Computer Info Essay

1079 words - 5 pages

"The Beauty and Joy of Computing: Computer Science for Everyone", Constructionism 2012, Athens. About the development of CS 10, Berkeley's new CS breadth course for non-majors.
Why Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs matters In 2011, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of MIT, the Boston Globe made a list of the most important MIT innovations, and they asked me to explain the importance of SICP. This is what I sent them.
"Bringing 'No Ceiling' to Scratch: Can One Language Serve Kids and Computer Scientists?" (with Jens Mönig, a talk at the Constructionism 2010 conference in Paris). Scratch is the brilliant grandchild of Logo, from the MIT Media Lab, that uses drag-and-drop ...view middle of the document...

One of the programming projects I used in my Logo-based computer science books is a program that solves logic puzzles. This paper explores different approaches to such puzzles (inference and backtracking) and how the program could be extended. There are general purpose inference systems far more advanced, but this limited program may make the ideas more accessible to a beginner.
"Logo: Capitalist Tool?" (a talk at the 1995 EuroLogo conference in Birmingham). A recent development at the MIT Logo lab has been Mitch Resnick's program StarLogo, a version featuring extreme parallelism (thousands of turtles). Results from this very good technical work have been used as the basis for what I consider dubious analogies, in Resnick's own book and in Seymour Papert's latest book, that purport to prove the joys of "free"-market capitalism. Here I debunk those analogies.
"Is Programming Obsolete?" (A talk I've given at a few conferences in 1994.) No, it isn't, even though there's slick "courseware" available these days.
"Against Multimedia" (Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility newsletter, 1994), in which I explain why it's all a bad idea.
"Symbolic Programming vs. Software Engineering--Fun vs. Professionalism--Are These the Same Question?" (a talk at the 1993 EuroLogo conference in Athens). Sorry about the long title; they asked me for a title before I'd decided what to talk about! It turned out to be about the word "Logo-like" that people use these days to describe an enormous range of educational environments. I consider what makes Logo Logo, and some of the different ways in which things can be like or unlike that.
"The Role of Logo in Secondary and Post-Secondary Computer Science" (a talk at the 1993 International Logo Conference in Melbourne). What language should we use to teach computer science? I compare Logo with its competitors: Scheme, Pascal, and visual languages such as Visual Basic and (in a different way) Hypertalk.
"Avoiding Recursion" (in Learning Mathematics and Logo, Celia Hoyles and Richard Noss, editors, MIT Press, 1992). Functional languages such as Logo and Scheme generally use recursion as the main control mechanism, rather than iterative constructs such as while and for. Many beginning programmers find the idea of recursion...

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