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Updates: June 16 - August 12, 2021 - Lara L. Schenck

Updates: June 16 – August 12, 2021

It’s only going to be 95F today.

August 12, 2021:

I am watching Colleen Lewis‘s Youtube playlist, Physical Java Memory Models: A Notional Machine – loving these! Could a notional machine like this be implemented in paper and available by mail?

I especially liked this video about two variables referencing the same array, and that updating the array via one variable will also update it for the other one. This the same concept that requires the deep cloning of objects in JavaScript. PHP, on the other hand, automatically copies an object or array when it is assigned to a variable expect in a function argument, it is possible to pass a parameter by reference by adding an & in front of the value.

Here is the video – wish I found this a few years ago!

I’ll be attending ICER or, the ACM International Computing Education Research Conference, next week – I’m excited and a little apprehensive! I’m feeling a bit of pressure to rejoin Twitter as I make my way into a new community, but so far I have decided I will resist the urge.

The garden is a little out of control, specifically the tomato plants have grown much larger than expected and the morning glory is relentless. I’ve fallen behind on garden upkeep due to travel and other things, but it’s all good…just a little more like a jungle than most gardens. Here is a ridiculous photo of me with an overgrown scallion, for example.

White woman with messy hair in an overgrown garden holding up a very large scallion. The tree behind her has purple and white flowers.

July 16, 2021:

Is it possible to make a programming language that does not require a computer to be interpreted? Programming existed long before computers. Humans used to assume the role of computers, doesn’t it follow that a programming language could be designed where a human us the interpreter?

I watched this video of Rick Raemisch on The Colorado Solution: Stopping The Overuse of Solitary Confinement shared by friend/colleague Andre (follow him on Twitter!) – it’s just 20 minutes long and very much worth watching for all, in my opinion. I wonder if there could be coding classes in these prisons.

Also, an update on garden status:

July 12, 2021:

Discovered research about me! Rather, about people who learned programming through on-the-job web development. Turns out, self-taught web developers (at least in 2010) have great coverage of introductory computer science concepts. The paper is Learning on the Job: Characterizing the Programming Knowledge and Learning Strategies of Web Designers by Brian Dorn and Mark Guzdial – PDF here.

In other news, we have started to spec out what a correspondence coding course (e.g. a course available by mail to people in prison) available to Supreme Network Global members might look like. While there are definitely some educational resources available to incarcerated people, including university degrees of all levels, I haven’t found anything that teaches computing apart from Level, which looks really interesting (read more about their approach here).

July 8, 2021:

Created my CV. Current focus: reading research papers and sending/preparing to send emails.

July 3, 2021:

I am full steam ahead in my PhD path exploration, and I think I’ve finally nailed down a one sentence description of my interest in computing education research:

I am interested in “unplugged” CS learning materials such as embodied learning, analog games, and zines that are accessible to under-served adult communities, e.g. prisons, and how they can be used to teach vocational skills, e.g. web development.

June 31, 2021:

Back from vacation to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks – amazing! I took more photos than I usually take in a year.

Learning about program synthesis.

June 16, 2021:

I forgot to include this in the last Updates post – this month I did this online course, Mindfulness for Anxiety and Sleep by Tara Brach, that was recommended by my therapist. I thought it was really good, especially the concept of “feeding your demons”: the idea is that if you are kind to your demons and befriend them instead of fighting them or trying to erase them, then, over time, they will become your protectors.