Future of Programming

Posted on December 26, 2013

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Down near the end of http://hackeducation.com/2013/11/18/top-ed-tech-trends-of-2013-zombie-ideas/   (and I need to go back and read the other “trends” posts) was a link to a thing called “The Future Of Programming.”   I expected something like this from O’Reilly all about “disruptions” and cool programming of devices.

It was much more provocative than that. http://worrydream.com/dbx/   has a video of a talk called “The Future Of PRogramming” — presented in July 2013 but done as if it were happening in 1973, with an opaque projector to show us some amazing potential ideas from paper documents … and it’s every bit as effective as just about any 2013 presentation and it points out that it’s time to go back and do some punctuated evolution in some different directions.   Working on that evolution metaphor:   are our devices all kinds of different species of insects — but it’s time to grow wings? Build better tools instead of making a zillion different things with the same kinds of tools?

I browsed some otehr videos (hey, it’s break so I can be more distracted than usual), including his discussion of the potential of using computers to directly manipulate things visually. In the “future” video he talked about the first “Sketchpad” program and speculated where it would be in another 40 years.  Hmmmm….

… okay, but coming back down to earth, none of that is going to help my Transitions folks with their number sense.

Or is it?   ONe of his arguments is that we can use visual manipulation to make systems much more comprehensible.   He uses examples of somewhat complex engineering and mathematical expressions, showing the historical development of the algebraic language and comparing the written-out version of a quadratic equation from pre- algebraic notation days to something like “X^2 + 3x = 39.”

I got to thinking of the extreme challenge of conveying to people that math just might be something that they could learn to understand if it could be conveyed in a better language… I wished he’d used a simpler example.   I could imagine describing something as “yadda yadda yadda” and … it turning out to be 4 x 3… and mebbe that will be my next bike-ride contemplation.

IN the meantime, though, I’m going to do my Clutter Attack on the house and see about working up some visual exercises to convey “part-whole” thinking for subtraction, so students have a strategy for those “but how much do you need to add?” problems.  I haven’t even really started and I was dreaming the Flash development screen last night…

… and I also did some preliminary shopping for a new web site host for http://www.resourceroom.net — but that world has *totally* changed now that *everybody* needs a website.   I need to figure out how to wade through the marketing and figure out a good match for my non-business I’m-not-sure-what-it-will-be site…

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