These pages represent my research work on computers, learning and new media. I am currently starting my own company. From 2010 to 2014, I was a faculty member in the Department of Educational Technology at Saarland University. From 2007 to 2010, I was a research fellow at the Open University, working on the ShareIT project. Before that, I completed a PhD in Computer Science at Georgia Tech.
Reflections on ACM1
I had the good fortune of helping out the Squeak Team by demoing how GaTech is using Squeak at the University level. I mainly demoed Audio Explorer and Squeak/E-toy. Several members of Squeak Central gave talks during the day. John talked about StarSqueak (a port of *Logo to Squeak) and sound support. Ted Kaehler had an awesome active essay on evolution using the new scripting capabilities of Squeak. BJ and Naala gave great overviews how they were using E-toys in elementary and middle school, respectively. I don't remember other demos, except that Dan and Scott did E-toy demos. Us GaTechers (Lex, Colleen, and I) talked a bit about Cs2340 and Swikis. There wasn't much attendance, but it worked.
Alan's keynoteIt was very cool; I need to be able to give talks like that. Squeak is great for giving talks, because you can really demonstrate your ideas and not just state them.
The good take-aways were these:
I have to disagree with Alan on the "the computer revolution has not happened yet" point; or maybe I'm not really disagreeing. If Thomas Paine's Common Sense was an artifact of the printing-press revolution, then there are already several artifacts that computing has produced that are revolutionary. The first is GNU/Linux. If we believe that "only engineers create wealth and the rest only move it about," then GNU/Linux is a cry for liberation for engineers from the others. The second is Napster. Though in the end, Napster will probably be just a footnote in computing history, it and future programs like it will fundamentally change the way government works today. Copyright laws will have to be reexamined. Business practices will have to be changed. If that change is what Alan is referring to with "revolution," then it hasn't happened yet. But, we are already seeing the beginning, the first stones thrown in the computing revolution.
Bill Buxton spoke after Alan. I thought many of his points were fundamentally flawed.
Some personal take-aways...First, several people really dug Audio Explorer. It was really nice getting to demo to people who had the background to understand what was going on and give me feedback. Don Lewis was amazed. Doreen Nelson said that Architecture is frozen music. Cool.
Second, learning is identity. The learning problem (how do you get people to learn things) is also at least 80% about identity.
In the future...