Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Movies for Computer Science Students

Today was watch movie day. I watched two movies that I have been thinking about showing to my computer science students.

The first one I watched was "The Imitation Game" about Alan Turing. Frankly I didn't like it. I like it even less for showing to my students. Why? Because I don't think students will identify with Turing. He is just to weird. Make no mistake I think Turing was an amazing individual and there are lessons in his story. But, well, it just didn't inspire me to want to do things.

The second movie was "Hidden Figures." This one I loved. Even though few of my students are females of color these women are real and normal in ways that Turing wasn't. They had children, families, and were concerned about others. They had things to overcome and fought to overcome them. That is a message that resonates. I think my students will see people to aspire to be like in this movie.

My experience is that students who see stories like "Hidden Figures" see the injustices against both women and minorities. They understand how wrong that treatment was and is. Sure there were horrible injustices against Turing and his death was a tragedy. But his personality, at least in the movie, is not one to make people feel as sympathetic as the women in "Hidden Figures." And the women won! And in their winning they opened the doors for many others.

So what other movies should I think about showing my computer science students?”


Jim Huggins said...

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Mike Zamansky said...

I used to show The Pausch Lecture as the day before winter break movie.

I loved "The Imitation Game" and it does have the Bennedict Cumberbatch factor going for it -- I mean, he's so hot (at least according to the fan boys / girls in my classes)!!!!

I haven't seen "Hidden Figures" yet -- trying to coordinate a home family movie night for it.

I'll jokingly add Hackers - lousy movie and horrible representation of computers and CS but it was shot at Stuy (so I've got student extras) and it says something that both of the leads were able to continue on to have successful careers after that train wreck of a movie.

Anonymous said...

'The Imitation Game' and 'Hidden Figures' aren't historically accurate from what I've read. Some of the most dramatic incidents never happened.
That doesn't mean they are bad movies, but I'd explain to students what the inaccuracies are before showing either one.

xota said...

The Internets Own Boy when you have the time to reflect on it immediately after viewing.

Anonymous said...

I think Snowden could open up some interesting discussion on ethics in your professional life. I'm not sure anyone prepared me for some of the things I was asked to do as a young professional from the ethics side of things. I think there's room for the social network, which again, touches on ethics (but also success). I'm a sucker for documentaries, 30 Days: Outsourcing, Code2600, TPB AFK, and Terms and Conditions May Apply are fantastic (may be a bit to politically challenging for school). The I wish William Gibson's or Neil Gaiman's work had made it onto the screen in better shape. I want a follow up on what you find (or to hear you showed them the girl with the dragon tattoos -=)

Re Hackers: I interview someone and they don't notice quotes hackers or war games, they probably aren't getting called back. Hack the Gibson.