by Juan Domingo , Investigador TIC, Conferenciasta Internacional at investigador ..
Conferencia magistral del Congreso Internacional #CICOM2014 en Acapulco (México) por el Dr. Juan Domingo Farnós Días 2-3-4 (leer más...)
Fuente: [ slideshare de Juan domingo]
During one of my most recent visits to a retail cellular store to browse through the newest mobile technology, I wasn’t surprised too surprised to see a three-year-old rifling through his mother’s cell phone, then quickly giving that up to play with one of the new tablets on the showroom floor. The place was as familiar to him as his favorite story or coloring book.
Today’s children are embracing technology at even younger ages so it only makes sense that educational institutions should follow suit. Students are enjoying the many benefits afforded to them with the use of this newer learning method.
Over the past few years, blended learning has become one of the most popular choices amongst students. Not only do they offer the flexibility of an online course, but students also have the opportunity to participate in a face-to-face classroom experience. In short, blended courses could just be the best solution to addressing the needs of not only students, but faculty and the institutions as well.
Here are four different models that are being successfully implemented in classrooms across the country.
- Rotation: Students rotate between online and face-to-face instruction in school.
- Flex: Still attending traditional classrooms daily, students divide their time between online and teacher driven studies in school.
- Ala Carte: Taking one or more online courses in their entirety, students continue to attend to their traditional classroom studies.
- Enriched: Students divide their time between school and home with their courses.
From the viewpoint of the administrator, having different choices available to them for their curriculums is beneficial for them. What are some of the other benefits that our children and their teachers are embracing using this new technology?
- MORE ENGAGING – During the stone age when I attended school, we were always excited to see a movie projector in the classroom with the big, white screen pulled down in front of the chalkboard. Students must feel the same way today given the choice between a computer screen and a thick textbook.
- MORE REWARDING – The diversification available when adding the world wide web into the equation for the classroom is more rewarding for the students. They are no longer limited with what is only accessible inside the walls of their classrooms.
- MORE PREPARED – With the rapid rate of today’s growing technology, we would be failing our children if we were not preparing them for the future. Students will be better equipped for the workplace when they are using the tools most commonly found there.
- MORE TIME – Instructors will have more time when the students are implementing the use of blended learning. Whether students are at home researching for a report on the internet or in the classroom taking a quiz online, teachers will be free for other tasks.
- MORE FUN – Not that the classroom should be all fun and games, but students will learn better and more effectively when they are happily engaged with the material using today’s technology rather than having their nose buried in a textbook. Using a computer or the internet is simply more fun than traditional teaching methods.
In contrast, it wasn’t that long ago that teachers were banning the use of cellphones in the classroom since it was such a distraction. While that still may be true today, many students along with their teachers are employing the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) concept. Along with their books, most are now carrying their laptops and tablets to school with them.
Making this transition is important for both our educators and our students. Since children are our future, they should be given the best tools possible to face and conquer what tomorrow brings.
Dave Landry Jr. is an online journalist with a passion for business. In addition to sharing his advice with those who seek financial help, he enjoys writing about effective business communications, VoIP and virtual technology, and the process of globalization. You can find more of his writing by connecting with him on Twitter.
Working in software development, be it for the desktop, web, mobile or any combination of the three, one often feels like he is in a unique line of work made possible by the 20th century technology, without obvious parallels to other professions. Is that really the case though, or are there commonalities with other fields and valuable lessons that other professions can teach us?
Programmers and artists
Our first attempt at an answer might seem a little surprising. Paul Graham, a famous venture capitalist, entrepreneur and hacker, is of the opinion that programming is analogous to painting, and has even devoted an essay (and then a whole book of his, titled “Hackers and Painters”), to exploring this supposed similarity.
[O]f all the different types of people I’ve known, hackers and painters are among the most alike. What hackers and painters have in common is that they’re both makers.”
Graham is alluding here to the creative aspect of programming (“hacking”), as opposed to tedious enterprise code crunching. But he’s also using a restricted definition of what painting evolves, based on his experience with the more structured 15th century painting techniques he was taught at Florence’s art school. If one considers the free form spontaneous painting of the surrealists, abstract art, etc, the similarities are not so apparent anymore. (You obviously can’t “Jackson Pollock” your way into a working program).
