Computational Tinkering
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Thinking Computing At Schools: Computational Thinking

With me now being a big supporter of CAS though, I thought I should get a proper understanding of what ‘Computational Thinking’ accurately refers to. After looking at quite a lot of definitions and explanations from different sources, I believe I now have a reasonable understanding of it, but I’ve also realized that this understanding


I have two goals for writing this post:1. To try and provide a simpler description of the term (ideally to spare you having to go through all the sources that I have)
2.  To almost test my own understanding of what information I’ve read, by writing a summary of it – one I can go back to if needed

wasn’t gained from one single source but actually by a combination of many. 

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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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From Computational Thinking to Computational Participation in K-12 Education

From Computational Thinking to Computational Participation in K-12 Education | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Seeking to reframe computational thinking as computational participation.

 

Computational thinking has become a battle cry for coding in K–12 education. It is echoed in statewide efforts to develop standards, in changes to teacher certification and graduation requirements, and in new curriculum designs.1 The annual Hour of Code has introduced millions of kids to coding inspired by Apple cofounder Steve Jobs who said, "everyone should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think." Computational thinking has garnered much attention but people seldom recognize that the goal is to bring programming back into the classroom.

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Introducing Project Bloks

Project Bloks is a research project with the aim of creating an open hardware platform to help developers, designers, and researchers build the nex
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Why We Need to Pick Up Alvin Toffler’s Torch

Why We Need to Pick Up Alvin Toffler’s Torch | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The author of “Future Shock” warned about the dangers of rapid change, and many have come to pass, but advance planning has fallen out of favor.

 

More than 40 years ago, Alvin Toffler, a writer who had fashioned himself into one of the first futurists, warned that the accelerating pace of technological change soon would make us all sick. He called the sickness "future shock."

 

All around, technology is altering the world.

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Soon We Won’t Program Computers. We’ll Train Them Like Dogs

Soon We Won’t Program Computers. We’ll Train Them Like Dogs | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Welcome to the new world of artificial intelligence. Soon, we won't program computers. We'll train them. Like dolphins. Or dogs. Or humans.

 

In this world, the ability to write code has become not just a desirable skill but a language that grants insider status to those who speak it. They have access to what in a more mechanical age would have been called the levers of power. “If you control the code, you control the world,” wrote futurist Marc Goodman. (InBloomberg Businessweek, Paul Ford was slightly more circumspect: “If coders don’t run the world, they run the things that run the world.” Tomato, tomahto.)

 

But whether you like this state of affairs or hate it—whether you’re a member of the coding elite or someone who barely feels competent to futz with the settings on your phone—don’t get used to it. Our machines are starting to speak a different language now, one that even the best coders can’t fully understand.

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Electrifying Democracy

Electrifying Democracy | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
The Norwegian Museum of Technology encourages patrons to think about technology’s role in democracy through deeply immersive experiences. The museum provokes its audience with an overarching question: Is it possible to control technology in a democracy?

 

Hot button issues are addressed through technologies with mixed effects. A 3D printer makes production available for the masses, but what about printing a gun?

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When AI-powered cars learn to drive themselves, they're also going to have to learn morals

When AI-powered cars learn to drive themselves, they're also going to have to learn morals | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Some day, a self-driving car will face a dilemma: avoid hitting one person, hit someone else. And its only ethical guide will be its own AI.

 

IF YOU FOLLOW the ongoing creation of self-driving cars, then you probably know about the classic thought experiment called the Trolley Problem. A trolley is barreling toward five people tied to the tracks ahead. You can switch the trolly to another track—where only one person is tied down. What do you do? Or, more to the point, what does a self-driving car do?

 

Even the people building the cars aren’t sure. In fact, this conundrum is far more complex than even the pundits realize.

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What we learned from designing an academic certificates system on the blockchain — MIT MEDIA LAB

What we learned from designing an academic certificates system on the blockchain - MIT MEDIA LAB - Medium
Over the past year, we have been working on a set of tools to issue, display, and verify digital credentials using the Bitcoin blockchain and the Mozilla Open Badges specification. Today we are releasing version 1 of our codeunder the MIT open-source license to make it easier for others to start experimenting with similar ideas. In addition to opening up the code, we also want to share some of our thinking behind the design, as well as some of the interesting questions about managing digital reputations that we plan to continue working on.

 

Working on this project, we have not only learned a lot about the blockchain, but also about the way that technology can shape socioeconomic practices around the concept of credentials. 

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InCoding — In The Beginning

InCoding — In The Beginning | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Whoever codes the system, embeds her views. A call for inclusive code.

 

I am writing a series of articles to explore the embedded bias in code that unintentionally limits the audience who can use products or participate in research. By sharing the ongoing need for inclusive coding i.e. “InCoding” and providing practical steps to make products more inclusive, I want to move closer to a world where technology reflects the diversity of its users and creators.

