Module 4: Computational Thinker and Mindful Teacher

Once again in investigating computational thinking and ISTE standard for students number 5, I was surprised at just how many different directions I could have gone in the search for answers on computational thinking. I was hoping to find some ways to integrate computational thinking into my classroom practice in order to build on the curriculum I already use. I was also hoping to discover how computational thinking might facilitate problem solving. I think that I came up with a partial answer to those questions at best. I found that first it was important to identify just what computational thinking entails in order to figure out how to integrate computational thinking into a curriculum or to find how computational thinking facilitates problem solving. I think that if teachers first have a basis for understanding what computational thinking is, then computational thinking will become a part of the classroom environment and be adapted into instruction for many K-12 teachers. It was reassuring to me to read that the description of computational thinking (CT) is still in flux, even after an article written by Jeanette Wing was published in 2006, since I was unfamiliar with the term computational thinking at the start of this module (Barr, Conery & Harrison 2011, p. 20). In a subsequent reading I found a basic definition for CT from Grover and Pea (2013) to include the following elements:

  • Abstractions and pattern generalizations (including models and simulation)
  • Systematic processing of information
  • Symbol systems and representations
  • Algorithmic notions of flow of control
  • Structured problem decomposition (modularizing)
  • Iterative, recursive and parallel thinking
  • Conditional logic
  • Efficiency and performance constraints
  • Debugging and systematic error detection

Continue reading “Module 4: Computational Thinker and Mindful Teacher”