suggests working with what is there, keeping what works, and changing what needs changing.

 

@ivon_ehd1

Paul Herring's curator insight, October 2, 8:00 PM

"This paper provides strong empirical evidence of the importance of tinkering for learning"

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Computational Thinking and Archives

Computational Thinking and Archives | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Yesterday, I was part of a panel with two brilliant colleagues (and a really great moderator) about computational thinking and problem solving in a library context. The room was packed, and I found the discussion rejuvenating — I’ll do my best to capture some lightening in a bottle

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Computational Thinking and Me: Don’t thank me, thank the algorithm | Primary School Computing

Computational Thinking and Me: Don’t thank me, thank the algorithm | Primary School Computing | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

If you had asked me a few months ago what “computational thinking” was, I would have been stumped.  It was not something I ever thought about and I certainly didn’t think it had anything to do with the new computing curriculum.  Furthermore, I never realised how essential computational thinking was in my own life.

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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, 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, 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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Web-Era Trade Schools, Feeding a Need for Code

Web-Era Trade Schools, Feeding a Need for Code | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Dozens of the schools have sprung up around the country to teach computer programming, offering students a fast-paced curriculum and the promise of jobs.
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Computational Thinking as a National Capability

Computational Thinking as a National Capability | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

 With the increasing digitisation of our environment and reliance on the Internet, coding and computational thinking will be the new, important skills in the 21st century. Computational thinking is an approach to solving problems, building systems and understanding human behaviour that draws on the power and limits of computing. As coding is the language of computational thinking, learning to read and write this language may become as important as literacy in the more traditional language forms. Coding and computational thinking should be taught to all Singaporeans and made a national capability. This will enable our workforce, regardless of field or profession, to have the necessary skills to benefit from opportunities in the future.

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Paul Herring's curator insight, October 2, 4:11 AM

Singapore getting serious

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Purpose is the key to Computer Programming

Teachers are often called upon to answer this question about an academic subject, and computer science instructors may face this demand more frequently than most. Learning to write lines of code can seem, to many students, like a pointless exercise in tedium.

But a few professors of computer science have a compelling reply at the ready. They are participants in the Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software project, known asHFOSS—or, more grandly, Software for Humanity. Why does this matter? these professors might respond. Because it’s helping to feed needy people in Haiti, or to deliver supplies to earthquake survivors in China, or to manage the medical care of malaria victims in Rwanda.

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