Department of Computer Science

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Dr. Van Dyne Attends "Performatics" Workshop


Michele Van Dyne of the Computer Science Department attended a two-day workshop at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell in January. The workshop was titled “Performamatics”, and the topic was one of teaching computational constructs with the use of music. The workshop was set up for attendance in interdisciplinary pairs, so Nathan Fortier, a Montana Tech Software Engineering graduate and musician, attended with Dr. Van Dyne. Nathan is currently a graduate student in computer science at MSU. The trip was paid for by an NSF grant which the workshop presenters received.

The Performamatics workshop consisted of a series of activities designed to illustrate the correspondence between music (sequence, iteration and branching) to computation. It also provided activities to discover and work out overcoming potential obstacles to working in interdisciplinary teams. The workshop instructors teach a course called “Sound Thinking” which is Computational Thinking combined with music. Dr. Van Dyne teaches Computational Thinking at Montana Tech, a course designed to assist students in problem solving and to relate computational approaches to those used in everyday problem solving. The workshop gave her new ideas to use in that course, along with ideas on how to incorporate engaging technology and concepts in other courses.