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Debunking the STEM vs. humanities debate

 Did you know that almost all of the academic resources that you access online have been thoughtfully, and skillfully, presented by skilled computer technologists? And did you know that those computational experts are also in the humanities?

 

The field of digital humanities relates to work that is at the “intersection of computational technology and humanities content,” said Johanna Drucker, a professor at UCLA and co-author of the book Digital_Humanities.

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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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Don't Blame Algorithms for the Cruelties of Bureaucracy - Slate Magazine

Don't Blame Algorithms for the Cruelties of Bureaucracy - Slate Magazine | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Critics of “algorithms” are everywhere. Algorithms tell you how to vote. Algorithms can revoke your driver’s license and terminate your disability benefits. Algorithms predict crimes. Algorithms ensured you didn’t hear about #FreddieGray on Twitter.


It’s problematic to examine algorithms as anything except the formalization and realization of procedures and stratagems that predate Python or R analytics code. “Algorithmic accountability” crusaders are talking about entrenched sociopolitical problems without really talking about them; computers become scapegoats for undesired features of capitalism, bureaucracy, and politics.


Perhaps the humans who refuse to act for what they believe in while raising fear about computers are the real ones responsible for the decline of our agency, choice, and control—not the machines. They just can’t handle the (algorithmic) truth.

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We Need an Economic Study on Lost Productivity from Poor Computing Education

We Need an Economic Study on Lost Productivity from Poor Computing Education | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

How much does it cost the American economy that most American workers are not computer literate?  How much would be saved if all students were taught computer science? These questions occurred to me when I tried to explain why we need ubiquitous computing education.

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Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, May 22, 1:28 PM

Good points here.

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Learning to Code Becomes Learning to Learn

Learning to Code Becomes Learning to Learn | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Through learning to code, a teacher embraces the growth mindset by asking for help, accepting and exploring failure, and keeping it fun and authentic.

Via Becky Roehrs
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Becky Roehrs's curator insight, May 14, 8:35 PM

The teacher also points out coding and learning resources she found while learning how to code.

Betty Skeet's curator insight, May 15, 11:20 AM

Learning to code as playing ...

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How One Bad-Ass Woman Is Securing Her Future at an All-Female Coding Bootcamp

Let's make tech literacy more accessible to everyone. #ProjectLiteracy


Though many believe there’s currently a STEM crisis in America, many of the world’s problems are managing to be solved through tech: Healthcare.gov; apps connecting people to resources like Homeless REACH; sites that make life more efficient, like Trip Advisor. So perhaps what STEM fields ought to focus on is thediversity of its talent pool, rather than the size of it. A mere 26 percent of workers in the computing workforce are women—and only 16 perecent Latino; 12 percent black. But Acosta believes that people are starting to see a shift from the mystique of the loner white dude programmer to a more team-oriented space, featuring people who weren’t given the privilege to be exposed to programming early on.

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No God In The Machine - InformationWeek

No God In The Machine - InformationWeek | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Artificial intelligence cannot replicate human consciousness, say Irish researchers in new study.


In a recently published paper, "Is Consciousness Computable? Quantifying Integrated Information Using Algorithmic Information Theory," Phil Maguire, co-director of the BSc degree in computational thinking at National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and his co-authors demonstrate that, within the model of consciousness proposed by Giulio Tononi, the integrated information in our brains cannot be modeled by computers.

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Computational Thinking Breaks a Logjam | BU Today | Boston University

Marty Walsh had a problem. Boston’s mayor wanted to address pay disparities between men and women, publicizing, as a first step, the average gap in different Boston industries. Normally, calculating that gap would require taking the actual pay gap at each company in an industry, adding them up, and then dividing by the number of companies to reach an average. But companies’ payrolls are proprietary, because their disclosure could be a boon to competitors, a black eye for the firms, and ammo for disgruntled employees who could sue over pay inequities.


Enter Bestavros, a College of Arts and Sciences computer science professor, who proposed an ingeniously simple algorithm from computer science that will allow the city to calculate those industry pay averages, by gender, from a total of 60 participating employers, without any daylight shining on an individual company’s proprietary information.

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Coding in the Classroom: A Long-Overdue Inclusion

Coding in the Classroom: A Long-Overdue Inclusion | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
By promoting code literacy, schools could improve education equity, offer inclusion for students with ASD, improve STEM proficiency, and build neuroplasticity associated with multilingual education.


One need not look to superstars such as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates to justify reasons for using code and programming logic in the classroom. There's plenty of literature that illustrates its positive learning outcomes. Coding in the classroom is linked to improved problem solving and analytical reasoning, and students who develop a mastery of coding have a "natural ability and drive to construct, hypothesize, explore, experiment, evaluate, and draw conclusions."


Via EDTC@UTB
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Jo Campbell's curator insight, April 19, 11:59 PM

Teaching more than the basic tools of technology and providing more scope for development and participation

David W. Deeds's curator insight, April 20, 8:35 AM

Definitely long overdue! 

