Unplugged//offline activities for tech concepts

(Vanessa) #1

@keithohara has some very excellent offline/unplugged activities for your classes that I highly recommend & share: http://blog.drablab.org/?p=1033

So we (Sven and I) hired two great Bard computer science students (Diana and Katie, that you absolutely must admit to your graduate program or hire) to materialize this vision into reality.

In the end, we decided on a two-pronged strategy: inside-of-class activities involving markup and networking, and outside-of-class aspirational/improvisational activities that focused on algorithms and applications. The in-class activities, led by the L&T faculty, connected with anthology readings of Borges and Bush: on the power and potential of branching narrative and associative knowledge. Students would create a series of webpages using jsbin which ultimately led to an HTML free-write. Our hope was that the L&T faculty would find this new found hypertext facility empowering and lead to great things: interactive fiction, hyper-linked anthologies, annotated bibliographies, and literature experiments.

An optional follow-up unplugged activity was meant to showcase the power of the hyper-link by physically simulating Google’s PageRank. After students randomly linked to their peers, these random networks were visualized (via yarn), reorganized and ranked via passing coins (physical wooden nickels, in our case) around the network. This simulation shows how Google’s PageRank authority attribution algorithm actually works. Links not only associate knowledge, but also attribute authority and power.

(Keith O'Hara) #2

Thanks of the unplug/plug. And last year we used github for this program: http://bardcollege.github.io/