Essentially, the Guardian article “Why there’s no such thing as a gifted child’ argues that what we think children are “good at” and what they later prove to be “good at” don’t necessarily coincide. A lot of the individuals we now label “genius” were late bloomers, the most famous example from the twentieth-century is … Albert Einstein.
The following are offered as actions to take to offset attention problems:
- Externalize important information at key points of
- Externalize time and time periods related to tasks
and important deadlines
- Break up lengthy tasks or ones spanning long
periods of time into many small steps
- Externalize sources of motivation
- Externalize mental problem-solving
- Replenish the SR Resource Pool (Willpower)
Sometimes it’s hard to explain the notion of simplicity in science as a principle for explaining things. Then someone sends you a link, and you have a visualization of the difference between trying to explain the solar system being geocentric, very complicated, and the solar system being heliocentric, very simple.
JSTOR’s [Research Basics] “contains 3 modules. Each module has 3 lessons. Lessons are made up of video lectures followed by practice activities. After completing all 3 lessons in a module, students may take a quiz, get feedback and a score, and earn a badge on completion of the module.”
If you’re student of mine, do it.
[Research Basics]: http://researchbasics.jstor.org
I am working on a “girl games camp” as a possible summer activity. I was drawn to it both because I am interested in coding myself and I want to get my own child interested in coding and because I have been disappointed by the relative indifference her school has had in engaging girls in general on the topic of coding.
So I can complain or I can do something. I choose *do*.
For those interested, I had planned a larger project that included each person building their own Raspberry Pi computer and then loading it with a Linux distro and working with plain text files, but, as you might have guessed, that seemed a little overly ambitious as well as, in some fashion, putting the cart before the horse. I want to get participants interested in coding, not necessarily getting them coding — and I think setting someone the task of editing config files in Linux is the wrong place to start. (I know, I once tried to start that way myself.)
The overall idea for this camp/experience is to get participants to design and develop their own text adventure game. I confess I am inspired by a wide range of recent games that, it seems to me, don’t stray too far from the early text-only games but use either very simple graphics, like Kentucky Route Zero, or use audio for immersion. I am especially blown away by the live-action game, [Door in the Dark], which hoods participants who then walk through, quite literally, a sound stage.
One of the things I would like to be foundational to the experience is to have participants working on the same file at the same time — the *wow* factor here is pretty intense and I think it really emphasizes the power of collaboration. The simplest approach seems to be [Stypi]. It looks like I could sign up and then simply provide a URL for participants to use. There’s also FlooBits, but they appear only to offer public spaces with the free plan, and while I’m fairly certain that would be just fine, I don’t know that I want to subject these particular participants to any externalities.
What I want them working on, of course, is code for a text adventure game. Everyone seems to agree that [Inform] is the way to go, which describes itself thusly: “Inform is a design system for interactive fiction based on natural language. It is a radical reinvention of the way interactive fiction is designed, guided by contemporary work in semantics and by the practical experience of some of the world’s best-known writers of IF.” So, not text adventure but interactive fiction.
Some things I have noted for this project:
* [The Verge] has a story on some of the early interactive games on CD-ROM focusing on some runaway hits made by women developers that have been lost to the larger history of “computer/video games” — I wish I knew the proper name for this genre.
* On the topic of games, especially alternative games, Zoe Quinn has a post on BoingBoing on [Punk Games].
[Door in the Dark]: http://www.theverge.com/2015/4/23/8477893/door-into-the-dark-anagram-interactive-art-tribeca-film-festival
[The Verge]: http://www.theverge.com/2015/4/17/8436439/theresa-duncan-chop-suey-cd-rom-preservation
[Punk Games]: http://boingboing.net/2015/03/16/punk-games.html
A paper published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest has evaluated ten techniques for improving learning, ranging from mnemonics to highlighting and offers some conclusions. [BigThink’s coverage](http://bigthink.com/neurobonkers/assessing-the-evidence-for-the-one-thing-you-never-get-taught-in-school-how-to-learn).