Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Computational thinking is a burgeoning subject/field, and that to not give the opportunity for K-12 students to learn about it is definitely destructive to their futures.  Computer literacy has become so much more valued not only in the CS field but also in many others (hello, STEM careers).  Last week, some local news channel had a story about the new common core/standards that were being implemented in Tennessee, and they interviewed a woman about how she disagreed with there being computer literacy added to the curriculum.  Her sole reasoning was that she was concerned about the students who did not have access to a computer at home.  Although this could look like a valid argument to some, I completely disagree because students already have to do internet research, homework assignments, and paper writing with a computer regardless of computer science work.  Plus, students without computers are the ones who would benefit most from more work with computers since they do not have regular use and interaction with them at home.
I like how Grover & Pea discuss the use of fantasy in getting students engaged with CT; game design and robotics are really fun ways to introduce some fundamentals to otherwise uninterested students.  I would also like to see more information/investigation about the idea of computing as a medium for teaching other subjects.  Modeling software in science could be huge for this; the computer program we used in class to see the changing moon phases comes to mind.  The subject of astronomy in general would benefit greatly if students had greater CT because it could help simplify advanced math and physics, so that topics are easier to comprehend without delving into complex computations.

            I am not sure if I completely agree with Sengupta et al’s point that CT should be integrated with learning in the math and science domains.  A separate course, like an introduction to computer literacies, would be helpful so that students have a familiarity with CT and possibly go more in depth than a science class could.  However, I do agree that aspects of CT should be interwoven with the curriculum.  The abstractness of CT is perfect for engaging students in higher levels of thinking, and will hopefully help them to connect classroom models to their physical phenomena with greater ease.


  1. I agree with you about the teacher in the news. As long as the assignments (that would require programming software) could be completed in class, or at school, then CT is entirely possible, even for kids who have limited or no access to computers outside of school. I had entirely forgotten about the moon phase simulator we did in class. That one was interesting because it did give include many of the little details that were giving us trouble with the other moon phase models. And fantasy is a good way to get students more interested in an activity. However, if they are creating games, then CT might have to be considered as a separate class, since most science classes have to cover material quickly. If CT is used as support for teaching material, then it would be beneficial to use it in class, while the students have a chance to learn how CT can work in a scientific setting.

  2. Kim, I agree with you concerning the application of CT to the classroom and its placement as a separate class. However, I think the class should be taught in the context of science and math classes and maybe follow along with what they are learning to provide explicit connectivity and connectedness. I believe it should be a separate class just because technology is such a big part of our lives now and infiltrates and influences every part. Thus, students will have a greater opportunity and more time to take part in hands on projects and ideas, as opposed to learning about it in passing in a general science or math classroom. However, like I said, I think it can only be effectively taught in the context of other subjects.
    In response to your comment concerning resources and students who may not be able to complete assignments of a CT class outside of school, I experienced similar problems. While we didn’t have a CT class, just basic computer class posed a problem. I did not have internet for most of my time in high school and oftentimes could not complete the assignment or had to stay after school (which was a problem because I had swim practice). Thus, as Caitlin stated in her comment, allowing students to complete assignments and projects inside the classroom, for the most part, is essential for the success of the class. While it is a time constraint, it provides students with the necessary equity, a concept touched upon in last week’s readings.


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