Maciej Cegłowski, a fellow hacker and entrepreneur (creator of the Pinboard web service) calls Paul Graham on that, in a rather entertaining essay:
The fatuousness of the parallel becomes obvious if you think for five seconds about what computer programmers and painters actually do. Computer programmers cause a machine to perform a sequence of transformations on electronically stored data. Painters apply colored goo to cloth using animal hairs tied to a stick.
I’d say, while programming (or hacking, if you prefer) has a creative element, considering it a fully creative endeavor is perhaps ignoring the very pragmatic constraints programmers have to work with, which are nothing like purely aesthetic considerations.
As for the “code is poetry” notion, well, source code might be beautiful in its own way, but it sure doesn’t rhyme and it doesn’t express our “deepest feelings” (except maybe if we’re androids). Plus, it has to pass strict syntax checks, something e.e cummings’s poems never had to.
Programmers and Mathematicians
The analogy to mathematics is probably easier to make. After all the first “programmers”, people from Babbage to Turing, were actually mathematicians in trade, and the greats of computer science, from Edsger W. Dijkstra to Donald Knuth all stressed the importance of a solid mathematical background.
Then again mathematical logic seems too abstract whereas programming deals with all kind of pragmatic constraints (not to mention business considerations). Mathematicians can afford to live in an ivory tower in a way that professional programmers cannot.
We could perhaps compare programming to “applied mathematics”, a kind of watered down, practical application of pure theory. It would be an apt comparison too, if it wasn’t for the fact that most practicing programmers seldom have to delve into deeper math than the occasional first degree equation or simple trigonometry.
There are, of course, hard and complex mathematical concepts and algorithms behind almost every program, but in most cases they are hidden in libraries, APIs, compilers and OSes, and the average programmer does not have to concern himself with them (scientific computing and gaming being two major exceptions).
Programmers and engineers
Engineering is another obvious parallel for programming. Both professions construct things, both have to deal practical and business considerations, both involve a certain amount of creativity and expression, and both are underpinned by mathematics.
In real life, though, the analogy breaks down, to the point that there’s a common lament in programming circles that programming is not more like engineering.
Programming projects, you see, are commonly delayed (often 2 or 3 times over the defined schedule), and are often delivered in a bad or even unusable state (crashing, taking too much time to perform certain actions, freezing, etc). That’s totally unlike the situation in civic engineering, where any engineering team can design and build something as large as a skyscraper or a bridge and deliver it flawlessly and on time.
The problem is perhaps that programming is far less well defined than engineering, with far too many unknowns and far too many interactions between components and external systems. That is, engineering is more like complex lego building ― components are standardized to fit together and have well specified properties (plasticity, weight, hardness, etc), whereas programming is more ad-hoc and (despite the existence of libraries and frameworks) every program has more or less to be built, analyzed and checked from scratch.
Programmers and everybody else
We explored a few commonly put forward analogies between programmers and other professions, none of which felt perfectly satisfactory.
We do have our own idea to propose though ― that programming is not like any of those professions because it’s like all of them, and many more besides.
That is, programming is a malleable profession, or if you prefer, a cross-disciplinary field.
When we design our e-learning products, we are programmers AND educators at the same time. We have to understand teaching, students, courses, and a myriad of learning-related concepts and constraints. You cannot deliver a good e-learning program unless it’s both good as a program (fast, solid, stable, etc) and as an e-learning tool (satisfying educational use and needs).
Similarly, when working in something like multimedia or games, you have to be both a programmer and an artist. Other such cases are even easier to make: scientific computing obviously takes its inspiration from whatever scientific field the programmer works in (biology, astrology, physics, statistics, etc).
So here you have it: programming is an all encompassing, shape-shifting profession, because it potentially concerns all aspects of human activity. And we, programmers, are lucky to be able to dabble in all kinds of other professions, and become, if only for one software project, part-time physicists, mathematicians, artists, biologists, accountants, writers, educators, …