**From Alien Incantations To Understanding**

Google sponsors aÂ courseÂ by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) calledÂ

*Introduction to Computational Thinking for Every Educator.*From the description:

Computational thinking (CT) is an essential skill for students and educators alike. This systematic approach to solving problems is at the foundation of not just computer science, but many other subject areas â and careers â as wellâŚThrough this course, youâll increase your awareness of CT, experiment with CT-integrated activities for the subject areas you teach, and create a plan to incorporate CT into your curricula.

**Iâm not steeped in educational pedagogy, soâŚ**

Iâm taking liberties when I say computational thinking is a sub-category of what Iâd just call ârigorous thinkingâ. One of the defining attributes of said rigor is being methodical in your thought process. The code, the argument, the theoretical price, the ruling â they should all be laid out in steps that lend themselves to debugging. From this perspective, good writing is as much a child of rigorous thinking as computation is.

The merit of such thinking shouldnât need much support. You are able to read this on a phone or computer because ingenuity employs rigor. But if your day job isnât in a STEM field you may think itâs impertinent. Judging from the sludge that spills from the mouths of politicians or partisan hacks (and then gets repackaged into memes), itâs pretty clear their reasoning brains are intentionally shut off out of convenience. Theyâre hacking humans, not computers. And the nature of success means there are enough blind squirrels finding nuts that one might conclude vision is overrated.

But if you care about calibration and making decisions with a tighter link between input and output (life is such that it will never be as tight as the artificial world we grow up in where grades dictate your ârankingâ) rigorous or computational thinking is a useful skill. If anything, to help neutralize bullshit.

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*Place Value As Soulcraft*Â Montessori advocate Matt Bateman writes:Interestingly, in Montessori math,Â the target of mastery is decimal place value. The whole Montessori math curriculum is geared towards developing a cognitive, habitual, almostÂ physical understanding thatÂ going past 9 means that something changes (similar to Alpha math emphasis on physical).Â Is your mind made of routines that are alien incantations that you mysteriously âworkâ? Or is it understood, made up of independently cognized algorithms, which you can mull and interrelate, and in which you have earned confidence? It matters for your relationship with the world, a world that is increasingly mathematical. Even if your lifeâs work isnât particularly mathematical, being alienated from math means being alienated from progress. Montessori writes of the increasing importance of math, in a passage that could have been written today:Mathematics are necessary because intelligence today is no longer natural but mathematical, and without developing an education in mathematics it is impossible to understand or take any part in the special forms of progress characteristic of our times period a person without mathematical training today is like in illiterate in the times when everything depended on literary culture. But even in the natural state human mind has a mathematical bent, tending to be exact, to take measurements and make comparisons, and to use its limited powers to discover the nature of the various âeffectsâ that nature presents to man while she conceals from him the world of causes.It matters for your soul. Math is the realm of precision, exactitude, quantity, measurement, and logic.Â If thatâs the realm youâve populated with secondhand incantations, that will invariably transfer to areas of life in which those things are cognate.Â (Which is every area.) The exactitude of the mind, the quality of judgment of the mind, and the independence of the mind are interrelated. Montessori again:When you say âThere goes a man of vague mentality. He is clever but indefinite,â youâre hinting at a mind with plenty of ideas, but lacking in the clarity which comes from order period of another you might say, âHe has a mind like a map. His judgments will be soundâ in our work, therefore, we have given a name to this part of the mind, which is built up with exactitude, and we call it âthe mathematical mind.â

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I love the expression âalien incantationsââŚbut as Bateman asks:

*Is your mind made of routines that are alien incantations that you mysteriously âworkâ? Or is it understood, made up of independently cognized algorithms, which you can mull and interrelate, and in which you have earned confidence?*

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This collection re-indexes my writing to help you think better.

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