Computational thinking involves a set of skills that assists students and computer scientists alike to solve complex problems (Wang, Wang & Liu, 2013). The computational thinking process involves decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction and algorithmic design (Doleck, Bazelais, Lemay, Saxena & Basnet, 2017).
Doleck, Bazelais, Lemay, Saxena and Basnet (2017) suggest that creativity is a integral aspect of critical thinking and thus computational thinking. Moreover, it is suggested that when students are formulating solutions through use of computational skills and processes, they are engaging in creative processes. Computing and programming allows students to develop their creativity by having autonomy and independence in solving problems (Soh, Shell, Ingraham, Ramsay & Moore, 2015).
This video explores how Google uses computational thinking to solve problems they face, and how this is echoed in the classroom.
When computational thinking is used within the classroom students are provided with opportunities to develop critical skills that are relevant to the 21st century (Doleck, Bazelais, Lemay, Saxena & Basnet, 2017). Students are able to engage in collaborative problem solving, which is a major aspect of computational thinking. Through this collaborative work students are able to engage in metacognitive thinking, to reflect on their own and peers’ works. Furthermore, critical thinking is suggested to be a key part of computational thinking (Doleck, Bazelais, Lemay, Saxena & Basnet, 2017). Developing critical thinking skills allows us to think on deeper levels, evaluate problems and the effectiveness of our suggested solutions (Wang, Wang and Liu (2013).
An interesting application of computational thinking in schools is through the use of coding programs. For example, Ozobot is an engaging and exciting method of applying programming and coding in ways that are tangible for students. Ozobots can be used in various ways in the classroom. For example in the infant years of primary school, students can learn handwriting by programming the Ozobot to follow the path of the letters they draw on either paper or the Ipad using the Ozoblockly programming software. