Teaching Glass · Teaching, as in I have a Visiting-Professor gig this summer at the Centre for Digital Media. Glass as in Google Glass; I’m advising a group trying to drive an interactive documentary (someone said “walkumentary”) with wearable tech. There are six grad students with expertise in programming, animation, photography, film, and audio, and they’ve got fourteen weeks to see what they can make. Should be fun ...
Teachable Moments · My son, who’s just started “Computer Labs” at school, came home all eager to tell us about this “Google” thing on the Internet. So far, we haven’t particularly encouraged computer use at home. We got into an interesting family talk which was reported back to the teacher, then Lauren and I found ourselves invited to come in and teach the Internet to the class. So we set up scratch blogging space; this ended up being instructive both for them and us ... [7 comments]
The Web Curriculum · I propose that the World Wide Web would serve well as a framework for structuring much of the academic Computer Science curriculum. A study of the theory and practice of the Web’s technologies would traverse many key areas of our discipline. Furthermore, there is a natural way to structure such a traversal to support a course of study stretching over many semesters ... [22 comments]
The School Concert · Our son is attending Grade Four in a specialized program that includes a compulsory String Instruments class, thus he’s been struggling to master a screechy little violin since September. It’s a public school; by some budgetary jiggery-pokery they manage to retain the services of a nearly-full-time Strings teacher. Last Thursday night was the Christmas Concert featuring the fourth and fifth graders, and we had no idea what to expect ... [6 comments]
How They Learn · It’s amazing, contrary to all the clichés, how slowly little kids learn. My little guy, now in first grade, has been learning to read for a year now and still struggles with some obvious-seeming words; oh, those English vowels. But slow is OK, because time is what he has, no end of it; and when you’re my age that time rushes by, fast and unceasing like a spring flood. This evening, reading the first chapters of the first Harry Potter at bedtime, he seemed to want a turn so I pointed him at a paragraph and he hurried through it, the tale’s urgency carrying him over words he couldn’t make out. I remember being the same age doing the same thing, wondering what some word meant, but not enough to stop, or even slow down much.
Co-eds · This week I paid a visit to the University of Guelph, from which I graduated over twenty years ago. They’re fine people and it’s a fine school, and I’ll have more to say about that, but I learned some some shocking numbers. First, of Guelph’s 18,000-or-so students, around 70% are female. At the Veterinary College, it’s around 90%. And in this year’s graduating class of 50 Computer Science students, 4 are female. The visual effect is not subtle: everywhere you look there are swarms of bright, healthy, eager-looking young women. And in the CS building, the usual geekboys. Guelph’s population, they tell me, is not untypical for modern universities. What does this mean, a couple of decades from now?