Computational Tinkering
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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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The Lede Program: An Introduction to Data Practices - Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Data, code and algorithms are becoming central to research and creative work, and are setting new parameters for the exercise of responsible citizenship. Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and Department of Computer Science have together created two new post-bac certification programs that will offer hands-on training in data and data technologies, all taught in the context of journalism, the humanities and the social sciences. 

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Computational Thinking in Primary Schools

Music, poetry and art aren’t on the curriculum to train future musicians, poets and artists; they are there because all should have an entitlement to a liberal education which includes these elements. The same applies to programming: we teach it because it’s interesting and important, not just because it’s useful. The real interest, importance and utility though lies with computational thinking, which seems much more important than learning to code. That said, learning to code may well be the best way start thinking computationally.

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Paul Herring's curator insight, March 25, 2014 7:34 PM
Some good thoughts here: ‘A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world’. ... For me, computational thinking is about looking at problems or systems in a way that considers how computers could be used to help solve or model these."
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Naace: Computer Programming: a benefit to the young learner?

Naace: Computer Programming: a benefit to the young learner? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

This literature review explores the ways in which primary aged learners in particular may benefit from appropriate software being used to support the proposed new programme of study for computing. It focuses on the potential of programming activities to bring learning progress to an individual.

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(Computation) Spreadsheets and Global Mayhem

(Computation) Spreadsheets and Global Mayhem | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Australian researchers say they have developed a mathematical model to predict genocide. A Swiss sociologist has sifted through a century of news articles to predict when war will break out — both between and within countries. A Duke University lab builds software that it says can be used to forecast insurgencies. A team assembled by the Holocaust Museum is mining hate speech on Twitter as a way to anticipate outbreaks of political violence: It will be rolled out next year for the elections in Nigeria, which have frequently been marred by violence.


What makes these efforts so striking is that they rely on computing techniques — and sometimes huge amounts of computing power — to mash up all kinds of data, ranging from a country’s defense budget and infant mortality rate to the kinds of words used in news articles and Twitter posts.

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Exploring computer coding as an art form - Varsity

Exploring computer coding as an art form - Varsity | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Most people view coding as a scientific pursuit. After all, students in the University of Toronto’s computer science program graduate with a Bachelor of Science, however there is a growing trend in the field of computer programming to view code as art.

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Computational thinking through music

Presentation for Xerox India Research Center, 19 Feb, 2014


Via M. Edward (Ed) Borasky
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Stephen Wolfram's Introduction to the Wolfram Language - YouTube

Stephen Wolfram introduces the Wolfram Language in this video that shows how the symbolic programming language enables powerful functional programming, query...
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Cracking the code of computer education - The Japan Times

There are two possible interpretations of all this. One is the cock-up theory that holds that Year of Code is a well-intentioned initiative that has suffered a disastrous public-relations fiasco. In this view, Year of Code is a laudable enterprise by wealthy corporate types who want to do good by injecting energy into an important national project: to prepare our schoolchildren for the computer-dominated world that they will inherit.

 

An alternative, less charitable, view is that Year of Code is a takeover bid by a corporate world that has woken up to the realization that the changes in the computing curriculum and the success of the open-source Raspberry Pi will open up massive commercial opportunities.

 

In a way, it doesn’t matter which interpretation is correct. The project to educate teachers to exploit the new computing curriculum is too important to be drowned in squabbles. 

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Should Computational Science Focus So Much on High Performance Computing?

Should Computational Science Focus So Much on High Performance Computing? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
No.Scientific computing and high performance computing are virtually synonymous.  Should they be? Is this even a discussion worth having? It should be.  It shouldn’t be an article of faith.I’m goin...

