An Introduction to Computational Reasoning

The Graphic Novel Version

And to prove the point, what if if I told you that our first activity is going to be to learn to western swing dance? This is the Lindy Hop....

Welcome to the first day of "Introduction to Computational Thinking." Today's lesson is called "THINK SLOWLY."
But, wait, isn't it all about speed, right? Computers are FAST! We measure their speed in "FLOPs" - floating point operations (think decimal multiplication) and our phones can do  trillions per second!

And fast means smart, doesn't it?  Remember in school how the techie whiz kids were always the ones whose hands darted up almost before the teacher even finished asking a question?

So what do I mean when I say that the first lesson of computational thinking is called "THINK SLOW"?!?!  The point is that even when it happens fast, computation is a step by step process. And we humans have to slow things down if we are to see the steps clearly.

I don't know about you, but there's no way I could do that. It's just too much, too fast.

But what if we slow it down?

What I need, I think, is to slow it down even more and start diagramming the steps. Or maybe a quick guest lecture would help....

Notice how much more you can see when you slow the dance down?  We start to see the steps and moves. The Lindy Hop is sequence of steps.  For me, though, even this level of slowing down is not going to get me on the dance floor, but we are moving in the right direction.

Click to watch this video

Watch "LindyBeige" really slow it down in this YouTube tutorial.

What LindyBeige did for us was to slow things down and break the dance into its smallest parts
- "rock-step," "step-hold," and "walk-walk."
Each of these "dance atoms" is understandable
and describable and learnable.  And they can be assembled into the more complex dance.  Any of us can do the Lindy Hop, but we need it spelled out. We have to watch and think slowly about a process in order to generate the instructions we need to follow as a beginner.