Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bringing Computational Thinking to K-12: What is Involved and What is the Role of the Computer Science Education Community?

The advances in the computing sciences allow the researcher to move faster in understanding our environment. Now scientist can focus on solving a problem while the computers do the “dirty” job, the calculations.

The article is about the idea that now is a good timing for students K-12 to start using computational methods for problem solving. The author states that there must be a change in educational policy to allow this shift.

The first thing that has to be done is to allow the computer science educators to understand the process of thinking of the students K-12. The approach that computers science educators are looking for, according to the ACM Model Curriculum for K-12 Computer Science, is “neither programming nor computer literacy. Rather it is the study of computers and algorithmic processes including their principles, their hardware and software design, their application, and their impact in society”. In other words, computational thinking is a problem solving methodology, whose intention is to create an active and cooperative environment, where the errors are part of the learning. Where students understand that there are many ways to solve a problem.

The benefits are many, in the article the bring the following:
"• Confidence in dealing with complexity
• Persistence in working with difficult problems
• The ability to handle ambiguity
• Setting aside differences to work with others to achieve a common goal or solution, and
• Knowing one’s strengths and weakness when working with others”

There are some strategies that are beneficial for students and teachers, like having the computational vocabulary, the acceptance of a failing solution, and teamwork disposition.

I love the idea of computational thinking. I love the idea of students facing real life problems and working as a team to solve them. It provides confidence and leadership; it allows the students to find a spot where they fit, and if the teacher is a good project manager, it can make everybody to feel included. While solving problems in that way, the knowledge come in a more meaningful way so it knowledge well acquired.
If you read my blog before Sunday and want to experience Computational Thinking, come to San Diego Sports Arena for the FIRST Robotics Competition. It is really cool!!

APA Reference
Barr V. and Stephenson C. (2011, March). Bringing Computational Thinking to K-12: What is Involved and What is the Role of the Computer Science Education Community? acm Inroads.  Vol. 2 No1 48-54p

1 comment:

  1. Computational thinking and education seems will make a great team to empower students in their ability to solve problem on their own and build confidence. Ultimately, problem solution is what life is all about. Adults do it in every aspect of our lives. Building the strength of children in this arena could allow them to be more productive, successful, confident and perhaps even happy adults. I am all for lesson that encourage computational thinking.

    This robotic competition looks really neat. My family cannot make it down there, but I wish we could. Is the competition held every year? Maybe we will be free next year. Thanks for letting us know about it. Take some pictures.