Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Science, Engineering, and Innovation (HuffPo)

We all know in our heads that science, engineering, and the work of creative people influence our everyday lives. But sometimes it feels more personal.
Chad Ruble's mother had a stroke some years ago and was left with aphasia. According to the National Aphasia Association, about 1 million Americans have aphasia, an impairment of the ability to process language -- in speaking and listening, and usually also in reading and writing. Today's networks can connect us with almost everyone else in the world, but for people with severe aphasia, more is needed. Ordinary phone conversation and email pose challenges.
Read the rest on the Huffington Post.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Computer programming is the new literacy (OUP)

It’s widely held that computer programming is the new literacy. (Disagreement can be found, even among computing professionals, but it’s not nearly as common.) It’s an effective analogy. We all agree that everyone should be literate, and we might see a natural association between writing letters for people to read and writing programs for computers to carry out. We also find a historical parallel to the pre-Gutenberg days, when written communication was the purview mainly of the aristocracy and professional scribes. Computation is an enormously valuable resource, and we’re only beginning to explore the implications of its being inexpensively and almost universally available.
But is programming-as-literacy an appropriate analogy? We tend to think that basic literacy is achieved by someone who can say, “Yes, I can read and write.” Let’s see what this means in the context of programming.

Read the rest on the OUPblog, "Oxford University Press's Academic Insights for the Thinking World."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Code Year: Why You Should Learn to Code (HuffPo)

You probably know about Code Year. Code Year, sponsored by Codecademy, challenges people to learn how to program in 2012. The Codeacademy website offers free online lessons in a variety of programming languages; it's received attention in the press and saw a large boost from a comment from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Twitter: "My New Year's resolution is to learn to code with Codecademy in 2012! Join me."
Hundreds of thousands of people have joined Bloomberg. Even though my own Code Year was 30 years ago, I can still appreciate the appeal -- you'll learn how to write software to make your computer do new and wonderful things that youfind valuable, instead of depending only on what others have done. That's empowering.
But there's more.

Read the rest on the Huffington Post.