Andrea A. diSessa
Professor, Graduate School of Education
University of California at Berkeley
This guest speaker is being hosted by a collaboration between CASTLE SMERC, SMS, and SoPA.
Seminar Title: Computational Literacy: The Very Idea
Abstract: My central claim is that achieving a new literacy with computation is the very best thing we can imagine for the future of computers and learning. That achievement will be transformative on par with the achievement of mass literacy for text; it will be fundamental to (future) society.
Then, I must fill in:
• What is “computational literacy”?
• What will it look like? Is there an existence proof?
• How can we conceive of its emergence? How can we nurture its advancement?
Finally, I’ll briefly look at a very visible competitor to the idea of computational literacy: computational thinking. I will argue that (1) the scientific basis for computational thinking is suspect, at best, and (2) while computational thinking has generated huge public visibility and funding, it is a detour best avoided on the track to achieving computational literacy.
Bio: Andrea diSessa holds degrees in physics from MIT (PhD) and Princeton (AB). He is a member of the National Academy of Education, a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and Corey Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley. His research centers on the role of intuitive knowledge in learning scientific concepts, and computational literacies. He is the prime designer of Boxer, a medium to support computational literacy. diSessa has authored over 100 articles and chapters and authored or edited seven volumes, including Changing Minds: Computers, Learning and Literacy, and Turtle Geometry: The Computer as a Medium for Exploring Mathematics.