Bootstrap: Programming Videogames with Algebra

13 May
Tuesday, 05/13/2014 8:00am to 9:00am

Emmanuel Schanzer

Computer Science Building, Room 151

Faculty Host: Arjun Guha

Many people naively assume that "Programming is like Math", and expect magically higher grades from students who've taken a class in Java, Scratch or Python. Unfortunately, this assumption is far from accurate. In a world of high-stakes testing, we can no longer pretend the word "function" means the same thing to algebra teachers and programmers. If we truly wish to help students in algebra, we need to re-think the foundations of what programming we teach. In this talk, Emmanuel will explore the literature and current research in the field of algebra education and programming. He will also introduce Bootstrap, a standards-based curriculum that teaches students to program their own video games using purely algebraic and geometric concepts. Find out how teachers, college students and professionals are getting involved with Bootstrap, to bring functional programming to middle and high school students around the country.


Bio: Emmanuel Schanzer is a former computer scientist and math teacher, and is now a doctoral student at Harvard specializing in Algebra Education. He is the founder of Bootstrap, a national program that teaches hundreds of students each year to program their own videogames using an algebraic programming language. Since 2006, Bootstrap has successfully engaged an army of teachers, a half-dozen colleges and universities, and won support from organizations like the Computer Science Teachers Association, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and the National Science Foundation. He cooks, codes, travels and mixes a mean old fashioned.