New Article: Computational Thinking ≠ Programming

Computational Thinking is argued to be tomorrow’s reality as a crucial skill for the 21st Century workforce. What process one follows to formulate and resolve a problem, and how the abilities of human thinking can be combined with the technical abilities of a computer to do so, are at the core of what Computational Thinking is all about. Following from that, Computational Thinking is a skill everyone should possess. It is a universal basic skill, that should be taught at school. But how does one teach such a skill effectively? Computational Thinking has close ties to programming; with many assuming that by teaching the latter automatically one will learn to think computationally. However, research shows that this is not the case. Duncan summarized a pilot study with primary school students in New Zealand with “We had hoped that Computational Thinking skills would be taught indirectly by teaching programming and other topics in computing, but from our initial observations this may not be the case.”[1] Indeed, Computational Thinking is much more than programming and teaching such a skill requires the use of specific tools, Computational Thinking Tools, that can assist the Computational Thinking process, without the introduction of complicated and difficult programming.

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About Alexander Repenning 5 Articles
Hasler Professor and Chair of Computer Science Education at the Pädagogische Hochschule FHNW in Switzerland and computer science professor at the University of Colorado.