Commanding Chaos for Coworking, Open Source and Creative Communities

Workshops teach programming with offline, playful approach (Wired UK)

Fri, 07/27/2012 - 16:22 -- rprice

The course is designed to help creative people visualise what's going on inside a computer by touching and physically moving items around. This helps to demystify computing and let people realise that "everything a computer does is either very dumb or a very smart implementation of what, as humans, we are able to do".

Participants are told to put their computers away -- the workshops feature no actual code, editor or screens. Instead, budding programmers are given pens, paper, tape, sweets, ping-pong balls, wooden boxes, cups and other common objects.

The sessions start with stories about numbers, and then onto simple tasks. After a few hours, the class is turned into a human representation of a program. Games involving boxes and ping-pong balls are used to teach students to represent quantities in optimised ways.