Posts Tagged ‘module 2’

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.


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

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

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:

Wing, J. M. (2008). Computational thinking and thinking about computing. Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 366(1881), 3717–3725. retrived from

Connected Learning and the VCE

At times I get frustrated working at a senior campus where all the students are undertaking their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). The VCE is focused on outcomes and involves covering a lot of content in a short space of time. The opportunity for connected learning is severely limited in many subjects. Despite this constraint, some teachers are using some connected learning principles when they have the chance. The opportunity to use connected learning is greater in subjects such as art and media where personal interests are drawn upon and are more product centred.

While the theory of connected learning is new to me, I realise I have been witnessing it in school libraries throughout my career. In the mid 1990s, students who loved playing computer games would devour the library’s magazines and books about computer games. There were students who borrowed fiction books heavily and then spent their lunchtimes writing fan fiction. I can even recall getting a student to write a small computer program for the library so we could randomly draw names for a raffle prize during Children’s Book Week. From my reading these appear to be examples of connected learning.

While connected learning at the VCE level is currently limited, I see that I have a role to play in promoting the principles and supporting teachers and students with the challenges.

I found the videos at The connected Learning Research Hub helped my understanding of connected learning and I plan to share them with my colleagues.

Connected Learning

Credit: Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub

Creative Commons License This Connected Learning Infographic is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License