Grover and Pea review what has been done and what is lacking in CT K-12 education. A need for CT education has been articulated and somewhat accepted, meaning that they know what aspects of computer-related education are most important for K-12 education. Research is needed on how students best learn CT (i.e. pedagogical content knowledge in CT.) They posed many questions including where in the curriculum it would fall, who would teach it, whether it would be integrated with other courses or stand alone.
Sengupta et al described a specific means for incorporating CT in the K-12 science classroom. They proposed the integration of core science courses and CT, noting the similarities in thinking, problem solving and most importantly modeling. They then proposed many details on specifically what types of programs are best for K-12 education and why. Finally, they presented a study that showed content knowledge gains in the core sciences through using CT.
Both articles stressed the importance of computational thinking, not computer programming specifically. I find this important because the kind of thinking described in the articles in very transferable. While computers are ubiquitous in society, not all people need to be skilled programmers.
My concern with the push for CT in all science classrooms is twofold. First, it requires students to be in a computer lab for class. Most schools only have a few computer labs, and it could be very difficult for many teachers to try to implement CT in their curriculum simultaneously.
Second, I do not think that there is a qualified teacher force to implement these ideas. The research presented showed that students learn best when they are taught one-on-one from a professional researcher, and that without these added scaffolds, improvements in disciplinary gains are very small. Teachers would need to be trained significantly on CT for it to ever enter the science curriculum.
These papers made me realize that I should probably have taken some kind of computer science course. I felt very lost in the academic language at times. I also know that I am completely unqualified to teach CT. I know that to be able to implement it will require significant professional development.