Skip to main content

5 ways to know you are teaching computational thinking

Computational thinking is a buzz word in many countries across the world. This blog gives 5 ways to identify if you are teaching computational thinking.

The BBC website has a definition of computational thinking that clearly lays out the components of computational thinking.

There are four components of computational thinking
  • decomposition - breaking down a complex problem or system into smaller, more manageable parts
  • pattern recognition – looking for similarities among and within problems
  • abstraction – focusing on the important information only, ignoring irrelevant detail
  • algorithms - developing a step-by-step solution to the problem, or the rules to follow to solve the problem
Each cornerstone is as important as the others. They are like legs on a table - if one leg if missing, the table will probably collapse. Correctly applying all four techniques will help when programming a computer.

You are teaching coding
Coding is the most common way people teach computational thinking. Coding provides opportunities to solve problems, recognise patterns, and create algorithms.
A variety of tools can be found on my coding website.

You use unplugged tasks
Computational thinking can be taught using offline activities. This is good news for teachers who don't have access to technology or quality wifi.

Examples of unplugged activities include:
Pattern completion using beading and physical materials.Construction blocks can be used for unplugged activities. 

You are teach using robotics when teaching

Using robotic toys allows students to think through problems.  Robotics can be used to navigate mazes, solve problems and create new solutions to problems.
Robotics vary in price and functionality. It is important to research the best robotic that will suit your educational outcomes. This is only a sample of robotics available.

You are teaching digital systems
Introducing students to digital systems enables them to design solutions and solve problems. It also teaches computational thinking. Tools that can be used to teach digital systems vary depending on the age of the students and the planned educational outcomes.
You source Project Ideas from a variety of sources
One of the difficult parts of teaching computational thinking is coming up with ideas for projects. There are many sources for projects.

Websites associated with the equipment you have purchased often contain project ideas or apps.

Social Media can be a great source for ideas by connecting with other people who teach computational thinking.

There are also websites that contain project ideas for integrating digital technologies.

Popular posts from this blog

Coding Tools that I have used

The following tools are in no particular Pencilcode is a coding tool that caters for a range of skills. It is based on coffee script and has a visual and text based coding option. The program also has tutorials you can work through for beginners or use the text editor to write your own. 
The program is a visual tool that is used to operate a turtle. It can be used for drawing, maths, or music. 
The site has a comprehensive reference guide. With sample programs that can be cut and paste to create new program, an ebook and videos. The website now has 4 different options.

Let's Play: The original format of the tool. Can be used in text mode or block coding. This format is good for applied maths lessons. It can be used to teach symmetry, position, cartesian plane, patterns, 2D shapes and more...Draw: Work through the tutorials to learn about different tools and techniques for coding. A great introductory lesson for all ages. Work through the tutorials at your own pace…

Rockin' the Rock Cycle

How do you make the Rock Cycle Interesting?I love geology, I think it is amazing the problem is not many people do. Making the rock cycle interesting without a field trip to Uluru or the Blue Mountains is even more difficult.

I based my lesson on a YouTube I found by Chad Ackerson. He explains the rock cycle beautifully as he demonstrates the lesson. During my lesson I played the YouTube and pressed pause at each stage of the cycle.

Goal: Investigate the Rock Cycle.
Prelearning: 1 lessons
Research different types of rocksPreparationYou will need to cut up 4 lollies into 9 pieces each for the teacher prior to the lesson.Melt 18 of the pieces prior to the lesson so it has time to cool.Keep 18 pieces for the lesson
Materials/Resources3 packets of star burst lollies (2 lollies per student + 4 for the teacher) Groups of 2
Baking Paper - one piece per student 4 coloured pencils Washed scissors. Washed hands Worksheet - one per student
Worksheet Solution - teacher
NSW Outcomes:
ST21VA shows interest in an…

Personal Interest Project Part 1

Personal Interest Projects (PIP)A personal inquiry project is a research project where the topic is driven by student interest. This term I have had the pleasure of taking over a year 10 IST class. With reports and assessments completed I decided to trial a PIP with a secondary group. I will be dedicating the next few posts to how the PIP progresses in a secondary setting.
The theme that was set for the term by the previous teacher is "The future of technology".  CommunicationAll communication, links and the assignment sheets are delivered via Google Classroom. IntroductionI introduced the unit by giving a guided tour of our school makerspace. It has: Oculus RiftMakerbot DigitiserMakerbot 3D PrinterMakey MakeyLittle BitsGoldieBloxLeap MotionChromeboxesFormatted DesktopsOld computers to pull apart We watched and discussed the future of technology from the perspective of the mid 1900's through to the current day. Jetsons Getsmart - shoe phone Dick Tracey - focus on watch phone Best …