The readings for this week discuss the importance of incorporating computational thinking into science for K-12. Grover and Pea review the research that has been the response to Wing’s idea of using computational thinking in school curricula to help support science literacy and raise computational literacy. Sengupta offers a theoretical framework on how to incorporate computational thinking into the classrooms.
As with many of our readings this semester, modeling and representation is imbedded in teaching, or using, computational thinking and literacies. Computational thinking also includes similar principles of teaching engineering practices that we read about last week. Engineering and computational practices use models and representations to learn and then reason and explain possible ways to solve a problem. For older students, computational programs would allow them to have a better understanding of complex ideas that includes connecting different levels or ideas (abstractions) to make a whole picture. Computational thinking could be a good method to support the learning of explanation and/or argumentation, which are important parts of science literacy, according to Sampson and Reiser.
Last weeks reading, A Framework, put emphasis on building up a child’s knowledge throughout their time at school. Sengupta seems to agree with this, and suggests that computational thinking should be introduced in primary schooling, and then built upon. Computational thinking also appears to be a potential tool to carry and build crosscutting concepts across subjects, as it would also be supportive in mathematics. Sengupta and Grover mentioned that computational thinking could also help in the designing and scaffolding of lessons. Students would be able to create their own questions, based off of prior knowledge, and then designing their own ways to solve them. Using computational thinking as a crosscutting concept, or to support crosscutting concepts, would make more meaningful connections from prior knowledge to the new concepts students are learning.
Literacy in computational thinking is important in future classrooms, as technology is a large piece of our society and helps scientists in analyzing or modeling their findings. However, I am not sure of the qualifications I have, or others, have to teach this along side their curriculum. It sounds like a few of the programs could be more complicated than others when programming. How would teachers be trained for this type of instruction? For example, I have never taken a computer science class. What training would I have access to, or have to take in order to successfully be able to teach in my classroom? Or, would I have to bring in another teacher who is more familiar with programming and these programs? Also, how much time can be dedicated for the children to learn how to use the programs?