This is the page you should come to if you’re interested in finding what to do for our next session.
Keep in mind that each session, everyone (myself included) would ideally:
- Make some new project or improve some old project.
- React in some way (writing, video, song, whatever) to the readings we’re covering
- Tell me what was good/bad about the last session
- (Optionally: if these seem annoying or time-wasting, skip them and tell me why.)
- BY 11.14.11 :: Firstly, please don’t forget to provide feedback on this last session online.
- BY 11.14.11 :: Read Marvin Minsky’s “Why People Think Computers Can’t”
- BY 11.14.11 :: Read Chapter 7 of Mindstorms and post a video conversation with someone talking about it…I’d be particularly interested in hearing about any overlap you see between the Minsky article and Chapter 7. One possibility if logistics are hard for people is recording a Skype call. For those interested, check out this Windows option or this Mac option.
- BY 11.14.11 :: Read Chapter 2.4 of Turtle Geometry and implement a few of the problems in Scratch/BYOB, posting them on the tumblr if they’re Scratch projects or emailing them to me if they’re BYOB projects (unfortunately, there’s no easy way to post BYOB projects). Note that you should do this even if you don’t manage to finish the problems. If you’re interested in working with Ruby instead, try building a Turtle in Ruby-Processing: i.e. something which you can tell to move forward and turn.
- BY 11.07.11 :: Email Alec something detailing a) the best thing you saw in the Mathland presentations and posts, b) the worst, and c) whether you’d like to hear the [anonymized] feedback people provide. For these purposes, “best” and “worst” are about how persuasively they evoked a viable Mathland.
- BY 11.07.11 :: Read Chapter 6 of Mindstorms and post a recording of your conversation with a classmate online.
- BY 11.07.11 :: Reread (or read, if you haven’t gotten a chance, yet) Chapter 2.5 in Turtle Geometry. We’ll be diving into some of this material via Ruby in the future, but for now you can try some of the LOGO code on Heroku.
- BY 11.03.11 :: Get Ruby installed on your laptop. Install ruby-processing and work through the first four sections of Learning Processing with Ruby.
- BY 10.07.11 :: Email Alec with: a) who’s in your Mathland group, b) for whom you’re creating a Mathland, c) what the characteristics of their Mathland are, and d) The ideas you guys have about what to do for that Mathland.
- BY 10.10.11 :: Read Chapter 3 of Mindstorms. Arrange with a classmate to talk about your guys’ impressions of the chapter. If you’re having trouble getting started, try diving in with what you strongly [dis]agreed with. Be sure to record it and post it to the tumblr; you may need to post it to YouTube and then embed that to get around the upload limits.
- BY 10.10.11 :: Read Chapters 2.1–2.3 of Turtle Geometry. Choose a system that you’d like to model or a problem from those chapters and give it a go in Scratch. Post your attempts online.
- BY 10.17.11 :: Read Chapter 4 of Mindstorms. Rinse and repeat the whole find-a-partner-talk-and-post-it shebang.
- BY 10.17.11 :: Read Chapters 1–3 of _why’s poignant guide to ruby and be sure to actually try the code out! I suggest using repl.it to try it out.
- 10.03.11 :: We talked a lot about a pretty confused project instantiating someone’s Mathland. We talked through the positive aspects of people’s own Mathlands (from homework) and explore some of the anti-patterns that people’s experiences with math suggested to them. We spent most of the session getting started on the Mathland project (some speed dating, discussion, then group work).
- BY 10.03.11 :: One of two project choices:
- In groups or solo, identify a intriguing series of examples that you think can naturally pose a question— e.g. “How can you predict when a program will create a closed shape?” Or “OK, so I can make a triangle, a square, and now how do I make an n-gon?” Put those examples together into a blog post and pose that intriguing question—someone should read through your post and themselves be honestly curious about the question. This means you’ll want to put some effort into setting up the question, describing it, etc. Basically, you’re pitching the question to someone. Persuade them it’s interesting.
- So there are a lot of aspects of a boxing gym that I think are pretty compelling to think about translating over to math. See if you can find some sort of analogue for yourself—what’s some discipline or establishment or activity which you wished math were more like? You don’t need to know how to make it like that—this is just a kinda wishlist. Once you’ve found that, be sure to post it in some fashion—blog post, video, link, whatever—to the class blog. Basically, the idea here is to look for things that evoke “Mathland” and see how we might draw on already compelling learning environments to think about how traditionally ‘academic’ subjects like math might be remade in their image.
