Friday, August 5, 2011

Computational Thinking

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The explosion in technology and rapid expansion of careers in computer science, engineering, medicine and other tech-related fields has illuminated the need to help students think and learn using critical computational skills.

We believe that today’s students need these skills to meet workforce demands of the future and to help solve some of the most pressing, intractable problems of our time. Today’s “digital natives” have grown up in a world where technology is evolving rapidly, creating new fields of study, new types of jobs, and requiring new sets of skills. As educators, we can help today’s students gain computational thinking skills so tomorrow’s professionals in medicine, history, law, education, or other fields, will be valued contributors in solving problems and making new advances. (p. 3)

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) collaborated with leaders from higher education, industry, and K–12 education to develop an operational definition of computational thinking and teacher resources for employing these skills in classroom learning.  The vocabulary and progression charts on pages 8 and 9 are extremely helpful guides. Grade-level guides and sample activities begin on page 12.

You'll find a copy of the teacher resource by visiting the ISTE site or downloading it from this link: Computational Thinking: Teacher Resources 1st Edition.

Other resources can be found at the Carnegie Mellon Center for Computational Thinking as well as Google: Exploring Computational Thinking (includes an imbedded TED Talk video by Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers).