[fusion_text]Australian kids should be aware of computational thinking because the concept of computational thinking is a key component of the Australian Curriculum for Digital Technology studies, and it IS the skill of the 21st century!
As explained on the Australian Curriculum website, Technology learning is broken down into two key areas:
- Design and Technologies
This is where students use design thinking and technologies to generate and produce designed solutions for authentic needs and opportunities.
2. Digital Technologies:
Where students use computational thinking and information systems to define, design and implement digital solutions.
What is Computational Thinking?
One of the main reasons why it is ever so important for kids to learn coding or computer programming is so that, they get the opportunity to learn a new and a fundamental way of thinking and problem solving.
As Jeanette Wing, Head of the Department of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) puts it:
Computational Thinking IS the skill of the 21st Century.
The Australian Curriculum for Digital Technology defines Computational Thinking as:
Computational thinking is a problem-solving method that is applied to create solutions that can be implemented using digital technologies. It involves integrating strategies, such as organising data logically, breaking down problems into parts, interpreting patterns and models and designing and implementing algorithms.
The grand vision of computational thinking as Jeanette Wing passionately advocates, is that, it becomes a fundamental skill used by everyone by the middle of the 21st century, and that it becomes a core part of a learning curriculum just like reading, writing and maths.
How can computer programming tools like Scratch equip kids with computational thinking?
Scratch, a computer programming tool many young people use to create interactive media such as stories, videos and games, engage with different elements of computational concepts common in programming languages. Such computational concepts are identified below:
- sequence: identifying a series of steps for a task
- loops: running the same sequence multiple times
- parallelism: making things happen at the same time
- events: one thing causing another thing to happen
- conditionals: making decisions based on conditions
- operators: support for mathematical and logical expressions
- data: storing, retrieving, and updating values
Are you ready to give your kids a head start? JOIN our Sunday Scratch Workshops at Epping North Public School. Enjoy viewing some of our Scratch Project Challenge videos:[/fusion_text]
What are the 7 Computational Concepts?
A key concept in programming is that a particular activity or task is expressed as a series of individual steps or instructions that can be executed by the computer. Like a recipe, a sequence of programming instructions specifies the behaviour or action that should be produced.
Loops are a mechanism for running the same sequence multiple times.
Events – one thing causing another thing to happen – are an essential component of interactive media. For example, a start button triggering the beginning of a music video, or the collision of two objects causing a game’s score to increase.
Sequences of instructions happening at the same time.
Another key concept in interactive media is conditionals – the ability to make decisions based on certain conditions, which supports the expression of multiple outcomes.
Operators provide support for mathematical, logical and string expressions, enabling the programmer to perform numeric and string manipulations.
Data involves storing, retrieving and updating values. Data containers include variables (which can maintain a single number or string) and lists (which can maintain a collection of numbers or strings). Keeping score in a game is a frequent motivator for young designers to explore variables.
Source: Brennan & Resnick, AERA 2012