[SIGCIS-Members] history, technology and education of theoretical math/cs concepts

Eric Gade eric.gade at gmail.com
Thu Oct 8 13:06:48 PDT 2020


Hi Paul,

In addition to the excellent links others have provided, I would also
recommend the following two:

1. Alan Kay's "Doing with Images Makes Symbols
<https://youtu.be/p2LZLYcu_JY?t=4031>" talk (the link is at a timestamp in
the talk that addresses what you are thinking about, but the whole thing is
worth watching)
2. Andrea diSessa's book "Changing Minds: Computers, Learning, and Literacy
<https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/changing-minds>"

Though not directly related, I'll also recommend Walter Ong's "Orality and
Literacy: the Technologizing of the Word
<https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/164515.Orality_and_Literacy>". While
this doesn't deal with computing directly, it *does* grapple with the
earlier and perhaps more general idea of a medium enabling new kinds of
thought that would have been previously "unthinkable" (or at the very least
extremely difficult) without it. In this case the medium/technology is
reading and writing. But, as perhaps Papert, Kay, and diSessa might have
argued, this same principle could extend into computing, particularly when
it comes to internalizing difficult concepts we associate with math.

On Thu, Oct 8, 2020 at 3:51 PM Bo An <bo.an at yale.edu> wrote:

> Hi Paul,
>
> I second Morgan Ames's book and articles. For pre-GUI, here are some
> historical and cultural studies about figures like Andrey Ershov (second
> literacy) and Seymour Papert (LOGO) that might be helpful:
>
> Afinogenov, Gregory. “Andrei Ershov and the Soviet Information Age.” *Kritika:
> Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History* 14 (June 1, 2013): 561–84.
> https://doi.org/10.1353/kri.2013.0046.
>
> Agalianos, Angelos S. “A Cultural Studies Analysis of Logo in Education.,”
> 1997. http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/10018887/7/Agalianos%2C%20Angelos%20S.pdf
> .
>
> Lachney, Michael, and Ellen K. Foster. “Historicizing Making and Doing:
> Seymour Papert, Sherry Turkle, and Epistemological Foundations of the Maker
> Movement.” *History and Technology* 36, no. 1 (January 2, 2020): 54–82.
> https://doi.org/10.1080/07341512.2020.1759302.
>
> Margarita Boenig-Liptsin. “Making Citizens of the Information Age: A
> Comparative Study of the First Computer Literacy Programs for Children in
> the United States, France, and the Soviet Union, 1970-1990.” Accessed
> August 14, 2020.
> https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/23845438/BOENIG-LIPTSIN-DISSERTATION-2015.pdf?sequence=8
> .
>
> Tatarchenko, Ksenia. “Thinking AlgorithmicallyFrom Cold War Computer
> Science to the Socialist Information Culture.” *Historical Studies in the
> Natural Sciences* 49, no. 2 (April 1, 2019): 194–225.
> https://doi.org/10.1525/hsns.2019.49.2.194.
>
> Best,
> Bo An
>
>
> On Thu, Oct 8, 2020 at 9:08 PM Fred Turner <fturner at stanford.edu> wrote:
>
>> Hi Paul,
>>
>> One starting place might be Morgan Ames’ book The Charisma Machine: The
>> Life, Death, and Legacy of One Laptop Per Child. Lots in there about how
>> folks learn to compute post-GUIs.
>>
>> Best,
>> Fred Turner
>>
>> On Oct 8, 2020, at 11:56 AM, Paul Fishwick <metaphorz at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> There is a topic that has interested me, but I have been unable to make
>> much headway in
>> past years since I am not sure where to look.
>>
>> Consider that Kathy, an 8th grade student, knows more about how to use a
>> computer than
>> her parents, who may know more than her grandparents. When learning to
>> use digital
>> technology artifacts such as “menu”, education is imparted on Kathy. She
>> learns something
>> about tree structures, and possibly finite state machines (FSMs). This is
>> done invisibly because
>> she did not have to learn discrete mathematics and automata theory to use
>> the computer.
>>
>> One hypothesis that all technology is this way. We use technology and
>> technology
>> uses us (by invisibly transferring new mental models). The introduction of
>> the mechanical clock changed how we conceptualize time. Fast forwarding
>> to digital
>> technology, Kathy must have conceptualized trees and FSMs as mental
>> models even
>> though this theory was not made explicit.
>>
>> My searches have taken me to psychology (where the dominant discourse is
>> about
>> dysfunction where technology is concerned), history of technology as well
>> as the history
>> of science. This relates to math and computer science education
>> too—teaching FSMs to
>> people through implicit means. Learning something without knowing that
>> your learning
>> it.
>>
>> If anyone on this list has a good place for me to dive, let me know.
>>
>> -paul
>>
>> Paul Fishwick, PhD
>> Distinguished University Chair of Arts, Technology, and Emerging
>> Communication
>> Professor of Computer Science
>> Director, Creative Automata Laboratory
>> The University of Texas at Dallas
>> Arts & Technology
>> 800 West Campbell Road, AT10
>> Richardson, TX 75080-3021
>> Home: utdallas.edu/atec/fishwick
>> Media: medium.com/@metaphorz
>> Modeling: digest.sigsim.org
>> Twitter: @PaulFishwick
>> ONLINE: Webex,Collaborate, TEAMS, Zoom, Skype, Hangout
>>
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-- 
Eric
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