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Kids code their own 3D creations with new blocks-based design program - The Hechinger Report

Kids code their own 3D creations with new blocks-based design program - The Hechinger Report | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

With BlocksCAD, you create, combine and manipulate 3D shapes by stacking “block” commands rather than by typing in precise coding syntax. For example, you can drag a block command for a sphere from the shapes menu into the workspace, where you can adjust its radius. Snap on a “translate” block to move the sphere along the X, Y and Z axis, or add on a “rotate” block to spin it. Use a color block to change its hue. Hit the “Render” button, and the sphere appears within a maneuverable XYZ grid. Finished designs can be sent to a 3D printer that will fabricate them layer by layer.

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“The Art of Computer Programming” by Donald Knuth — 

“The Art of Computer Programming” by Donald Knuth —  | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Bill Gates doesn’t think most people can finish this book. I gave it a shot.

 

Bill Gates once said, “If you think you’re a really good programmer… read Art of Computer Programming… You should definitely send me a résumé if you can read the whole thing.”

 

In the first paragraph of the preface, Knuth calls programming “an aesthetic experience much like composing poetry or painting.” I think this aesthetic beauty still captivates every aspiring programmer. After traveling a great distance along an exponential curve since the 1950s, it’s comforting to know that beauty remains intact. Though we no longer hammer out software and feed it into a hot, loud calculator, the beauty of programming still infuses every layer of abstraction.

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The Minecraft Generation

How a clunky Swedish computer game is teaching millions of children to master the digital world.

 

Minecraft, Clive Thompson, computational thinking- need I say more.

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Studying the relationship between remixing & learning — MIT MEDIA LAB

Studying the relationship between remixing & learning - MIT MEDIA LAB - Medium
In a new paper — titled “Remixing as a pathway to Computational Thinking” — that was recently published at the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) conference, we used a series of quantitative measures of online behavior to try to uncover evidence that might support the theory that remixing in Scratch is positively associated with learning.

 

We found that users who had never used a concept were more likely to do so if they had been exposed to the concept through remixing. Although some concepts were more widely used than others, we found a positive relationship between concept use and exposure through remixing for each of the six concepts. We found that this relationship was true even if we ignored obvious examples of cutting and pasting of blocks of code. In all of these models, we found what we believe is evidence of learning through remixing.

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Computational Thinking: I do not think it means what you think it means

Computational Thinking: I do not think it means what you think it means | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
As it’s become a buzzword (sadly), let’s have a conversation to clear up the rhetoric and get to deeper meaning. To me, as a computational scientist, the essence is what we can do while interacting with computers, as extensions of our mind, to create and discover. That’s not the popular message today.

 

It turns out, the original notion of computational thinking, as envisioned by Seymour Papert, already encompasses the learning I was alluding to. In turn, the popularized meaning of “computational thinking” is a shallower, less powerful idea, as I will explain.

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Artificial Intelligence Is Setting Up the Internet for a Huge Clash With Europe

Artificial Intelligence Is Setting Up the Internet for a Huge Clash With Europe | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Neural networks are changing the Internet. Inspired by the networks of neurons inside the human brain, these deep mathematical models can learn discrete tasks by analyzing enormous amounts of data. They’ve learned to recognize faces in photos, identify spoken commands, and translate text from one language to another. And that’s just a start. They’re also moving into the heart of tech giants like Google and Facebook. They’re helping to choose what you see when you query the Google search engine or visit your Facebook News Feed.

All this is sharpening the behavior of online services. But it also means the Internet is poised for an ideological confrontation with the European Union, the world’s single largest online market.

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The code that took America to the moon was just published to GitHub, and it's like a 1960s time capsule

The code that took America to the moon was just published to GitHub, and it's like a 1960s time capsule | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

When programmers at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory set out to develop the flight software for the Apollo 11 space program in the mid-1960s, the necessary technology did not exist. They had to invent it. They came up with a new way to store computer programs, called "rope memory," and created a special version of the assembly programming language. 

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Artificial Intelligence’s White Guy Problem

Artificial Intelligence’s White Guy Problem | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Our world is increasingly shaped by biased algorithms that have been built with little oversight.

 

Sexism, racism, and other forms of discrimination are being built into the machine-learning algorithms that underlie the technology behind many "intelligent" systems that shape how we are categorized and advertised to.

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The Sad Story of Eric, the UK's First Robot Who Was Loved Then Forsaken

The Sad Story of Eric, the UK's First Robot Who Was Loved Then Forsaken | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

When hulking metal humanoid Eric was built in 1928, it became known as the UK’s first robot. The New York Press described it as the “perfect man,“ and as Eric toured both the UK and the world with his creators, it dazzled audiences with its stout tinny exterior and flashing teeth.

But one day, Eric disappeared without a trace.

Nobody knows if the robot was thrown out, or lost, but it’s apparent that Eric—once lauded for its technical prowess—became an early victim of technological obsolescence. As the world moved on, Eric was forgotten.

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Why augmented reality might just outshine virtual realty

Why augmented reality might just outshine virtual realty | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Virtual reality (VR) technology might have hogged the spotlight this year, but experts claim that augmented reality (AR) will also have a key role.

 

AR overlays the real world with digital information or virtual objects, with one example being Google Glass. Whereas, VR immerses a user in a completely virtual space.


