A Shakespearean introduction to computational thinking
BardBots is a project in which students are introduced to key concepts in computational thinking via an unlikely combination: Shakespeare and robots. We believe that the distance between the humanities, the arts, and computer science is not as wide as it appears. The project emerged over a series of conversations where we started thinking creatively about computer science education: What does literary study teach us about computational thinking? What does robotics teach us about humanity? Are computational languages really just another kind of human language? The result is BardBots. Over the course of the project, students will work in groups to do the following:
- closely read a scene from Shakespeare
- plot stage directions for their scene
- program robots to “perform” the scenes
- complete Babble Logs (critical reflections about the relationship between human and computational languages)
BardBots is an introduction to computer science and digital humanities pedagogy unlike anything you have ever scene.
Driven by the belief that humanistic inquiry can complement and drive computational studies, we designed and piloted this project with undergraduate education students at Pace University in Spring 2017. (Big ups to the course instructor, Sharon Medow, for her collaboration!)
We are happy to make available a 20+ page project guide so others can explore BardBots in their K-12 and university classrooms. It is available below for free. We only ask that you share your email address with us so we can keep you abreast of updates to the curriculum and examples of BardBots in action elsewhere.