For Tuesday’s mentorship session, we’ve been asked to answer four of ten or so questions from the teachers — reflections on our times at SFPC. Fortunately for me, I’d already taken a swing at two questions:
Now for the other two.
I would say the most memorable experiences, mostly from Ramsey Nasser’s Radical Computer Science and Zach Lieberman’s animation & algorithms classes, are those where something, anything (ok code mostly) is unmasked and made approachable, and therefore changeable, manipulable.
In the case of Radical Computer Science, this would be the assumptions underlying our code experiences and alternative approaches: esolangs, stack languages, LISPs, simple domain-specific languages, and then creating our own works with grammar systems and syntax trees. Digging down into the options for talking to machines, and thus considering our relationships with them, was super exciting and opens a lot of possible options for further work: finishing my d3 language, creating work with Clojurescript, designing better text editors, etc.
For animations and algorithms, not only was C++ (a ‘scary’ language! with pointers and things!) made approachable and awesome, but the simple approaches we can use to imply movement and sentience were brought to the surface too.
In both cases, things that once were mysterious and difficult turn out to be magic practicable by any one of us squishy machines. This fact was presented by both Zach and Ramsey with such excitement and conviction, I can’t imagine not being swept along. Loved it.
Apparently I also learned how to best ask questions.
And that’s it.