Exploring Computational Thinking on Google

computational-thinkingGoogle is committed to promoting computational thinking throughout the K-12 curriculum to support student learning and expose everyone to this 21st century skill.

What is Computational Thinking? Computational thinking (CT) involves a set of problem-solving skills and techniques that software engineers use to write programs that underlie the computer applications you use such as search, email, and maps. Here are specific techniques.

  • Decomposition: When we taste an unfamiliar dish and identify several ingredients based on the flavor, we are decomposing that dish into its individual ingredients.
  • Pattern Recognition: People look for patterns in stock prices to decide when to buy and sell.
  • Pattern Generalization and Abstraction: A daily planner uses abstraction to represent a week in terms of days and hours, helping us to organize our time.
  • Algorithm Design: When a chef writes a recipe for a dish, she is creating an algorithm that others can follow to replicate the dish.

Google’s Coder Project for Raspberry Pi

 

From TheVerge is the report on a project that is something I am looking forward to having my advanced students load onto the Raspberry Pi’s I am ordering.

Hackers and educators love the Raspberry Pi, and at least a few people at Google do too. For a year, Google has provided funding to a UK program that trains teachers on how to use the small, inexpensive computers in classrooms. This week, Google introduced Coder, a free software download built by a team of Googlers in New York that turns the Raspberry Pi into a tiny server that can host basic web apps for those learning to code in HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Google says setting Coder up on the Raspberry Pi takes just ten minutes.

All you need to get started is a Raspberry Pi, of course, an SD card to store Coder, and a Wi-Fi connection. This being an open-sourced Google project, the software runs in the Chrome browser — what else would you expect? The entire code library is available on GitHub for experienced developers who want to edit to the software itself, rather than just use it to build stuff. Google says it built Coder to be used in programming projects from groups such as Codeacademy and Khan Academy. The software even includes a few web apps that users can get things started with, such as an eyeball that is animated to blink.

Immersion: A People-Centric View of your Email Life

What is Immersion?

It has been almost two decades since the beginning of the web. This means that the web is no longer just a technology of the present, but also, a record of our past.
Email, one of the original forms of social media, is even older than the web and contains a detailed description of our personal and professional history.

Immersion is an invitation to dive into the history of your email life in a platform that offers you the safety of knowing that you can always delete your data.

Just like a cubist painting, Immersion presents users with a number of different perspectives of their email data.
It provides a tool for self-reflection at a time where the zeitgeist is one of self-promotion.
It provides an artistic representation that exists only in the presence of the visitor.
It helps explore privacy by showing users data that they have already shared with others.
Finally, it presents users wanting to be more strategic with their professional interactions, with a map to plan more effectively who they connect with.

So Immersion is not about one thing. It’s about four. It’s about self-reflection, art, privacy and strategy. It’s about providing users with a number of different perspectives by leveraging on the fact that the web, and emails, are now an important part of our past.