Archive for July 27, 2012

On Not Leaving Academia « Beki’s Blog

The letter from University of New Mexico CS professor leaving academia is depressing.  It rings all too true.  Beki’s response buoyed me up, and made me think (yet again, as I did earlier this week) that I do appreciate my job — and being a teacher for me (like Beki) is the best part of it.

An article written by a faculty member who is leaving academia for Google has been circulating on Facebook. I agree in parts with what he is saying, but I am not going to leave academia (I should add that I am a tenured professor, like—I believe—the author of the original piece). Here, for what its worth, are my thoughts. I’ve organized them around some of the same sub-headings.

via On Not Leaving Academia « Beki’s Blog.

July 27, 2012 at 3:35 am 4 comments

Educational Kit from CMU Can Turn Artwork and Crafts Into Robots

In our summer camps, two of the most popular activities have been Scratch and Pico Crickets.  Unfortunately, the company has been bought out by Lego and is being dismantled in favor of their WeDo, which isn’t anywhere close to the same thing.  I’m excited about Hummingbird — I hope that it captures some of the Pico Crickets excitement.

While educational robotic kits traditionally have focused on the technology itself — the building of a robot — Hummingbird treats robotics as just one element that can be combined with craft materials and text to communicate thoughts, feelings or ideas.

“We want students to become inventors of technology rather than users of technology,” said Robotics Professor Illah Nourbakhsh, whose CREATE Lab developed Hummingbird for a project called Arts & Bots. “Hummingbird feeds a student’s natural curiosity about technology by enabling her to incorporate robotics into something she is making that is meaningful or useful.”

The results often amount to kinetic sculptures that use sensors to detect changes in their environment and respond with movement and/or light displays. A cardboard dragon that turns its head and tries to bite anyone who comes close is one example. Students in West Virginia built a working replica of Star Wars’ R2D2.

via Press Release: Roboticize Your World: Educational Kit Can Turn Artwork and Crafts Into Robots-Carnegie Mellon News – Carnegie Mellon University.

July 27, 2012 at 3:34 am 1 comment


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