Mary Flanagan and Ken Perlin are presenting Rapunsel, a project where they’re getting 11-13 year old girls keen on computers by – with the girls – designing a system where the kids program animated characters to choreograph a dance. From the website:

If you’re a kid, showing and telling things to the smart pets that you share with your friends is very different from writing Java, Python or Logo. It is much more powerful, because it builds on innate social and perceptual skills. It is programming as a first language.

Quick notes made during the talk:
7% of programmers in the US are women. Middle school girls have the same kinds of test scores as boys but then they suddenly lose interest and fall behind. This project tries to help change this.

Women account for 43% of all computer gamers in 2004 (39% in 2003). Half of all game purchases are by women. 1/3 of Everquest players are women.

Make a game for 11-13 year old girls, employ them as design consultants.

Mary Flanagan, Ken Perlin, Andrea Hollingshead + students

Prior work: LOGO, Fluxus, happenings, conceptual art work. Wants to tell other narratives about how we create software (abacus, Babbage, Ada, Turing, ENIAC etc) and include conceptual art, say Yoko Ono’s instruction paintings – these are ways of thinking about programming in terms that don’t rely solely on maths.

everyday desires + technology = expression of a possible world (Deleuze, “a theory of the other”)

How do you bring together the culture of the hacker and the culture of the middle school? Especially in a culture that does not encourage group work. Peer programming has been popular with girls but this is not being used in instruction.

Leave A Comment

Recommended Posts

Triple book talk: Watch James Dobson, Jussi Parikka and me discuss our 2023 books

Thanks to everyone who came to the triple book talk of three recent books on machine vision by James Dobson, Jussi Parikka and me, and thanks for excellent questions. Several people have emailed to asked if we recorded it, and yes we did! Here you go! James and Jussi’s books […]

Image on a black background of a human hand holding a graphic showing the word AI with a blue circuit board pattern inside surrounded by blurred blue and yellow dots and a concentric circular blue design.
AI and algorithmic culture Machine Vision

Four visual registers for imaginaries of machine vision

I’m thrilled to announce another publication from our European Research Council (ERC)-funded research project on Machine Vision: Gabriele de Setaand Anya Shchetvina‘s paper analysing how Chinese AI companies visually present machine vision technologies. They find that the Chinese machine vision imaginary is global, blue and competitive.  De Seta, Gabriele, and Anya Shchetvina. “Imagining Machine […]

Do people flock to talks about ChatGPT because they are scared?

Whenever I give talks about ChatGPT and LLMs, whether to ninth graders, businesses or journalists, I meet people who are hungry for information, who really want to understand this new technology. I’ve interpreted this as interest and a need to understand – but yesterday, Eirik Solheim said that every time […]