Computational Thinking (CT) is a set of habits of mind people use to generalize and solve problems -- finding patterns, abstraction, automation, analysis. CT led to the development of computers and applying the power of computing and thus the ability to crunch lots of data (numeric, textual, image) systematically and efficiently to solve problems and increase understanding and innovation in all disciplines in which data are used.
In the history of Science, first there was observation (van Leeuwenhoek's "little animalcules"); then there was simple experimentation (one variable, one trial); then there was sophisticated experimentation (multiple variables, independent replication, statistical analysis). Now, thanks to the power of computational thinking and computers, we have an additional set of tools: simulation, modeling, and data mining. These enable more sophisticated "thought experiments" and calibration of theoretical constructs and hypothesis testing, leading to better understanding of the natural, built, and social worlds.
~Jo Oshiro
Page Contents -- feedback to Jo via Jo_Oshiro@ous.edu
(by category, in no particular order; some entries in multiple categories)
Computational Thinking [top]
Computational Thinking (CT) is a set of habits of mind people use to generalize and solve problems -- finding patterns, abstraction, automation, analysis. CT led to the development of computers and applying the power of computing and thus the ability to crunch lots of data (numeric, textual, image) systematically and efficiently to solve problems and increase understanding and innovation in all disciplines in which data are used.
- Seminal work: "Viewpoint: Computational Thinking," Jeannette Wing, 2006, Communications of the ACM. — pdf
- Computational Thinking — http://www.google.com/edu/computational-thinking/what-is-ct.html —is a set of problem-solving skills that work across disciplines and are helping generate the software that is driving the frontier of science and engineering, as well as clarify problems and solutions in other applications, such as business and communications. This is one of many resources, but Jo finds this one understandable, generalizable, widely applicable.
- ISTE Computational Thinking Weblink
has Teacher Resources and Leadership Toolkit pdfs for download.
- ISTE Grant Operational Definition of Computational Thinking — 1 pg pdf
- The same Teacher Resources from CSTA — pdf
- "Bringing Computational Thinking to K-12: What is Involved and What is the Role of the Computer Science Education Community?" Barr & Stephenson, ACM Inroads, March 2011 — 7 pg pdf
- "Computational Thinking: A Digital Age Skill for Everyone", Barr, Harrison & Connery, Learning and Leading with Technology, March/April 2011 — 2 pg pdf
- Rubin Landau, OSU Physics Prof Emeritus (has an NSF grant with SMED's Nam-Hwa Kang, INSTANCES, around CT for pre-service teachers)
- CMU's Computational Thinking site including Talks (particularly Pat Phillips ppt, slides 17 and 19 comments) — Jo thinks particularly useful to translate to HS classrm
- "Computing: A curriculum for schools", Computing at School Working group, UK, June 2011 — http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/uploads/ComputingCurric.pdf — Jo also thinks this one is accessible to the lay reader.
- CSTA Model Curriculum for K-12 Computer Science and NSF Exploring Computer Science Curriculum (early high school)
- On Thinking Like an Engineer — 12 year olds' advice on problem solving extracted from "All I Really Need toKnow (About Creative Thinking) I Learned (By Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten." 2007. Resnick is a key developer of LEGO Mindstorms and Cricket (one of Papert's disciples), and the new web-based language Scratch to teach kids (8+) programming concepts while minimizing the frustrations of precise, limited syntax. keywords creative thinking, learning, technological literacy (yes it's in there) design.
Modeling [top] See also Big Data
- Nick, the intern, picks simulation links suitable for younger kids: "These ones are easiest as they don't require any extra software to be installed, besides Java. Others have basically the same database of simulations with some graphical differences, and require signing up and downloading and installing. I picked these ones because even if they're fairly complex (like the first) they have good instructions and are interactive. Others teach simple concepts or are well visualized."
- For older kids:
- http://www.grids.ac.uk/Complex/ABMS/ABMS.html#SECTION00051000000000000000 – page dated Mar 21, 2011. Application section has as an overview of howmodeling/simulation might be applied in different scientific disciplines. “Top-down” or “aggregate” (as named on the Modeling 4 All website below) or “EBM (Equation Based Modeling)” yields different results, and no emergent behaviors, compared to “bottom-up” or “agent-based” modeling. (Equations could be used in defining the behavior of an agent, so be wary of over-interpreting the jargon).
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_agent-based_modeling_software — Good table, many cost $
- http://m.modelling4all.org/index.html — web-based not a software package. The organization is “Modeling 4 all” out of Oxford University. The web-based Behaviour Composer is buit on NetLogo. There’s some version control built in, or at least the option to share and lock models. The applications all appear to be at the university level, and Jo did not find any research to back up the pedagogical value (but that just may be a given in some of these fields, like population biology (not sure it’s even called that anymore)).
- OpenStarLogo from MIT is a sister to NetLogo, released to the wild and superceded by StarLogo TNG — http://education.mit.edu/projects/starlogo-tng (yes that is a geeky Star Trek The Next Generation reference).
- For Teachers:
- For general and/or multiple audiences:
- Recommended by science teacher Charlie Hyman --
Pedagogy [top]
Technology standards come in several flavors:
- Educational technology in the classroom (smartboards, computers, etc.)
- Teaching students to be users and consumers of technology (keyboarding, word-processing, internet smarts, etc.)
- Teaching students to be creators and analysts of technology.
I care most about (3) and assume that is what readers of this page are after.
Some scaffolding: