My story

Student meeting in library - Teamwork

Hello,

I felt like I should start with a ‘How I Met Your Robot’ story. So I would like to mention my undergrad years in Bogazici. It was a kind of ordinary if you are a member of the group of my kind. I am one of those extroverts who likes to socialize, says ‘yes’ to every question involving joining a group or going out to have fun. While I was enrolled in mass courses like Calculus and Physics, which I wasn’t doing so well, I saw a poster on KB (square block in Bogazici University North Campus, it is literally square and like a maze), the poster was about IEEE club organizing ‘do line follower robot yourself‘ classes. I thought ‘why not’. I applied for those classes. I met an engineering student, Emre, who seemed to know what he was doing and I paired up with him. We bought PIC microcontrollers from Karakoy, started deciphering Assembly language, programming PIC with PICbasic and so on. We also bought a toycar and inserted our microcontroller and sensors into it. The things were so cool for me. I couldn’t even keep track of time while I was doing all these stuff.

After I finished robot project, I saw another poster in ETA building, which happens to used partially by computer science department and partially by education department. This poster was CS4HS @Bogazici. At the bottom of the poster, there was a barely visible line, it was ‘the participants will be given 50$ stipend.’ I didn’t know what stipend was and didn’t even bothered to look it up in the dictionary. I thought I had to give them 50$, but it was just a little setback I thoought. Again my mind was full of thought like; I could give it away and it would worth because this was going to teach me something I didn’t know. I was crazy about learning something new and I am still. That’s the only thing, the infinite curiosity inside me that I do not want to lose ever. Anyway, I attended CS4HS, it was a two-day long, intense workshop program and it meant to teach pre-service teachers Scratch programming language. It was a priceless experience. They even took us to lunch in a fancy place in which waiters were grinding black pepper directly from the mill on your plate. I was amazed, not only by the delicious food but also the content of the workshop was mesmerizing for me. Funny enough, it turned out that ‘stipend’ meant that I wasn’t supposed to buy but receive. Nobody can imagine the happiness I felt. I was learning something and I was getting paid. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long.

I guess I skipped to mention the part I was a member of COMPEC, IT club of Bogazici. I happened to be one of the writers of Click magazine. I was helping the board to find ads for the magazine, getting better with my photoshop skills to make better issues, more appealing.

I have worked with a computer engineer friend on developing robotics curriculum for elementary school students. We practiced demo classes in several private schools and educational institutions. We had hundreds of meetings with people who we thought possible investors. You know, they seemed to be but never going to invest anyway. It takes hundreds of hours to start reading people. Then, the things went not so good and I started working in a private school as a science teacher. Teaching experiences of mine will be another post I guess.

Long story short, as I met people as many as possible, the more I learnt, more possibilities I saw, new connectomes in my brain has been created. Join various groups, meet with people,  learn from them and let your world grow bigger and bigger.

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PERO

I have been working on a programmable educational robot project (PERO) for nearly two years. This project was about developing a robot which would have an easy interface for kids to program and manage to accomplish given tasks. By time goes by new ideas are gathering together and I hope soon enough I will be sharing the developed version of PERO visuals and first prototype.

pero_logo

On Computational Thinking

‘Computational thinking’ is a 37-year-old term which has first introduced by Seymour Papert. Today, universities have various computational science departments such as computational astrophysics, computational chemistry and so on. Computational thinking is the key element in those disciplines. Scientist and engineers gather together to solve one complex problem with the help of computers.

These computational science disciplines and their ways of conducting research give us insights about future of science. In my paper accepted in CEST15 (International Conference on Environmental Science And Technology) conference, I have made use of the data of wastewater has been taken from treatment plants and and put into membrane bioreactors to be filtered.These data have been collected by a PhD student in 6 months. By using Runge-Kutta method and reviewing the literature, I have approximated the exact values of nitrogen and phosphorus in filtered water. That is to say; programming and making use of the computers enable us to save time, energy and resources.

As World Economic Forum has published the predictions for near future most needed skills which employers look for in employees, it is obvious that complex problem solving is crucial.

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My understanding is complex problem solving requires computational thinking skills.And those skills are valuable both in business and academic fields.