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Programming in Processing


I call this one "Wandering Lines," and it is derived from a sketch by Daniel Shiftman ...I think.
It is built in Processing. And the code is very simple. I find my students (grade 7, 8, and 9) enjoy programming in Processing because it is such a visual and playful language. Of course when the ideas become more complex and the need for mathematical understanding recognized, many of my students back away from the challenge. Still quite a few do not. I believe that if a student has a reason to learn something they will, as long as that reason is powerful enough to drive them through the struggle of learning.

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Ms. Google: Our Free Librarian

Our schools' librarian, Ms. Google, is a most remarkable librarian.
She has the most exceptional memory. She is very clean and very precise. Like the fabled Elephant, Ms. Google is said to never forget. And is she ever fast! Within a second of asking - and she always tells you how much time herself! (which would be conceited if it weren't so amazing!)- She can give me a list of over 22 million possible choices. 22 million! Isn't she amazing! My gosh I love having that much choice! How empowering it is. Not that I ever look at all of them... ( If truth be known I seldom go past the first page) But I love the incredible speed and thoroughness of her searches. I just love them and I just lover her. I almost never go anywhere else. And I never ask anyone else. Why would I? I trust her. Oh, I know she used to be a bit difficult. I don't mean she didn't deliver, but, on her first page she used to have like 30 choices. 30 choices on one page is too many isn't it? So, even...Read more

How Does Technology Affect Schools, Part I

"We can't ignore the social implications of our technical progress."Douglas Engelbart

The study of Technology and Technological Media is perhaps a subject more suited to Social Studies than Science. Though computerized technology runs on mathematical formulas, algorithms made up of binary code, the ubiquitous network of computerized systems that we use has become the infrastructure by which our world is run. Technology is therefore a socio-economic and cultural structure as well as a machine of engineering. It is imperative for the student to be educated in the workings of technology so that they may be prepared for the experiences of their future.

The digital technology with which we are dealing has already, is still and will continue, to alter the old infrastructure of our world, changing it forever in many obvious and many hidden ways. We do not see the workings of this computerized infrastructure, as they are largely invisible, performed...Read more

“In (Education), many take advantage of the ephemeral awe that the new computational tools bring — only to have it revealed later that their power was based on the tool they used and not on their own intellectual ability.”

“It is possible to claim that a (child’s) creativity is limited by the very programs that are supposed to free their imagination. … …Whenever they use a new tool provided for them by programmers, they think that they are now able to do something new and “cool.” But are they really doing anything new? Or are they simply replicating a process already conceived by the programmer who provided the tool?”

“In (Education), many take advantage of the ephemeral awe that the new computational tools bring… by using them as means to establish a new concept, style, or form — only to have it revealed later that their power was based on the tool they used and not on their own intellectual ability.”

The above quotes are taken from the introduction to "Algorithms for Visual Design Using the Processing Language" by Kostas Terzidis. I would have printed his whole introduction as it is an elequent comment about the need to understand programming in order to take personal control of the...Read more

One does grow weary of the hyperbole

"Indeed, once you begin contrasting 1968 with 2008, you might even find yourself thinking that, on balance, the Web is not an engine for social activism but an engine for social passivity. You might even suggest that the Web funnels our urges for “participation” and “sharing” into politically and commercially acceptable channels – that it turns us into play-actors, make-believe elves in make-believe clans."
Nic Carr http://www.roughtype.com/?p=1119

For professional development teachers are often required to go to Symposiums about technology and education.
Looking to learn further I looked at the Symposium website when I was struck at how it highlighted the relationship between our educational system and corporate commercial enterprise. I couldn't help but wonder why all that we teachers were going to discuss at this symposium is what we're being sold by Apple and Google? There seems nothing about teaching our...Read more

3d Frankenstein

I am a fan of Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley. What a great author. Out of 23 years of straight war, "The Summer that Never Was" (1816), a night of ghost stories, Shelley, Byron and Pollidori, philosopher father and preminent feminist mother, Mary Shelley wrote a tale that still is vitally resonant today. I wrote a bible for a television series based on Frankenstein's Creature having survived in the Canadian Arctic. I built this 3d animation in Poser, PhotoShop and rendered it in Vue to assist in explaining the idea.Read more

I know we all care about kids.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010)

I just wonder how can schools require students to be on computers longer than what the Canadian Pediatrics Society recommends? What do the CPS know that the teachers don't? What do the teachers know that Pediatricians don't?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/10-reasons-why-handheld-devices...

The article by Cris Rowan is a bit scary and a bit sparse to be sure, however, those who have followed the growth of technology in the schools as well as the health concerns related to this growth have been aware of these issues for some time. Current viable research is supporting recent past...Read more

12 Grades a Slave

According to Wayne Grady in his book, "Technology" the "mark of a slave is obligatory submission to a higher authority."

Thinking about Slavery and schools. I wonder if in some way our modern system doesn't have the same issues of freedom and exploitation. I don't mean whippings and the racist suppression of groups of people,-- though, it is interesting to look at the recent Canadian stats on which ethnicities go to prison, and which don't.-- I mean a more general truth; that in any system, freedom from the system demands that either the system change, or, that you leave the system. We could compare a slave to being a student who doesn't have a say in attending school but must conform to a system of education that is defined by a small group of men whom they will never meet. This is not a form as visceral or brutal or disgusting as it was (and is,) but, nonetheless a form of slavery in which the individual could be expected to desire, "freedom." Yet, having resented my...Read more

The Internet Promised Us an Ocean of Ideas and Then Put Us In a Fish Bowl

Google continues to espouse rhetoric about the internet going somewhere, but there are only ten choices on the first page of a search and they are defined by Google, so as the myopic becomes the norm the promise of a great democratic forum of wonderful ideas and learning, becomes a sales showroom of the reconstructed consumerist culture. We are told there is an ocean of ideas, but we get put into a fish bowl.Read more

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