06 Feb 2019

PAVING THE WAY FOR COMPUTATIONAL THINKING IN EDUCATION

Educational stakeholders and researchers are encouraged to adapt computational thinking into school curricula to increase students understanding of problems presentation, reasoning at multiple levels of abstraction, and being able to develop an innovative solution describes the reasons to include computational thinking in curriculum especially in this digital age of 21st century.  Computational science is an increasingly important interdisciplinary field as scientists, engineers, and social scientists apply modeling and simulation techniques to gain insights on the behavior of complex systems, accelerate the rate of discovery, and design new approaches to a variety of problems.

Increasing number of institutions have begun academic programs in computational science ranging from minor and certificate programs for undergraduates to specialized undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Moreover, the computational thinking seems as an approach for students to deeply understand computer science related subjects, STEM subjects and non-STEM subjects.

Computational thinking starts with breaking down an issue into smaller parts, then identifying patterns and using those understandings to craft a simple solution. And while teaching the increasingly popular subject of computer science, for instance, is partially about getting students to code, it’s also about fostering their computational thinking skills — which experts call an the upside in promoting clear and precise thinking.

Computing education research draws on a variety of disciplines to make computing education better. Computing education researchers draw on methods from education, sociology, and psychology in order to measure learning about computing and understand the factors that influence that learning.

5 Roles Educators Play When Teaching Computational Thinking

To help teachers with this multidisciplinary approach, the final draft of ISTE’s STEM teaching guidelines cover the five different roles educators play in the classroom:

Learner: Teaching computational thinking is as much a learning exercise for educators as it is for their students. Teachers will need to boost their own competencies in data analysis, abstraction and algorithm design. To do so, ISTE recommends teachers reach out to their colleagues and local technology coaches for advice. In addition, they should be practicing ways to incorporate computer science into their lessons by thinking of discipline-specific intersections.

Equity Leader: All students are capable of becoming computational thinkers, and it is up to educators to give each student that chance in the classroom. Educators can build students’ self-confidence by maintaining communication and encouraging all students to take some control of their own learning. Personalized learning tools provided through one-to-one device programs have proved to be a great help in fostering classroom equity. Another approach is incorporating makerspace tools to let students experiment on their own.

Collaborator: Incorporating projects that facilitate collaboration skills will help students develop new computational ways of thinking, as well as crucial social-emotional learning skills. Many modern classroom designs enhance collaborative learning through flexible classroom furniture, interactive HDTVs and improved Wi-Fi capabilities.

Regardless of what your content area is, computer science and the use of technology are an integral part of our students’ learning. There’s always lots of discussion (and concern) about how to teach traditional mathematical thinking to kids. But looking to the future, this pale in comparison to the importance of teaching computational thinking. Yes, there’s a certain amount of traditional mathematical thinking that’s needed in everyday life, and in many careers. But computational thinking is going to be needed everywhere.

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