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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Richard McSorley, who describes himself as a “hobbyist programmer,” has worked at Walmart in Ashland, Kentucky for more than nine years. When he isn’t clocking hours as a wireless division manager at the store, he experiments with making mobile apps, and his latest — designed to help his colleagues look up products and compare prices with competitors — has earned rave reviews from Walmart workers across the country.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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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