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TEL Quality and Innovation: What can be learned from the history of computer science

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As TEL becomes more professionalised we consider what lessons can be learned from another discipline which has gone through a similar transition. Through the lense of the development of computer science this presentation will look at key moments in this area which might be used to inform or influence how we approach TEL quality and innovation. As part of this we will highlight the approaches adopted by early pioneers like Alan Kay whose attributed to defining the conceptual basics of laptop and tablet computers as part of his work in the 1970s on the Dynabook. Kay (2014) argues when creating future concepts the present inevitably takes all of our focus making anything we do incremental rather than inspirational. Kay’s suggests that by ignoring the present this opens us to the opportunity to take greater inspiration from the past allowing us to dream of a future not constrained by the present.

We also consider some of the cultures which have their origins in computer science including the ‘hacker’ subculture. Whilst the term ‘hacker’ has taken on a more sinister definition, referring to those subverting computer security, the original hacker communities founded by Richard Greenblatt and Bill Gosper in the 1960s were focused on the “intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming and circumventing limitations of systems to achieve novel and clever outcomes” - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_culture

Finally, we highlight a talk by Bret Victor on the future of programming we look at the reasons a number of innovations in computer science happened in the 50s/60s and the problems this creates for the next generation of programmers if they perceive the fundamentals are correct and continue to develop along these principles.

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TEL Quality and Innovation: What can be learned from the history of computer science

  1. 1. TEL Quality and Innovation: What can be learned from the history of computer science Martin Hawksey @mhawksey EdTech2018 – May 31st and June 1st 2018 TEL Quality Matters - People, Policies and Practices This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0. CC-BY mhawksey Slides go.alt.ac.uk/TELCompSci
  2. 2. John Bryne @mhawksey 2
  3. 3. ©Bret Victor 09-Jul-2013 https://vimeo.com/71278954 The Mother of All Demos
  4. 4. alt.ac.uk NLS oN-Line System: Firsts ◊ the computer mouse ◊ 2-dimensional display editing ◊ in-file object addressing, linking ◊ hypermedia ◊ outline processing ◊ flexible view control ◊ multiple windows ◊ cross-file editing ◊ integrated hypermedia email ◊ hypermedia publishing ◊ document version control ◊ shared-screen teleconferencing ◊ computer-aided meetings ◊ formatting directives ◊ context-sensitive help ◊ distributed client-server architecture ◊ uniform command syntax ◊ universal "user interface" front-end module ◊ multi-tool integration ◊ grammar-driven command language interpreter ◊ protocols for virtual terminals ◊ remote procedure call protocols ◊ compilable "Command Meta Language" @mhawksey 4
  5. 5. alt.ac.uk@mhawksey 5
  6. 6. alt.ac.uk@mhawksey 6 ©Alan Kay April 2014 https://youtu.be/gTAghAJcO1o
  7. 7. ©Thomas Hawk https://flic.kr/p/fiGngo Richard Greenblatt and Thomas Knight with the CADR LISP Machine at MIT 1978 Credit Line: Courtesy of MIT hackers individuals who enjoy the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming and circumventing limitations of systems to achieve novel and clever outcomes
  8. 8. 8©David Lofink https://flic.kr/p/7BX4hX “the most important things in history are really done by communities of people working together” – Alan Kay
  9. 9. 9 ©Martin Hawksey 25-Nov-2013 https://vimeo.com/80274717 https://vimeo.com/80274717
  10. 10. @mhawksey 10 "they didn’t know what they were doing, so they tried everything - Bret Victor Bret Victor https://vimeo.com/71278954
  11. 11. @mhawksey 11 "The most dangerous thought you can have as a creative person is to think you know what you're doing." - Richard Hamming Bret Victor https://vimeo.com/71278954
  12. 12. @mhawksey 12 "Knowledge is essential. Past ideas are essential. Knowledge and ideas that have coalesced into theory is one of the most beautiful creations of the human species." - Bret Victor Bret Victor https://vimeo.com/71278954
  13. 13. @mhawksey 13CC-BY-NC Alyson Hurt https://flic.kr/p/49v7KZ
  14. 14. alt.ac.uk Thank you! @mhawksey+MartinHawksey @mhawksey 14
  15. 15. Association for Learning Technology Registered charity number: 1160039 www.alt.ac.uk @A_L_T

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