Making + Computer Science

Making, maker culture is closely related to Computer Science.  There’s the obvious Arduino/Robotics connection where one makes physical objects that then need to be programmed, but I also think the approach is similar.  The way Computer Science is taught at the beginning levels, the point is to make something: an app, a web site, a program that does something.  There are a few other disciplines where this seems to be true: English (papers, stories, poems, etc.), Art (paintings, sculptures, photographs, etc.), Drama (plays, films, sets, etc.), Music (performances, compositions, etc.).  Other disciplines like Math, Science, Social Studies/History, and Languages don’t have an obvious maker connection, though I know plenty of people who do things in those classes that are maker like.  The difference, I think, is in attitude.  In the former disciplines, it seems, one has to make something in order to learn the subject.  English could be taught in a non-maker fashion (lecturing about books, grammar, etc.), but since about 1980, it hasn’t been.  Students are encourage to wrestle with books by making their own thing: a critical piece of writing, a fan fiction piece, a film, something.  I think English folks recognize that the discipline could be passive and so work to make it active.*

Likewise, art, drama, and music have obvious artifacts that need to be created in order to learn the subject.  CS is often lumped with math and science and I’ve often bristled at that a bit.  Yes, there’s a math underpinning to CS.  I’d call it applied math to a degree.  And certain areas of CS certainly have the observation and discovery elements of a science.  But, as I said at EdCamp STEAM, I often find myself more closely aligned with the creative disciplines like art.  I wish I had more of an artistic eye, visually, but I what I enjoy most about CS is the creative problem solving, finding a solution that *I* thought of and that maybe no one else has.  Isn’t that what making is all about?