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March 4, 2012 / Ben Chun

DML 2012

I gave an Ignite talk (20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds = 5 minutes total) yesterday at DML 2012. My topic was “Teaching Programming in Every Subject” which was on one level about cross-curricular integration, and on another level about how programming is a great model for how to work on any problem. Just now, I realized that Jasper Johns also knew the secret:

Do Something

He was talking about how to make art, and I think the advice pretty much applies to anything. But Papert is the one that I give credit to nailing down the connection between programming and an iterative approach to learning. In my talk I quoted from his book Mindstorms:

“[M]any children are held back in their learning because they have a model of learning in which you have either “got it” or “got it wrong”. But when you learn to program a computer you almost never get it right the first time. Learning to be a master programmer is learning to become highly skilled at isolating and correcting “bugs”.”

I’ve written and talked about the significance of this connection before. And I wasn’t the only Papert fan in the house: both Rafi Santo and Henry Jenkins referenced him in their Ignite talks as well. All of which lead to the following observation:

I think videos of our talks will eventually be posted, but for the time being here are examples of student work on the three projects I discussed:

1. Shakespeare vernacular translations and stage directions, with recorded dialog
2. Regular polygon drawing
3. Age of Exploration Adventure-style games, and the assignment details

I’d love to find more creative approaches and projects for teaching CS and other subjects at the same time!


Leave a Comment
  1. James Folkestad / Mar 7 2012 2:26 pm

    Enjoyed your talk. Did you get to go to the Speakeasy that was near by the conference? Love the quote. Great conference.


  1. DML 2012 Ignite Talk « And Yet It Moves

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