BXV Elementary School Coding Workshops

Last Thursday, the BVX Girls Coding Club organized an afterschool activity for second to fifth graders with the hope of creating more interest in STEM subjects, particularly with girls. With seven types of workshops, the elementary schoolers were encouraged to combine both programming and engineering concepts in their workshops. For example, the LittleBits station, which simulated a circuit formed of electronic building blocks, or the Makey-Makey station, which encouraged creativity by connecting common objects to computer programs. Younger students worked with Cubetto and Dash & Dot, two robots that demonstrate how computers (in this case the robots) took commands that were written into a program (which the students accomplished through basic block based coding). Exposure to such activities left the students excited to learn more, both on their own and in their technology classes. Continue reading “BXV Elementary School Coding Workshops”


Wolfram Language

Stephen Wolfram is a British scientist who won a MacArthur “genius grant” when he was only 22 years old. He claims that his project which he had been working on for more than twenty years, the Wolfram Language, “knows about the world” and can make the world computable. Even before he released the Wolfram Language to the public, he used this language as the basis of Mathematica software.

The Wolfram Language is special because it has a very extensive knowledge base, and it enables the computer to analyze and manipulate information in very symbolic ways. The user can type in phrases that people would use in day-to-day lives such as “countries in South America”, and the computer would be able to understand it and pull the data for these countries in a list. Another example would be that this “language has a command called ‘CurrentImage’ that snaps a photo of you with your webcam”. This is a big advancement in the field of artificial intelligence.

The author of this article named “Can This New Programming Language Change The World?”,  David Auerbach, is a little angry and fearful of the idea that this computer language understands the world and can understand and respond to commands like humans do.  David Auerbach also claims that it is impossible to know that a language understands the world because even the language we speak do not understand the world– it is the people who use these languages who have the understanding of the world.

Auerbach also said that, “The only way its “model of the world” could be viable is if the Wolfram Language really did take over the entire planet, so that our everyday lives were constrained and dictated by its logic. This is evidently Wolfram’s goal, and I hope he never reaches it”.

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