A Clear Definition of Computational Thinking and Related Topics

One of the most frequently asked questions in meetings about CS is “What is Computational Thinking? What does it mean for schools?” People often cite Jeannette Wing saying it is “ the thought processes involved in formulating problems and their solutions so that the solutions are represented in a form that can be effectively carried out by an information processing agent”.

Unfortunately, while that definition translates well to computer scientists, teachers, curriculum writers and administrators are often left unsure of what that looks like in a classroom, how to prepare students to engage in that kind of thinking, and what it means for assessment.

Recently, Computing at School, the UK movement for CS Education, released Computational Thinking: A guide for teachers. It is the best translation of computational thinking for K12 educators I have yet seen.  Is it perfect? no. But provides enough definitions – both of CT itself and the surrounding vocabulary, to help clarify in conversations. I highly recommend adding it to your reading queue if you work in or around schools.

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