- Read Chapters 1.2–1.3 of Turtle Geometry and try out a couple of the problems from there, posting your results to the tumblr. As always, the focus isn’t necessarily on solving the problem completely, but on capturing your train of thought: “OK, this is the problem. I’m going to try to figure out this part first, so I made this. Then…” Think of your output as being basically a journal entry (perhaps paired with screenshots or the versions of the project) about your work to solve the problem.
- BY 10.03.11 :: a) Read through Chapter 2 of Mindstorms, b) Find a partner, potentially by emailing the class mailing list, and c) record your guys’ conversation about / reaction to it, d) post the audio to the tumblr. If you really don’t want to or can’t, feel free to post text. I’m just supercurious ‘sall.
- BY 10.03.11 :: Read through a few anecdotes from Sherry Turkle’s Falling for Science. See if you can find an anecdote that you resonate with, and post a bit about what you found compelling about it on the tumblr. If you don’t find one that honestly compels you, post about what falls short about one for you.
- 09.26.11 :: We talked a bunch about the alimentary and deleterious roles that technology can play socially/emotionally/learningly, exploring analogies to TV, pencil and paper, oral traditions, people’s personal experiences with technology, etc. We ate all the pizza! We watched a few videos that highlighted how shallow some Ivy League graduates’ understanding of basic stuff like lightbulbs and seasons is, and talked about what that might mean for designing powerful learning tools. We debugged a few Scratch projects, talked about work for next week, and sorted through logistics for some new and tumblr-challenged people.
- BY 09.22.11 :: Email Alec to set up a time to take a walk/have coffee/whatever to talk through what you’re looking to get out of the course. Also, join this tumblr!
- BY 09.26.11 ::
Choose a) two partners, b) a project or problem, and c) get together to document/diagram the problem solving process in some way. One partner is responsible for documenting. The other is responsible for being like a laid-back interviewer. The person doing the problem should not choose the problem. That said, the choice of a problem should be informed by some discussion about the person’s interests, background, and skills. I’d suggest hanging out and playing around with Scratch for a bit, together, to get a sense of each other’s capacities.
At the end of this, you should post three things: a description of the prompt, the project that was created in response to the prompt, and the documentation of the problem-solving process that you put together. Note that the documentation is free form—whether it’s a video or a storyboard or just a prose narrative is fine by me.
- BY 09.26.11 :: Read Chapter 1 of Mindstorms and post a reaction of some sort to the tumblog.
- BY 09.26.11 :: Read “Thoughts about Teaching Science and Mathematics to Young Children” and make two lists: a) one of statements or assumptions that you feel apply only to children and b) the other of statements that you feel apply well to everyone. Post this on the tumblr in some form.
- BY 09.26.11 :: Read Chapter 1.1 in Turtle Geometry and try out an example or problem in Scratch. As you’re working on the problem, save different versions of your project, capturing snapshots of the process you’re using. Post these to the Scratch site, uploading each as a different (sequentially numbered) project.
- 09.19.11 :: Welcomed some new students to the class, reviewed some projects that people worked on, talked about the readings (specifically, questions of what it means for a skillset to be obsolete and how people’s personal relationships with math evolved), caught up new students on using Scratch and the scope of the course, and worked in groups on a project/prompt observationally, a la the homework for next week. We also ate more pizza than last time.
- BY 09.15.11 :: Read through this site, especially the about page. Feel free to drop me a line with any questions.
- BY 09.19.11 :: Read pp. vi–18 in Mindstorms.
- BY 09.19.11 :: Read “Obsolete Skill Set: The Three Rs — Literacy and Letteracy in the Media Age”.
- BY 09.19.11 :: Browse some projects on the Scratch site and then download Scratch and make a project of your own.
- 09.12.11 :: Talked about the scope of the program, what people were expecting, some of the tools (Scratch, Processing, etc.) that we’ll be exploring. Took care of some boring logistics. Didn’t eat pizza. Didn’t bring cups or drink any soda. Dove into Scratch, working to create some sort of shape. Shared the trials and tribulations of that. Talked about the Scratch community a bit. Brainstormed some possible project directions for working in Scratch for next session.