3/12: Digital Media/Microworlds II

Please post a question as a comment below. Preferably on the Resnick book, but if something strikes your fancy about the Dewdney and Ride book, have at it.

Also, be sure you have finished stage 4 of the Scratch 2.0 book in preparation for a short presentation on what you learned while programming Scratchy v. The Hack Attack.



  1. Resnick mentions the combination of random fluctuations plus positive feedback underlies many everyday phenomenas such as synchronized clapping. I found this extremely interesting because how do we all begin clapping in the same tempo without a conductor leading us? How does randomness play an organizing role in our daily lives?

  2. Resnick argues that different people find different approaches of learning more accessible than others. In relation to the turtle geometry he states, “Some people might find the traditional Euclidean approach intuitive and accessible, others might prefer turtle geometry, still others might connect more easily with the new StarLogo turtle geometry” (103). He indicates the importance of learning through multiple learning styles for concepts such as geometry, however I feel this philosophy is rarely executed in schools. In what ways would such a learning philosophy be implemented for other subject matters?

  3. What is knowledge in the information age? Is our Knowledge skewed because we are bombard with numerous, and often conflicting information?

  4. The Digital Media Handbook states that “Code has been a broader way of thinking about communications throughout the 20th century” do you think that code will become a second language to most people as the years progress? and if that happens do you think that the digital based interactions will surpass human interactions?

  5. On page 114, Resnick discusses the tree growing program that he developed. “With this approach, the tree is drawn in a more ‘natural’ way-more like the way real trees grow, and more like the way people are likely to think about trees growing”. Can programming ever be natural? Doesn’t the human manipulation and control replace any hope that programs would be completely organic?

    1. I think the key word there is “MORE ‘natural'”. There is a certain degree of patterns within nature that can be simulated–that’s what allows science to work. In the SMC physics pamphlet, there’s a quote that says: “There is a rhythm and a pattern between the phenomena of nature which is not apparent to the eye, but only to the eye of analysis; and it is these rhythms which we call Physical Laws.”
      – Richard Feynman
      An example of numbers and patterns within nature is the Fibonacci sequence (which these 3 videos give a cool introduction to the fact that many spiral-y things follow them
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahXIMUkSXX0 )
      It’s true that we as humans cannot simulate the entire universe with all of its laws of physics, chemistry, biology, and psychology… but we can simulate parts of it if we simplify to understand how the more complex parts work on a conceptual level.
      So can we copy nature perfectly? No. Can we mimic it somewhat? Absolutely.

  6. As an add-on question to Haley’s question: because there are a lot of unaccounted-for variables in nature, is there a way to know when a simulation is “good enough”?

    Context: I’m thinking about how some physics assume that there are only 2 particles in the universe that can attract one another, but in reality there are many, many more. A similar example within the text is how the forest fire turtle simulation doesn’t account for wind. Is it still a “good” simulation?)

  7. Has the advancement of technology over the years made the natural selection process within computer programs gotten more flexible or harsher?

  8. what factors influence the natural selection process through the advancement of technology? And have we found a way to manipulate it for our benefits?

  9. The Resnick book talks about the Ripple Effect, which causes occasional problems. How can this be accounted for when making calculations?

  10. Why is curation important today? What do stories benefit from story curated photos? (Media Handbook ch. 17)

  11. As technology is being used more and more these days to get easy answers to questions, will there be a part of our brains that will loose the ability to look for knowledge in different forms? Also, because the internet can give us so many answers to one question, how will we know what is a legit piece of information to scholarly once the internet becomes our main source of information?

  12. Is modern technology something that can always be used to benefit one in the western culture? I believe modern technoloy is very beneficial but I also believe in order for it to be beneficial one must know how to operate and use the technology of the modern age.

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