Computational Thinking and Beyond

Since Jeannette Wing described computational thinking (CT) in her 2006 Communications of the ACM article, it has gone beyond computer science and now become a “hot topic” within educational technology communities of practice. A quick search for the keywords “computational thinking” in education conference proceedings, such as Society of Information Technology and Teacher Education, E-Learn, American Educational Research Association among others yields a growing number of papers on CT. The ideas presented range from computational thinking for teacher education to incorporating computational thinking for students in a wide array of content areas including science, mathematics, and language arts. Educators and researchers in educational technology have started adopting CT and are extending it beyond computer science to creativity and problem solving. As an example, teachers attending our Masters in Educational Technology program at Michigan State University have deep interest in computational thinking and how to expose their students to algorithmic thinking, data representation, and logical thinking across. These teachers are incorporating CT practices by exploring Maker Education (#makered) approaches that allow their students to tinker and play with tools (such as, MakeyMakey, Raspberry Pi, Paper Circuits, etc.). Through these projects students (and teachers) are developing core computational thinking dispositions that Valerie Barr and Chris Stephenson identified in their 2011 article on bringing computational thinking to K-12. Specifically, students in these classrooms are learning to work with “wicked problems” that are open-ended, complex, and often have more than one solution and multiple ways to arrive that the solution. The interest in computational thinking from teachers across disciplines provides opportunities for computer science educators to collaborate with fellow educators to show students how computational thinking ideas span subjects and overlap with core computer science concepts.

Aman Yadav
Twitter: @yadavaman
Teacher Education Representative
CSTA Board of Directors

 

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About Aman Yadav

Dr. Aman Yadav is an Associate Professor and co-director of the Masters in Educational Technology program at at Michigan State University. He works on issues around computational thinking, computer science education, and problem-based learning in K-16 classrooms. Over the last decade, Aman has led professional development workshops at the national and international level to engage teachers in embedding computing ideas and technology in the classrooms. Aman serves on the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) board of directors. Follow him on twitter at yadavaman