Via Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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If the Year of Code has got it wrong, how should we teach kids to code? - ComputerWeekly.com

If the Year of Code has got it wrong, how should we teach kids to code? - ComputerWeekly.com | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
If the Year of Code has got it wrong, how should we teach kids to code?
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Suvi Salo's comment, February 20, 2014 8:47 AM
Computer coding taught in Estonian primary schools (BBC news, January 2014) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9kZGfW7tZc
Paul Herring's curator insight, February 22, 2014 4:46 PM

"Positioning coders as artists, and programming as painting, students can be taught the skills and given the encouragement to produce individual work, enabling them to see the personal benefit and reward. We must encourage Britain’s young people to innovate and aspire to coding careers, with the same aspiration that people pursue the dream of becoming a footballer.”

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Rethinking Our Thinking: Computational thinking and the new journalism mindset

Rethinking Our Thinking: Computational thinking and the new journalism mindset | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The point here is to show the similarities between journalists and programmers — to help overcome any perceived barriers.

 

But we can’t and shouldn’t wait for any magical bridge to appear. There are so many things we can do today, even as simple as rethinking our thinking. If we do, then we can more easily pick up one another’s skills and tools.

 

Overall, by integrating journalism, programmers and “computational thinking for everyone,” we will be better prepared to more effectively build the tools, practices and platforms we need. And, with those platforms, we will be able to further connect and innovate to do better journalism.

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Could Computers Get Too Smart? - The American

Could Computers Get Too Smart? - The American | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

As technological enhancement of our bodies and minds progresses, there is increasing concern about the potential negative consequences. Some optimists believe that human life will be transformed for the better and that we can address any risks successfully as they arise, but for other believers in accelerating progress, hope turns to fear.


While evil robots have been a staple of science fiction for decades, the new concern over artificial intelligence envisions no such warfare. Instead, the fear is that autonomous intelligent systems, originally created to pursue human objectives, will develop agendas of their own in which people are not so much the enemy as an irrelevant presence that may be impeding the realization of the supermachines’ emergent goals.


There are many reasons to doubt the imminence of a virtual human brain, let alone one that would become a self-multiplying, possibly civilization-threatening superintelligence

Susan Einhorn's insight:

Uh-oh. At least Tenner raises some doubts and reassurances. 

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How one college went from 10% female computer-science majors to 40%

How one college went from 10% female computer-science majors to 40% | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Yes, we know there aren’t enough women in tech. Yes, we know we need to change the ratio. One college has found the answer. With a three-step method, Harvey Mudd College in California quadrupled its female computer science majors. The experiment started in 2006 when Maria Klawe, a computer scientist and mathematician herself, was appointed college president.


Via Chris Carter, Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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Chris Carter's comment, March 27, 2014 9:33 PM
Linda, I am excited the spread the good word. Harvey Mudd has an impressive track record of data-driven change.
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Adding Coding to the Curriculum

Around the world, students from elementary school to the Ph.D. level are increasingly getting acquainted with the basics of computer coding.
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Upgrade Your Brain: Resources for Coding Beginners

Upgrade Your Brain: Resources for Coding Beginners | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
To make it in the tech economy, you should have some understanding of the code that builds the digital world around you.
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Why Wolfram|Alpha's Algorithm Still Relies On Human Smarts - Co.Labs ⚙ code + community

Why Wolfram|Alpha's Algorithm Still Relies On Human Smarts - Co.Labs ⚙ code + community | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The newly released Wolfram Language claims to know everything about everything. The all-knowing language is the driving force behind computational knowledge engine Wolfram|Alpha. But it hasn’t gotten closer to obtaining perfect knowledge without help from real, human experts.

Nearly every one of Wolfram|Alpha’s algorithms and real-world object identifiers (the ones that make it possible for the language to understand what a "pint" or a "foot" is) have been vetted by people who truly do know everything. And the Wolfram Alpha team regularly consults with real experts on how to make sense of all the datasets in its knowledge stores.

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Should Schools Treat Coding as a 'Basic Literacy'?

Should Schools Treat Coding as a 'Basic Literacy'? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
With many schools offering relatively little in the way of computer science course, a growing number of young students are turning to private coding programs.
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Who Needs to Know How to Code - Wall Street Journal

As the ability to code, or use programming languages to build sites and apps, becomes more in demand, technical skills are no longer just for IT professionals. Children as young as 7 can take online classes in Scratch programming, while 20-somethings are filling up coding boot camps that promise to make them marketable in the tech sector. Businesses such as American Express Co. send senior executives to programs about data and computational design not so they can build websites, but so they can better manage the employees who do.

