Computational Thinking: Activities

Computational Thinking: Activities

Konstantinos V. Zacharis (5th General Lyceum of Karditsa, Greece & University of Thessaly, Greece) and Antonios D. Niros (Experimental High School of Mytilene of the University of the Aegean, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4576-8.ch006

Abstract

Computational thinking is a novel problem-solving approach that enhances the interpolation of digital technologies with human ideas. It does not replace the emphasis on creativity, logical, and critical thinking, but rather highlights these skills by proposing ways to organize, modify, and formulate a problem so that it can be resolved by computers. In this work, exemplary computer thinking activities are proposed, which require modeling, problem-solving, planning, and optimization skills. Science-based learning, technology, engineering, art, mathematics, as well as modeling, simulation, programming, and robotics enhance and support computational thought.
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Background

Introduction of CT into the curricula of primary and secondary education should be a priority for policymakers in every country, for the forthcoming period. The necessity of this action is documented by the fact that the CT as a high-level skill transversely crosses all scientific fields of the curriculum, because it makes the student able to discover patterns, trends or norms within scattered/complex data logs, demonstrates an inductive/deductive reasoning, retrieves and analyzes logically information modules, models and simulates real world problems.

CT is a problem-solving approach that enhances the integration of digital technologies with human ideas. It does not replace the emphasis on creativity, logical or critical analysis. Instead, it highlights these skills through the description of ways and procedures for organizing and solving problems, that can be supported by the monotony of computer operations. In essence, it sets the foundations for the development of Artificial Intelligence.

The multifaceted set of concepts and skills, which are included in the CT methods, can be cultivated and taught in the classroom. It is a direction towards problem solving that is used by computer scientists. Many people confuse it with the specifics of computer operations. It is not actually related to this but merely to the way humans think when trying to solve a problem. Thus, modern students, equipped with computational devices of all kinds and using their logical thinking and imagination, are in a position to face problems that previous generations would not even have imagined.

By grouping the set of basic CT skills (see Figure 1), anyone usually refers to:

  • 1.

    Analysis - decomposition

  • 2.

    Generalization - abstraction

  • 3.

    Pattern recognition

  • 4.

    Automation - algorithm design

  • 5.

    Modelling - Simulation

  • 6.

    Optimization

Key Terms in this Chapter

Educational Robotics: Is an interdisciplinary learning environment based on the use of robots and electronic components to enhance the development of skills and competencies in students.

Block-Based Coding Language: A programming language that uses graphic elements as a means of providing visual cues to the user as to how and where commands may be used.

Text-Based Language: A programming language that does not involve graphical elements (blocks) as a main part of its programming language, but instead is mostly oriented around text.

STEM: The term STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is an acronym used by those relevant to the educational method concerning the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Programming: The process of planning, scheduling, or performing of a program for a device (such as a computer).

Computational Thinking: A novel problem-solving approach that enhances the interpolation of digital technologies with human ideas.

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