April 2017
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Cognition and Linguistics

I see the study and development of computer languages as two sides of the same coin. A computer language should enable the programmer to express, clearly and concisely, an algorithmic intent. It should not burden the programmer with a particular model of computation, ex.

Cognition of Linguistics ————————–

In order that we express to […]

Why Grading Sucks

It’s not just that the student provided solutions are unexpectedly “creative” and don’t fit the designed rubric. Nor that they make you wonder “Why am I even trying?”. Nor that they invoke thoughts such as “How did we ever make it as a species?” and “Dear God, I hope this kid never writes the code […]

Don’t Fear the Mistakes

During teaching, there is a fascinating (and unfortunately common) problem: Students are VERY reluctant to suggest an answer, for fear that they might be wrong.

Salman Kahn, noticed this phenomenon after he started doing videos for his niece and nephew: (I’m paraphrasing) “The last thing they needed was for me to be there expecting an […]

Expert Tutors

Carl Wieman (who won a Nobel for deepening our understanding of Bose-Einstein condensation) lays out some of the important findings and methodology in his talk “Science Education in the 21st Century: Using the Tools of Science to Teach Science“. In that talk he outlines some of the important responsibilies of expert tutors:

Focus on the […]

Using Science to Teach Science

I’ve recently absorbed American RadioWorks feature on “Tomorrow’s College“. Especially interesting was the program “Don’t Lecture Me, where the story of some physicists gathered data about the learning and understand of their students, only to discover that the traditional lecture model of a knowledgeable expert disseminating information to a passive audience is ineffective.

Research […]

eXtreme Education: Cognitive programming

I read a few articles that I’d like to pull together and place under the growing umbrella of what might probably become my personal teaching philosophy. First, when you look at eXtreme Programming, it consists of a collection of reinforcing practices. I’m not going to review them here because I just want to highlight the […]

Minds from Agents

Recently, I came across this SEED article, Divide Midns, Specious Souls; which has this deliciously anti-religious, pro-science quote:

Within the wide range of works arranged along the axis of soulism, from Life After Death: The Evidence, by Dinesh D’Souza, to Absence of Mind, by Marilynne Robinson, it is clear there is very little understanding […]

Building Linguistic Structure

Yesterday, I had an interesting thought. My advisor once made the cultural observation that many people in Computer Science invent their own language and then immediately write a self-hosting compiler. I agree that a compiler is quite a feat of engineering and serves as a nice test case to demonstrate that the language you’ve invented […]

Thinking about Thinking

So far, in my reading of Minsky’s Society of Mind, his hypothesis, that the mind is an agglomeration of specialized agents working in conjunction with each other completely meshes with observations of my own behavior. In particular, I’ve noticed that when I get stuck thinking about a problem, I’ll endlessly repeat, in my head, the […]

Some Wisdom from Minsky

I was briefly reading Minsky’s Society of Mind and found these passages memorable.

The secret of what anything means to us depends on how we’ve connected it to all the other things we know. That’s why it’s almost always wrong to seek “the real meaning” of anything. A thing with just one meaning has […]