Computational Thinking in Jupyter

I think teaching is best done through stories. For computational thinking these stories are best told in the notebook format. This was introduced by a number of folks, in by opinion most notably by Steven Wolfram in Mathematica. Such a notebook format is also available for use with python programming. Called Jupyter, it is available from a number of sources. I use the Anaconda implementation. It is also available online in a form that facilitates collaboration. This web based application, CoCalc, is also very useful as a teaching environment. I also recommend looking at sagemath.

The first question is, “What is computational thinking?”

And here is another attempt to display information from a CoCalc page. This is supposed to be a whiteboard presentation. Here is a code page from CoCalc. They will both run. They open as a static page, but if you ‘click’ on edit, you are given the option to create an anonymous account from which you can then run the code. Therefore, I can use Jupyter pages and whiteboard pages to show you my progress in learning Computational Thinking and how it relates to various disciplines.

AFM in education

We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.

Galileo Galilei

I am thinking of how the AFMWorkshop AFM could assist in Physics education. As I reflect on my five years of teaching first year physics, any new topic must support the instruction of basic classical physics. For many students this is a new experience. Some students have seen science and math as a string of facts and formulae to be memorized. It is a new concept that science is a process by which facts are questioned and that math (and now computational thinking) are tools for that exploration. Science is about questions.

The goal, then, is to explore how this AFM can assist in the explanation of classical physics topics. How can it make the explanations of oscillations and of optics more interesting? How does electronics help in the exploration of classical phenomena? The AFM operates at the boundary of classical and atomic physics; how does that help the segue from classical to modern physics?

“What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” – Werner Heisenberg