Computers! Why should we all learn to talk to them?
Sure, it could get you a cushy job. But what more is there on a cultural level if we imagine every single person thinking computationally?
The most compelling argument I’ve encountered so far comes from Seymour Papert, the co-inventor of the LOGO programming language and Turtle. He wrote Mindstorms which is a powerful and short book about computational education.
Kids draw geometric shapes by telling an onscreen “turtle” what to do.
Programmatic thinking directly aligns with my excitement towards making education more creative and active. And by active, I mean that a young person has direct dialogue with a very powerful tool. She can access knowledge and create knowledge herself. She can fix problems herself. In very few other parts of life are we encouraged to debug failure.
Another very powerful example of computers as a creative haven is Minecraft. That, in fact, is its own universe unbound by conventional physics. What’s most impressive to me is how Minecraft is not only its own virtual world, but how incredibly generative it is as a group of people. Not only have young people built their own functioning computer, but they have also created communities that are hierarchically flat, and self-regulated. That is pretty amazing.
The TLDR? –> Computers can make some cool, unexpected stuff. It’s even more exciting when computers make entire communities more confident as creative people. 💖
Before I have the skills to push that vision along, let’s just appreciate this Nyan cat for now.
This was my 2nd drawing. My first drawing was this Mona Lisa, which initially created without variables. That slowed everything down, because I would reposition everything ad nauseum.
Variables helped so much with Nyan Cat because I could position parts relative to some base element (the poptart body) rather than (0,0).
The most difficult part of this was the rotation of the tail. It drove me up the wall because I could not intuitively “get” what axis it was turning around.
I tried using the “translate();” function to control the rectangle’s x, y position while it was rotating. This worked, but then it subsequently translated every other part of the cat. (If anyone knows how to make multiple rotations without tearing hair out, pls help.)
In this term I hope to make something driven by fun and creativity; ideally, it would be a tool that people could use for drawing, or building something silly. Maybe it interacts with hardware, or becomes a game which relies on creativity. It would be the first step towards my Turtle dream, at least.