An NKS Curriculum
Teaching NKS should be simple. Not only is the material accessible, but it is also engaging on several different levels. Even young children starting school can do the basic experiments. Older kids studying simple rules can learn to think rigorously and critically, as well as take on challenging problems.
I will survey an alpha version of the educational materials we at Wolfram Research have been making to introduce NKS. There will be a core two-week course geared toward high school students, which could also be used at the college level. There will also be a set of lessons which can lead to more open-ended instruction, treating some material more deeply or posing challenging problems. In addition, we will make lessons geared to the elementary and middle school levels.
I will also talk about the process of learning about NKS, which is related to making original NKS discoveries. The science of NKS has some things to say about learning and knowledge, at least in the context of studying simple programs.
There are definite phases of understanding, and we are concentrating on the introductory levels with these materials. We hope that these materials will be easily understood by teachers, and that they will find them flexible enough to fit in with their own style and philosophy of teaching.
(April 20, 2004)