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Fractal Simulations of African Design in Pre-College Computing Education

Fractal Simulations of African Design in Pre-College Computing Education Fractal Simulations of African Design in Pre-College Computing Education RON EGLASH, MUKKAI KRISHNAMOORTHY, and JASON SANCHEZ, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ANDREW WOODBRIDGE, Grover Cleveland High School This article describes the use of fractal simulations of African design in a high school computing class. Fractal patterns ”repetitions of shape at multiple scales ”are a common feature in many aspects of African design. In African architecture we often see circular houses grouped in circular complexes, or rectangular houses in rectangular complexes. Typically the accompanying ceremonies, cosmologies, and other traditions make use of scaling and recursion in their conceptual models. African scaling designs include textiles, sculpture, adornment, and other forms; in many cases there are explicit geometric algorithms and other formal aspects (e.g., pseudorandom number generation in divination systems) embedded in the associated indigenous knowledge system. Thus African fractals provide a strong counter to stereotypes of African culture as primitive or simplistic. Following this eldwork, we developed a Web site which uses Java simulations of these African designs to teach computational perspectives on fractals to high school students.1 We hypothesized that this combination of anti-primitivist œethnocomputing  and design-based creative learning would enhance both the engagement and performance of under-represented students in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE) Association for Computing Machinery

Fractal Simulations of African Design in Pre-College Computing Education

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Publisher
Association for Computing Machinery
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by ACM Inc.
ISSN
1946-6226
DOI
10.1145/2037276.2037281
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Fractal Simulations of African Design in Pre-College Computing Education RON EGLASH, MUKKAI KRISHNAMOORTHY, and JASON SANCHEZ, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ANDREW WOODBRIDGE, Grover Cleveland High School This article describes the use of fractal simulations of African design in a high school computing class. Fractal patterns ”repetitions of shape at multiple scales ”are a common feature in many aspects of African design. In African architecture we often see circular houses grouped in circular complexes, or rectangular houses in rectangular complexes. Typically the accompanying ceremonies, cosmologies, and other traditions make use of scaling and recursion in their conceptual models. African scaling designs include textiles, sculpture, adornment, and other forms; in many cases there are explicit geometric algorithms and other formal aspects (e.g., pseudorandom number generation in divination systems) embedded in the associated indigenous knowledge system. Thus African fractals provide a strong counter to stereotypes of African culture as primitive or simplistic. Following this eldwork, we developed a Web site which uses Java simulations of these African designs to teach computational perspectives on fractals to high school students.1 We hypothesized that this combination of anti-primitivist œethnocomputing  and design-based creative learning would enhance both the engagement and performance of under-represented students in

Journal

ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE)Association for Computing Machinery

Published: Oct 1, 2011

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