“I equate coding to reading and writing and basic literacy,” says Adam Enbar, founder of New York’s Flatiron School, which offers 12-week, $12,000 programs to turn novices into developers. “Not everyone needs to be Shakespeare, just as not everyone needs to be an amazing developer,” he says. “But…we’re entering a world where every job if not already, will be technical.”

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Peter Albion's curator insight, March 14, 2014 7:01 PM

#edp4130 students wondering why we have them working in Scratch might find this interesting. The Australian Curriculum: Technologies includes knowledge of algorithms and coding for reasons of this kind.

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Demand for Computer Science Classes Grows, Along With Digital Divide

Demand for Computer Science Classes Grows, Along With Digital Divide | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
It's estimated that only about 10 percent of K-12 schools teach computer science. Some companies are trying to fill a void in American public education by teaching kids computer programming basics.

 

The “guesstimate” is that only five to 10 percent of schools teach computer science, based largely on data on students who take the AP test in computer science annually. The real percentage may be lower. Nobody tracks the figures nationally.

Some sobering stats from last year’s AP data:

In Mississippi, Montana and Wyoming, no girls took the computer science exam.In 11 states, no black students took it.In eight states, no Hispanics took it.In 17 states, fewer than 100 students took it.
Via Lewis Walker, Paul Herring
Susan Einhorn's insight:

The world changes faster and faster, while education falls farther behind. An hour of code once a year is not enough. Just think about something you did for an hour this year - how did that impact your life or your thinking?

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Lewis Walker's curator insight, February 26, 2014 9:57 AM

This is an area in the Urban Core that we need to put more emphasis on. 

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The Stunning Symbiosis between Math and Knitting [Slide Show]

The Stunning Symbiosis between Math and Knitting [Slide Show] | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Susan Einhorn's insight:

Knitting, math, algorithms, patterns, coding ....interesting connections.

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Scientists Begin Looking at Programmers' Brains: The Neuroscience of ... - Huffington Post (blog)

Programming is a deeply complex but relatively new human activity. Its young age has lent itself to countless battles and hotly debated topics that despite the many compelling arguments presented, we seemingly have no definitive answers for. All that is about to change: An international team of scientists lead by Dr. Janet Siegmund is using brain imaging with fMRI to understand the programmer's mind. Understanding the brain offers us the chance to distill these complex issues into fundamental answers.

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The Neuroscience of Computer Programming - Slashdot

The Neuroscience of Computer Programming - Slashdot | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

"Interestingly, even though there was code that involve mathematical operations, conditionals, and loop iteration, for these particular tasks, programming had less in common with mathematics and more in common with language

Susan Einhorn's insight:

Interesting....

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Why The New York Times Hired A Biology Researcher As Its Chief Data Scientist

To help make sense of the massive troves of data produced by people clicking around its website, the Times made a very nontraditional hire. Computational thinking and machine learning is ramping up, let's go!

 

News has gone from a device that shows up on your door step to a website, which just opens up a whole new universe of ways of understanding your readers and listening to your readers better. Anytime anyone does anything on a website, that is an event and that person leaves a trail of data. Putting all of that data together is definitely a non-trivial task. It gives so much immediate insight into the way people use your product, how your products can be improved, what new products you should be thinking about. I think that's a real transformation for anybody in any business.

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It's Not the DALI You're Thinking Of | Dartmouth Now

It's Not the DALI You're Thinking Of | Dartmouth Now | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

DALI at Dartmouth means something other than the mustachioed Spanish surrealist painter. Rather, it refers to a group of students, staff, and faculty, who work on real-world computational problems. They focus on  communicating complex ideas and data in meaningful ways, using a mix of technology and design. The group is the Digital Arts Leadership and Innovation Lab—the DALI Lab.

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