Archive for October 2, 2010

Programming or Be Programmed: A New Medium Requires A New Literacy

A new book is out by Douglas Rushkoff, Programming or Be Programmed, that makes a new, intriguing argument for learning to program: because “all systems have embedded purposes.”  If you don’t know about programming, you don’t know how to ask what that embedded purpose is.  I’m not sure that that’s true.  Don’t you wonder “Who is paying for this website?” for just about anyplace you visit, whether or not you program?

He argues that, “Amazingly, America — the birthplace of the Internet — is the only developed nation that does not teach programming in its public schools.”  Is that really true?  If so, that’s a stunning claim.

As we come to experience more of our world and one another through our digital interfaces, programming amounts to basic literacy. Even if we can’t truly program ourselves, recognizing how the programs we do use really work is revolutionary in itself. For once people come to see the way their technologies are programmed, they start to recognize the programs at play everywhere else – from the economy and education to politics and government.

All systems have embedded purposes. The less we recognize them, more we mistake them for given circumstances. We start to treat the map as the territory.

At the very least we must come to recognize the biases – the tendencies- of the technologies we are using, and encourage our young people to do the same. If we don’t participate in building our digital future together, it will be done by someone – or something – else.

via Douglas Rushkoff: Why Johnny Can’t Program: A New Medium Requires A New Literacy.

October 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm 9 comments

New NSF Program: Cyberlearning: Transforming Education

The second expected new NSF program that might fund computing education research has just been released. Very exciting!  What a great time to do work in computing education research!

Through the Cyberlearning: Transforming Education program, NSF seeks to integrate advances in technology with advances in what is known about how people learn to

  • better understand how people learn with technology and how technology can be used productively to help people learn, through individual use and/or through collaborations mediated by technology;
  • better use technology for collecting, analyzing, sharing, and managing data to shed light on learning, promoting learning, and designing learning environments; and
  • design new technologies for these purposes, and advance understanding of how to use those technologies and integrate them into learning environments so that their potential is fulfilled.

Of particular interest are technological advances that allow more personalized learning experiences, draw in and promote learning among those in populations not currently served well by current educational practices, allow access to learning resources anytime and anywhere, and provide new ways of assessing capabilities. It is expected that Cyberlearning research will shed light on how technology can enable new forms of educational practice and that broad implementation of its findings will result in a more actively-engaged and productive citizenry and workforce.

via Cyberlearning: Transforming Education (nsf10620).

October 2, 2010 at 9:16 am Leave a comment


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