Culturally Relevant Computer Science

Schools across the country will launch AP Computer Science Principles. The course introduces students to the “foundational concepts of computer science and challenges them to explore how computing and technology can impact the world.” I’ve been asked to develop new curriculum and teach it to 11th and 12th graders next fall. The AP® Program advises that each individual school […]

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MIDI, Moog Fest & DIY Making

In a previous post I wrote about how much of Prince’s early 1980’s material featured heavy use of the LinnDrum, which was one of the first programmable MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) controllers. Throughout the last quarter of the academic year, BAA music majors have worked in the STEAM Lab on making their own electronic music instruments, using 3D […]

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Code Switching & Computer Science

The term code switching arose in linguistics, specifically referring to mixing languages and speech patterns in conversation. However, the term can be used more broadly to describe how many of us subtly, reflexively change the way we express ourselves in different situations or settings. We jump back and forth between different cultural and linguistic spaces and different parts of […]

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Dreamtime Virtual Reality: Culture & Cognition

Aboriginal Australians are the oldest continuous living culture on the planet ( Science, 2011), their being directly descended from the first people to leave Africa up to 75,000 years ago. Various projects aim to explore and preserve the oldest surviving culture in the world and to disseminate it globally. These efforts include developing First Peoples perspectives […]

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The Work of Art in the Age of Fabrication

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, an 1936 essay by German cultural critic Walter Benjamin has been influential across the humanities, especially in the fields of cultural studies, media theory, architectural theory, and art history. Benjamin argued that, in the absence of any traditional, ritualistic value, art in the age of mechanical reproduction would […]

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Channeling Prince to Teach STEAM

It wasn’t something that I planned. When the students showed up for their independent study session in the STEAM Lab, the task was to solder or join the leads (legs) from sixteen LED lights to a device called a Trellis, which is an LED/keypad controller. Weeks earlier, the students, music majors at Boston Arts Academy, told […]

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Digital Fabrication & ‘Making’: The Prince Memento

Every few decades or centuries, a new set of skills and intellectual activities become crucial for work, conviviality, and citizenship – often democratizing tasks and skills previously only accessible to experts. Digital fabrication and ‘making’ could be a new and major chapter in this process of bringing powerful ideas, literacies, and expressive tools to children. […]

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