Computational Thinking Scares Me

I was a little scared by the idea of computational thinking. I am a comfortable and competent user of technology but I don’t give much thought to how it all happens. I am grateful for all the work the programmers do to make my life easier but I don’t really understand how they do it. I was still afraid when I read the first paragraph of Wing’s Computational thinking and thinking about computing  but by the end of the article she had helped alleviate my fear.   Wing explains that “computational thinking is taking an approach to solving problems, designing systems and understanding human behaviour that draws on concepts fundamental to computing” (Wing, 2006).  At this point I was still scared by the mention of abstractions as the essence of computational thinking with algorithms and programming languages as examples. Things became a little clearer when Wing explained that “abstractions are the mental tools of computing” (Wing, 2008, p3718). In the abstraction process, people have to decide what details are important and what can be left out and then layer abstractions. The real power is in combining human and machine processing abilities to solve problems. Barr, Harrison & Conery believe students should be taught how to identify when and where digital tools can assist with problem solving (2011). The kinds of computational thinking skills they refer to appear in the following video. I still have a lot to learn but I am not scared of computational thinking now.

https://youtu.be/VFcUgSYyRPg

References

Barr, D., Harrison, J., & Conery, L. (2011). Computational Thinking: A Digital Age Skill for Everyone. Learning & Leading With Technology, 38(6), 20-23. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail/detail?sid=e1670d37-13fa-4624-96d3-fc5da71f1820%40sessionmgr4004&vid=0&hid=4201&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=ehh&AN=59256559

ISTE. [ISTE]. (2012, January 3). Computational thinking: A digital age skill for everyone [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/VFcUgSYyRPg

Wing, J. M. (2006). Computational thinking. Communications of the ACM, 49(3), 33-35. [INF530 Module 2.5] retrived May 10, 2015, from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-249312-dt-content-rid-635255_1/courses/S-INF530_201530_W_D/module2/2_5_Computational_thinking.html

Wing, J. M. (2008). Computational thinking and thinking about computing. Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 366(1881), 3717–3725. retrived from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25197357

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