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Is it necessary to teach poor kids to code?

Is it necessary to teach poor kids to code? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
One tech advocate thinks ‘coding is the new writing’ — this grand statement could hold several grains of truth.


"People assume that you have to have the 3Rs [reading, writing and arithmetic] before you get to what I call the 3Xs: exploration, exchange and expression,” Idit Harel said. “But that’s not the case.”

Harel said she knew this through her experience with Globaloria, which she founded. The firm gets children to play computer games before showing them how to begin modifying the game — for example changing the colours on their character — using computer code. Often the kids can’t read well, if at all, Harel explained, but they get engrossed in tinkering with the game world and, in the process, they begin to pick up more traditional literacy, too.

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If Algorithms Know All, How Much Should Humans Help?

If Algorithms Know All, How Much Should Humans Help? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Data science offers a lot of promise in many fields, but for now, it seems wise to keep human beings in the loop.
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Using Technology to Improve Mathematical Intelligence - Huffington Post

The role of technology in fostering mathematical and logical intelligence is obvious in that technology is built on the same mathematical principles and logic that drive life itself. The ancestors of modern digital gadgets -- Pascal's and Leibniz's mechanical calculating machines, Napier's logarithms, Babbage's difference engine, Newman's Colossus and Turing's Bombe -- have all been built on principles of logic and mathematics and in turn support mathematical developments. Jeanette Wing, in a seminal article, states that solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior in real life can be closely related to the concepts fundamental to computer science and technology and coined the term "computational thinking," which must, in addition to reading, writing and arithmetic, be added to every child's education.

Technology can support mathematics education through dynamic software, anchored instruction, networked devices, participatory simulations, games and construction kits. The challenge lies in developing technology that engages students with interesting and stimulating applications of mathematics that are relevant to the real world.

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Why coding is not the new literacy - Quartz

Why coding is not the new literacy - Quartz | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Reading and writing gave us external and distributable storage. Coding gives us external and distributable computation. It allows us to offload the thinking we have to do in order to execute some process. To achieve this, it seems like all we need is to show people how to give the computer instructions, but that’s teaching people how to put words on the page. We need the equivalent of composition, the skill that allows us to think about how things are computed. This time, we’re not recording our thoughts, but instead the models of the world that allow us to have thoughts in the first place.


We build mental models of everything—from how to tie our shoes to the way macro-economic systems work. With these, we make decisions, predictions, and understand our experiences. If we want computers to be able to compute for us, then we have to accurately extract these models from our heads and record them. Writing Python isn’t the fundamental skill we need to teach people. Modeling systems is.


Modeling is the new literacy
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New preschool lesson teaches programming theories - UPI.com

New preschool lesson teaches programming theories - UPI.com | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
MIT researchers designed an activity for preschoolers that allows children to use stickers to program a robot named Dragonbot to respond to series of stimuli.


"It's programming in the context of relational interactions with the robot," Edith Ackermann, a developmental psychologist and visiting professor with MIT's Personal Robots Group, said in a press release.

"This is what children do -- they're learning about social relations, Ackermann said. "So taking this expression of computational principles to the social world is very appropriate."


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Outside the Skinner Box

Outside the Skinner Box | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

We live in a historic moment in which new technologies, with enormous potential for giving agency back to the learner. At the core, these technologies connect timeless craft traditions (learning-by-doing) and remarkable technological progress in a fashion accessible to learners of all ages and affordable for schools.


Programming is a liberal art that should be part of every child’s formal education. The impact of computer science has been felt in nearly every discipline and, if you believe Bill Gates, being able to program has significant vocational benefits as well. However, the primary reason why every child must learn to program is to answer the question Papert began asking in the mid-1960s, “Does the child program the computer or does the computer program the child?” This is a fundamental matter of exerting agency over an increasingly complex, technologically sophisticated world.

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Paul Herring's curator insight, March 9, 7:21 PM

A great article and argument from Gary Stager!
"Schools need a bolder concept of what computing can mean in the creative and intellectual development of young people. Such a vision must be consistent with the educational ­ideals of a school."

Paul Herring's comment, March 9, 7:22 PM
Thanks Susan!
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Making Computer Science More Inviting: A Look at What Works

Making Computer Science More Inviting: A Look at What Works | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
A new prize aims to recognize colleges that succeed in attracting women into information technology, a field where they remain underrepresented.


According to Lucy Sanders, chief executive of the National Council for Women & Information Technology, the American computer science curriculum is in need of a complete overhaul, not just for women.


"I don't particularly think that the existing coputer science curriculum has been effective for anybody," she said. "It needs to be situated in a real-world or meaningful context so people understand why they're doing it."

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Coding Skills Empower Us All |The Maker Issue

Coding Skills Empower Us All |The Maker Issue | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
We’re not coding in schools so that every kid can get a tech job; we’re doing so to give all kids the chance to understand and interact with the technologies in their lives.

