In this program, we’re going to focus on two questions:
- How can playing with computational tools teach us about how we think and learn?
- What does it mean to create art and math with computers?
We’re going to do this by playing with geometry and simulation using a variety computational tools ranging from LOGO to Scratch to pynguin to Processing. This program is appropriate for anyone (yes, you read that right, anyone—you don’t need to be a Tufts student to signup) who’s comfortable with basic algebra and geometry…what most people get exposed to in middle school or high school. That said, we’ll be doing real mathematics and computer science. Which is to say, even if you’re very comfortable with those tools, there’ll be a lot to explore here. All the stuff you need to pay attention to is either on this site or at the Facebook group.
getting in touch with me
I’ve got some and you’ve got some when we show up to work together—
Show up each Monday evening starting 12 Setpember (and excluding 10 October) from 6:30–9PM at East Hall Room 015.
Share what I can about how to talk to computers fluently enough that you can explore math and art and other ideas you have.
Come up with compelling prompts and problems that stand a good chance of exercising the intellectual muscles you need to make things that you think are cool.
Do those prompts myself!
- "Give" you a grade. The reason for those scare quotes is partially captured by this and this (PDF) essay. The grade you “receive” depends primarily on how deeply you engage with two things:
- the quality and efficacy of your creations (what this means will change from assignment to assignment)
- active reflection about what worked and what didn’t about your and others’creations
- Give me a chance.
- Give yourself a chance. If you think you’re bad at math, consider that you might have just been bad at math class. If you’re stoked about math or computers and worry that this might be ‘too easy’ for you, rest assured that there’s plenty of depth here—a basic premise of the program is that part of what computational tools offer us is the chance for novices and experts to play with deep ideas side-by-side.
- Come to terms with the fact that how much we get out of our time together is largely controlled by how much time we each put in.
- Do what you can to help me make you putting in your time with your while.
- Each week, you’ll be expected to do [at least] three things:
- make something new or improve something old (and share it online via the facebook group and this tumblog). What exactly this is will change from week to week, but in general it’ll be an open-ended, flexible prompt. And of course, collaboration is encouraged!
- react to something (and share that reaction online via the facebook group)
- give me [online, optionally anonymous] feedbackM/span> about how awesome/terrible the last session was here.
- Because it bears repeating: provide honest feedback. Preferably brutal.
Talking to computers can be difficult. But also rewarding. Above all, as with any craft, it requires practice. That doesn’t have to mean boring or tedious practice. Nor does it mean practice alone. Collaboration and working together is encouraged. To help out with that, I’ll be running a studio time three hours a week someplace on campus TBD. If you end up being unable to make it to those, I’d encourage you to find some friends or people-who-aren’t-yet-your-friend-but-soon-could-be and work with them. I’d also be happy to get together in real life, over GChat or Skype, or whatever to hang out and work together.