It’s more mess than magic

Hour of Code assembly

I had a very special opportunity on Friday to run an assembly for all middle and upper school students at my school in celebration of Computer Science Education Week. Through the generosity of two people I consider both personal heroes and friends, and with the support of students and adults from all parts of the school, we managed to create a meaningful, memorable experience that we streamed online to share with the world. I invite you to watch the whole thing below or click on the time markers (0:00, 14:41, and 54:13) to skip to particular sections. Here’s what to watch for: 

0:00 We started by playing a game about friends, Friends, and connecting with each other. The activity involved two MaKey MaKeys, five days of game programming by my Computer Science 2 class, seven custom t-shirts designed by student volunteers in the makerspace, and 1,000 ft of wire. The activity culminated in 600+ students and teachers holding hands, smiling, and playing together.

FRIENDS human chains

14:41 – We began a Q&A session with Dr. AnnMarie Thomas and Dr. Eric Rosenbaum. We talked about curiosity, learning, self-expression, and technology. Some points to listen for:

  • Life, learning, and computer science are more mess than magic. (The 1,000 ft of wire strewn through the auditorium made that clear if the messages of the speakers did not.) Patience, curiosity, and a willingness to try again are the most useful tools to keep close by.
  • Few paths are linear, but the right mindset makes sure that the journey is worthwhile.
  • The most powerful learning experiences can happen in surprising places. Your grades are not your worth, and transformative learning can happen at any time.
  • Synesthesia, of senses and perhaps of academic disciplines, can provide us new ways to think and to explore the world around us. Maybe the things we think of as separate things shouldn’t be so separate.
  • The right questions and the right people will take you further than simply the right tools ever will.

Hanging out with AnnMarie

54:13 – I closed with a few themes to frame our thinking on computer science, powerful ideas, and inclusivity.

Watch the whole event below:


2 thoughts on “It’s more mess than magic

  1. What an incredible event it was for our community! Opened our minds to all sorts of new things. Your closing remarks and challenges of seeing where we can start to make the thousands of decisions that are made for us for ourselves because every voice has the right to be heard transferred straight to our classrooms afterwards.

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