Via Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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The Bright Future of Storytelling

The Bright Future of Storytelling | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Phil Chen, the Chief Content Officer at HTC, believes its virtual reality headset, HTC Vive, has incredible potential for education and learning. Engineers and mechanics can use it to work on engines; neuroscientists can practice procedures on 3D brains; and any user can develop greater empathy by seeing the world through new eyes. The multiple perspectives granted by the HTC Vive provide a first-person experience to an unlimited number of engaging stories. Interacting with different surroundings from multiple points-of-view prompts users to feel within the computer-generated environment, potentially making them more open-minded and empathetic.
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A legal battle about the Klingon language could affect the future of computer programming

A legal battle about the Klingon language could affect the future of computer programming | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The most ardent Star Trek fans go so far as to make their own versions of the classic movies—but not without legal risks. 

Last year Paramount Pictures and CBS hit the makers of a Kickstarter-funded film with a lawsuit. They claimed that Prelude to Axanar, a 2014 short, and its planned full-length sequel Axanar infringe on copyrighted Star Trek characters and themes.

 

So far, so mundane. But one of the copyrights allegedly infringed is that of Klingon, the language spoken by fictional humanoids of the same name. And this has elevated the suit from a routine intellectual-property dispute to a case with potentially big consequences for the future of programming and creativity.

 

Could a ruling against Klingon’s use in a film like Axanar be interpreted as also limiting software developers’ ability to copy APIs?

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The Blockchain for Education: An Introduction :: Audrey Watters

The Blockchain for Education: An Introduction :: Audrey Watters | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Is blockchain poised to be “the next big thing” in education?
This has become a question I hear with increasing frequency about a technology that, up until quite recently, was primarily associated with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The subtext to the question, I suppose: do educators need to pay attention to the blockchain? What, if anything, should they know about it?

"Admittedly, I haven’t bothered to learn much about blockchain or Bitcoin either, despite the last few years of zealous headlines in various tech publications. I haven’t included either in any of the “Top Ed-Tech Trends” series I’ve written. And frankly, I’m still not convinced there’s a “there” there. But with the news this year that Sony plans to launch a testing platform powered by blockchain, with some current and former Mozilla employees exploring the blockchain and badges, and with a big promotional splash at SXSWedu about blockchain’s potential to help us rethinking learning (as “earning” no less), I realized it was time to do some research (for myself) in the hopes of writing a clear explanation (for others too) of what blockchain is – one that isn’t too technical but that doesn’t simply wave away important questions by resorting to buzzwords and jargon – that blockchain is “the most important IT invention of our age,” for example.

 

"This is the early result of that research. It’s meant to serve as an introductory guide for those in education who are interested in learning a bit more about the blockchain and its potential applications in ed-tech."


Via Jim Lerman, Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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Students see the future through robots

Students see the future through robots | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Having students create and work with robots offers them a range of skills, she said, noting that the district once participated in a regional tournament through NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena but that the program ended a few years ago.

“I think it really teaches them to think critically,” she said. “It gives them programming and computer science skills, as well as engineering skills, because they have to think of the task involved and design the robot to complete that task. A huge element of it is collaboration and how well they can work together.”

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Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?

Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

High-profile physicists and philosophers gathered to debate whether we are real or virtual—and what it means either way.

 

If you, me and every person and thing in the cosmos were actually characters in some giant computer game, we would not necessarily know it. The idea that the universe is a simulation sounds more like the plot of “The Matrix,” but it is also a legitimate scientific hypothesis. Researchers pondered the controversial notion Tuesday at the annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate here at the American Museum of Natural History.

 

Moderator Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the museum’s Hayden Planetarium, put the odds at 50-50 that our entire existence is a program on someone else’s hard drive. “I think the likelihood may be very high,” he said. He noted the gap between human and chimpanzee intelligence, despite the fact that we share more than 98 percent of our DNA. Somewhere out there could be a being whose intelligence is that much greater than our own. “We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence,” he said. “If that’s the case, it is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just a creation of some other entity for their entertainment.”

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What’s the Deal With Artificial Intelligence Killing Humans?

What’s the Deal With Artificial Intelligence Killing Humans? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Your 101 guide to whether or not computers are going to murder us.

 

This seems like a rough time to be human: Artificial intelligences are beating us at Go, getting better at driving cars, and doing all sorts of other stuff. How much longer until they just rise up and kill us?

Longer than you might think, and though there are good reasons for caution and concern, a lot of the talk you hear about Terminator-type scenarios is excessively alarmist. Read an article on, say, the rise of robot butchers, and you’ll inevitably find commenters worrying that the system is going to go haywire and attack its human masters. Even when they’re a little joke-y, these responses tend to bear the trace of the old Luddite anxiety that machines are somehow fundamentally opposed to humanity.

If you really get into it with A.I. researchers, you’ll find that most of them aren’t really worried about murder-bots actively looking to KILL ALL HUMANS. Instead, they’re concerned that we don’t really know what we’re getting into as we rapidly engineer systems that we can barely comprehend, let alone control. It’s this concern that’s led Elon Musk—who’s supported all sorts of A.I. research—to describe artificial intelligence as an “existential threat.” He seems concerned that we may not be able to direct the forces that we’re calling into being.

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