Beyond Silence & Certainty: Computation as Experience

Click here to download the slides for my talk titled "Beyond Silence & Certainty: Computation as Experience" for the TELOTS Panel @ ICCE 2016, India.

The main argument for my talk is to urge the field of educational computing (researchers, in particular) to pay closer attention to the various forms of interpretive moves and subjectivities that constitute the "experience" of computation.

I refer to four papers in the slides. One I am still writing, but the three other papers can be found below:

Paper 1: Sengupta, P., & Shanahan, M.C. (2016). STEM as Public Computation and Boundary Play. In: Proceedings of the STEM 2016 Conference, Beijing, China. Download

Abstract: In this paper, we introduce “public computation” as a genre of learning environments that can be used to radically broaden public participation in authentic, computation-enabled STEM disciplinary practices. Our paradigmatic approach utilizes open source software designed for professional scientists, engineers and digital artists, and situates them in an undiluted form, alongside live and archived expert support, in a public space. We present case studies in DigiPlay, a prototypical public computation space we designed at the University of Calgary, where users can interact directly with scientific simulations as well as the underlying open source code using an array of massive multi-touch screens. We argue that in such a space, public interactions with the code can be thought of as “boundary work and play”, through which public participation becomes legitimate scientific act, as the public engages in the invention of novel scientific creation through truly open-ended explorations with pivotal elements of the code.

Paper 2: Farris, A.V., Dickes, A.C., & Sengupta, P. (2016). Development of Disciplined Interpretation Using Computational Modeling in the Elementary Science Classroom. In: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2016), pp 282 – 289. Download

Abstract: Studies of scientists building models show that the development of scientific models involves a great deal of subjectivity. However, science as experienced in school settings typically emphasizes an overly objective and rationalistic view. In this paper, we argue for focusing on the development of disciplined interpretation as an epistemic and representational practice that progressively deepens students' computational modeling in science by valuing, rather than deemphasizing, the subjective nature of the experience of modeling. We report results from a study in which fourth grade children engaged in computational modeling throughout the academic year. We present three salient themes that characterize the development of students' disciplined interpretations in terms of their development of computational modeling as a way of seeing and doing science.

Paper 3: Dickes, A.C., Farris, A.V., & Sengupta, P. (2016). Integrating Agent-based Programming with Elementary Science: The Role of Sociomathematical Norms. In: Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Computers in Education, pp 129 - 138. Download

Abstract: How can elementary grade teachers integrate programming and computational thinking with the science curriculum? To answer this question, we present results from a long-term, design-based, microgenetic study where 1) agent-based programming using ViMAP was integrated with existing elementary science curricula and 2) lessons were taught by the classroom teacher. We present an investigation of the co-development of children’s computational thinking and scientific modeling and show that the integration of programming with scientific modeling can be supported by the development of sociomathematical norms for designing “mathematically good” computational models.