About the feynlabs methodology

We have been working on feynlabs for about a year and a half and leading upto a launch for the new comp science syllabus in Sep

Contact details info at feynlabs.com OR ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com 

Here are more details:

 feynlabs develops apps for Computer Science education.

Specifically, we address the problem of accelerating the learning of Computer Science in schools. 

Many countries – including the UK, China, USA – are switching to a more enhanced Computer Science syllabus in Schools (ages 10 to 17). Both teachers and students have to navigate a steep learning curve due to this change.

Although Learning to Code is an important part of Computer Science, Computer Science is more than to code.

There are two aspects of Computer Science: Programabiliy (learning to code) and Computability (i.e. Physical Computing, Problem solving, Algorithmic thinking etc).

Our methodology combines these two aspects by reusing Concept maps for teaching Computer science.  Concept Mapping is a learning technique originally developed in 1970s by Joseph Novak and Bob Gowin

In practise, we use Concept maps in two ways to accelerate the learning of Computer Science in schools:

a)       Feyncode:  feyncodes uses the ideas of assimilation theory i.e. stressing the importance of prior knowledge in learning new concepts (which is one of the foundations of concept mapping) to learn Programming. We start with the familiar and extend to new concepts. We begin with concept maps of one Programming language (Python) and then extend this idea to other programming languages through similarities and differences. This allows learners to quickly master the familiar – and then focus on the new elements in other languages by co-relating back to existing knowledge.  For example – we start with Python  and then extend to JavaScript and C. This strategy extends the learning to the systems domain(C) and the Web domain(JavaScript) while starting from a familiar paradigm (Python). Also, we use the feyncodes technique to explore multiple languages implemented within a platform (ex Raspberry Pi). The Pi already has many languages ported on it .  More recently, Mathematica and the Go language have been ported to the Pi.  The feyncodes mapping technique thus allows us to explore multiple languages in context of the Raspberry Pi.

 

b)      Feynmaps: Using concept maps, feynmaps address the problem of Computational thinking and Problem solving. We look at common sets of problems solved by Physical devices like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino.  In the first instance, we identify the following categories:  Actuating , Entertainment,  Environment,  Home automation, Monitoring, Robotics, Sensing and  Software and Utilities. Feynmaps are concept maps for each of the above categories focussed on the problems being solved and how they relate back to the Computer Science syllabus for teaching. Thus, feynmaps enable the teacher and the learner to assimilate, learn and teach a large amount of information about specific Physical computing

Additional notes about the vision:

  • Feynmaps and feyncodes are released under Creative commons
  • We follow the UK Computer Science syllabus – specifically the UK CAS syllabus
  • We incorporate Physical computing especially Raspberry Pi and Arduino
  • We believe in the idea of ‘incomplete models’ for learning – most recently articulated in the book The Curiosity cycle by Dr Jonathan Mugan. The Curiosity Cycle builds on the idea of ‘incomplete models’ i.e. the idea that an incorrect or incomplete models is better than no model at all – as long as the process of creating,  assimilating and validating models i.e. the curiosity cycle is inculcated in a child
  • 1984 book by Joseph Novak and Bob Govin originally outlined Concept maps. A more recent version of the book is still available on Amazon

Testimonials from teachers and industry leaders

Industry leaders

Hung Ly – Head of Department at Sir John Cass Secondary School

“My name is Hung Ly and I am the Head of Department at Sir John Cass Secondary School and Sixth Form College in Tower Hamlets, East London. I have been asked to write a short testimonial to what I think of the free programming course run by Ajit Jaokar of feynlabs. To be honest this is really new to school especially with the introduction of the Raspberry Pi and Python coding. I really liked the hands on approached and the excellent communications that Ajit offers. Each session is communicated in advance and liaised with me to ensure that the resources are available and pitched at the right level with the combination of theory/concept/metaphor of programming to really trying out programming itself. We are coming towards the end of our sessions and I sure the students and other staff members will miss Ajit and his lectures. I would like to thank Ajit and his associations in providing such an invaluable insight into the world of programming and making it an experience that we will never forget and something that can grow at this school in the future.” 

Wiard Vasen – Teacher Computer Science Montessori Lyceum Amsterdam

“Ajit Jaokar feels the urge to help people, no matter what age, gender or race, to find their individual fulfilment and meaning in life and He does this with the art of Programming.”

Robert Mullins – Raspberry Pi foundation

“Since early 2012, I have been following the work of Ajit Jaokar and feynlabs – as they use the Raspberry Pi in innovative ways in education. I watch this space with interest to see how their work evolves”

 

Robert Mullins – co-founder of the Raspberry Pi foundation 

 

Peter Vesterbacka – Mighty Eagle at Rovio Mobile

“I was one of the first people to LIKE the feynlabs page on Facebook.  Angry Birds demonstrate that we need the next generation to understand computer science from the outset. Initiatives like this will encourage more young people to take up computer science – and it’s great to see the progress and uptake for feynlabs”

Carlos Domingo – Director of Product Development and Innovation – Telefonica

“As someone who follows innovation and start-ups worldwide and a recent father, I am conscious of the need for creating an interest in Computer Science in the next generation.  In this context, Ajit Jaokar and feynlabs are doing some great work.. and i hope it helps create more start-ups in future”

Dr Mike Short CBE FREng FIET – IET President 2011/2012

“Computer science and programming are more important to the Digital economy than ever before. Courses such as these go back to basics and can help prepare Digital citizens to inspire development and follow their interests in the modern world .

 

Prof Peter Cochrane OBE

“The education system is broken!  Remembering facts and solving problems by ‘turning handles’ just doesn’t cut the mustard in the fast world of technology. We need a new breed who solve problems by thinking !  Feynlabs mission is to transform those constrained by a national curriculum and turn them into the problem solvers of tomorrow.”

Howard Rheingold – Internet Pioneer, Author and Thought leader

“Understanding programming is important for even (especially!) young students who are growing up in a digital world — either they learn how to shape that world, or will have to accept that their world will be shaped by others — and understanding computation, a powerful thinking tool in the tradition of logic and  geometry,is perhaps even more important in a world where knowing how to think and how to skillfully wield thinking tools is ever more important. The approach being explored by feynlabs could be crucially important — an experiment with potential social payback that far outweighs the risk of failure. Indeed, knowing how to deal with failure — and to use it to overcome obstacles — is essential to both programming and learning.”

Lawrence Lipsitz is founder, editor, publisher of “Educational Technology

“Ajit Jaokar is a visionary who seeks to take advantage of the digital revolution now underway throughout the world in order to vastly improve education for all children and young adults. He believes that a deep knowledge of Programming — in all of its aspects — is becoming a necessity for both career advancement and everyday living in the world that is coming into clear view, for those, like Ajit, able and willing to see it.”