Sunday, January 12, 2014

Crafting Computer Science Diversity.

I have been thinking a lot lately about diversity in computer science.

The Beacon Hill Dollhouse
My world of technology started on just about  the smallest possible scale - in my dollhouse. Santa brought the dollhouse when I was 7. An Army brat, I already was well accustomed finding creative ways to entertain myself. In the miniature rooms and halls of that house, I learned more about tinkering and problem solving than from any classroom or textbook.

Being an Army Brat also meant moving every 18 months. I was allowed one one box of toys. Each new move meant brutal decisions about what made the cut. My constant choice through all the years was my dollhouse.

I built everything for the house from scratch, I was carpenter, furniture maker and electrician. By the time I was in the 5th grade, I had it fully electrified with a brass chandelier and a working ceiling fan.

Those early experiences -- of learning by exploring and by literally hard wiring my imagination -- now informs how I teach my students to program. I encourage them to connect the abstract code to the underlying electronics through hands on activities. My hope is to get them just as excited about making through code.

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