Monday, 24 October 2016

Computational Thinking

Since being on the curious minds review last year, the aspect of computational thinking has been spread wide and far since being announced by Minister Pareta. I have a couple of times posted ideas of computational thinking on my blog, I continue again with the first page of Computing At School magazine, Autumn 2016.

Ideas, particularly good ideas, can take a long time to gain traction. Take the notion of Computational Thinking (CT), a term first coined by the late Seymour Papert. Papert was pointing to the potential of new technology to facilitate children’s ability to solve problems and thus ‘construct’ knowledge and understanding. But it took many years for the term to enter more mainstream use. For that we can thank Jeannette Wing. In a short paper ( written in 2006, the professor, then at Carnegie Mellon University argued that “Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability. Just as the printing press facilitated the spread of the three Rs, what is appropriately incestuous about this vision is that computing and computers facilitate the spread of computational thinking.” She pointed out that “Thinking like a computer scientist means more than being able to program a computer”, going on to stress that “This kind of thinking will be part of the skill set of not only other scientists but of everyone else. Ubiquitous computing is to today as computational thinking is to tomorrow. Ubiquitous computing was yesterday’s dream that became today’s reality; computational thinking is tomorrow’s reality.”

Too many people still see CT as something for the technically minded. CAS takes a different view. CT has a generic value for developing ways of thinking in all children. The benefits are applicable to many areas, not just Computing — one reason CAS lobbied for a curriculum entitlement across all key stages. This issue focuses on inclusion; on making Computing accessible to every child, not just a select few.

Computing At School Autumn 2016

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