Gunjan Tomar and Vineeta Garg share the of significance computational thinking, now and into the future…

Steve Jobs once said, “Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer … because it teaches you how to think.” No-one must have realized how foresighted Steve Jobs was at the time. Now, many years later, when thinking about this quote, we understand how true it is.

What is computational thinking?

In general, computational thinking is an ordered way of thinking that enables users to solve problems. If we delve deeper to understand more about computational thinking skills, we understand that various strategies and tools involved to solve complex problems are also a part of computational thinking. Coding or computer programming can be illustrated as the practice of developing a set of instructions that a computer can understand and execute, as well as debugging, organizing, and applying that code to appropriate problemsolving contexts.

ISTE and CSTA define computational thinking as:

Computational thinking (CT) is a problem-solving process that includes (but is not limited to) the following characteristics:
• Formulating problems in a way that enables us to use a computer and other tools to help solve them
• Logically organizing and analyzing data
• Representing data through abstractions such as models and simulations
• Automating solutions through algorithmic thinking (a series of ordered steps)
• Identifying, analyzing, and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources
• Generalizing and transferring this problem-solving process to a wide variety of problems. 1

So, what does this all mean?

Reviewing the above-mentioned pointers critically, we understand that these can be considered as key life skills to help individuals with any kind of learning or to perform various day-to-day tasks at work or at home. We can say that computational thinking skills are necessary because they impact on learning in other disciplines by equipping you with the basic skills of identifying and analysing the problem, brainstorming ways to address it effectively, and finally, generating a stepwise/phase-wise plan to solve it effectively by choosing the best possible solution. Coding enhances computational thinking skills by promoting logical thinking, providing room for students’ creativity. Children who learn how to code strengthen their critical thinking skills, develop logical and analytical thinking, and are greater team players.

With experimentation and immense innovation in the field of technology during the pandemic, we are now experiencing a technology revolution, a new world in which reading and writing code is becoming a new form of digital literacy. Preparing our younger generations for this technological revolution is crucial for their future and ours.

Coding is now what mathematics was to the Industrial Revolution, and it is becoming a basic literacy of the digital age. It has become even more important to introduce it to children as early as possible.

Computational thinking skills benefit students in their academic domain and address some of the higher-order thinking skills of Bloom’s Taxonomy – applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating. When children tackle problems on their own, they become resilient and learn to look at challenges from a different perspective. The earlier children begin solving problems, the more readily they can deal with larger challenges as they mature.

 

Computational thinking skills – benefits

Promotes logical thinking

Logical thinking is required in every sphere of life to make sense of the things around us and the subjects we learn. Logical thinking skills promote skills like analytical thinking, reasoning, math and problem-solving. These skills are also the skills required for future workforces. Their development at an early age prepares students for future jobs by the acquisition of the required skill set.

Develops students’ creativity

Creating is the topmost cognitive level of Bloom’s taxonomy which is also a validation of possession of attitude and skills to create something new using existing disciplinary knowledge and understanding of concepts. Future jobs also require this skill where students and use their knowledge and understanding of various disciplines to create products or solutions to the problems at hand.

Improves communication skills

To be able to organize thoughts in a sequential or logical manner not only improves logical thinking skills but also empowers an individual to express his or her thoughts and ideas effectively by communicating to others in a stepwise manner. This not only makes the information shard easy to comprehend, but also improves the chances of retaining this information for a longer period of time.

Improves problem-solving skills

It helps the student to critically understand and review the problem/s, analyze the same to brainstorm best possible solutions of the problem encountered and work out effective solutions to the problem. This not only facilitates inter-disciplinary connections but is also an important skill for the future workforce.

References

1 What Is Computational Thinking? – Computational Thinking for High School Teachers (ctpdonline.org)

Authors

  • Gunjan Tomar

    Gunjan is an activities and service as action coordinator, CAS coordination and emotional learning faciliatator at DPS International. She is a workshop leader, international speaker and develops CBSE resources. She is passionate about social-emotional learning and making classrooms inclusive.
    twitter icon Instagram icon Website icon

    View all posts
  • Vineeta Garg

    Vineeta is an IT head who is passionate about music. She has written and sung many songs on social issues, as well as jingles to help children overcome their anxiety of learning to code. Her outstanding contributions in the field of education have won her many national and international awards.
    twitter icon LinkedIn icon Instagram icon Website icon

    View all posts