Via Bookmarking Librarian, Bonnie Bracey Sutton, Paul Herring
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Will classics or computer science close the skills gap? - Financial Times

Since Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt warned Britain in 2011 that it was “just throwing away its great computing heritage” by focusing on humanities rather than computer science, the chorus of technical leaders warning of the widening skills gap has continued to grow.


Jonathan Evans, now Lord Evans, studied classics at Bristol University. Director-general of MI5 from 2007-13, just as cyber terrorism became one of the country’s biggest threats, he argues that a classics education provides the best foundation for whatever challenges lie ahead. Kathryn Parsons, despite having studied classics at Cambridge before co-founding Decoded, one of Britain’s fastest-growing technology training companies, argues Britain more urgently needs computer scientists than classics scholars.

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Making hard programming easier for novice makers | eSchool News

Making hard programming easier for novice makers | eSchool News | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
The problem is that microcontroller programming is complicated in several ways. Also, unlike the video game controllers or battery powered cars that students were building earlier in the course, the concept of what an Arduino board is, what it does, and why they should care, is completely foreign to most students.


New tools can make it accessible to all.

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Girls Who Code Takes On Gender Gap in Computer Science - U.S. News & World Report

The nonprofit aims to empower women and girls in technology and engineering fields.


Saint Jean Baptiste High School senior Laura Willson, 17, is putting together a petition in support of adding a computer science class to the course offerings at the New York City school.


After attending a 2013 summer immersion program run by the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code at the Manhattan headquarters of IAC, a media and Internet company, Willson co-founded a Girls Who Code club at her school.


“I’m trying to come together with a petition so I can bring it to the principal and see what she thinks about it because I think eventually my school should have a computer science class,” Willson says. “Since they have a club, why not have a class too?”


“You don’t have to rely on anyone else to take what’s in your head and try to translate it into something in real life. It’s so nice to have all of that power and all of those skills in your own hands to really build your own dream,” Leah Busque says. “I think that along with that as an entrepreneur comes enough confidence, tenacity and sort of sheer will and ambition to move an idea forward and to not just build it, but also get it out there.”

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Computational thinking an essential skill for next-generation — Jessica Tan

 Over the past few decades, technology has radically transformed how we work and play. Automation has changed entire industries and the Internet has revolutionised the way we access information and make decisions. The imminent reality is that our world will only come to depend more and more on technology — jobs will become increasingly skills-biased, and as a result, the workforce of tomorrow not only has to work productively with technology, they will also have to have a firm grasp on how technology works.


This is especially true for Singapore — where we have embarked on a mission to become the first Smart Nation in the world. More so than other nations, we have an urgent and critical need to develop computational thinking as a national capability to lay the foundational building blocks to realise this goal. After all, a large part of being a Smart Nation is about leveraging new technologies to solve problems and improve the lives of our people. 



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3 Life Lessons I Learned from Coding

3 Life Lessons I Learned from Coding | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Discover the three ways that learning to code prepared this programmer for life's challenges—including those far beyond coding.

Via Paul Herring
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Lego Mindstorms: A History of Educational Robots

Lego Mindstorms: A History of Educational Robots | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Although one of the earliest applications of Logo involved the robot turtle, the advent of personal computers had moved the programming language from the floor to the screen. Lego Logo, a project developed by Mitch Resnick and Steve Ocko, moved programming back out again, into the physical world – but with some key differences, least of which being that children got to design their own machines, not simply use the pre-made turtle.

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Learn Code for What? Keeping Students at the Center of the Coding Movement - EdSurge

Learn Code for What? Keeping Students at the Center of the Coding Movement - EdSurge | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
With all the hype about teaching kids to code, we must be careful not to forget the core aspect of any education movement: the kids.


We must encourage students to see there is more to computer science than coding, and more to coding than becoming a software developer. Clive Beale of the RaspberryPi Foundation articulated this sentiment perfectly when he stated, “we’re not trying to make everyone a computer scientist, but what we’re saying is, ‘this is how these things work, it’s good for everyone to understand the basics of how these things work. And by the way, you might be really good at it.’”

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Magic and Computational Thinking

Magic and Computational Thinking | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Teaching London Computing in conjunction with cs4fn have produced a series of fun activities and booklets based around magic tricks that teach computing topics and computational thinking for use in...

Via Paul Herring
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Free Devices Will Help 1 Million U.K. Students Learn To Code

Coding is the door to the digital future, and kids are holding the key.

On Thursday, the BBC launched a major initiative called Make it Digital that will provide 1 million devices used to teach coding to young students. Every student entering Year 7, mostly kids aged 11 or 12, will receive a device. The program is part of a larger effort to make the U.K. more digitally educated, BBC reported.

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Virtual-reality experiment lets you walk around the Ferguson shooting scene

Virtual-reality experiment lets you walk around the Ferguson shooting scene | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

This is an interactive experience that explores Michael Brown’s death using a combination of graphic journalism and virtual reality. It allows you to move through an immersive recreation of the Ferguson shooting—and view the events based on eight eyewitness accounts of what happened on August 9th.

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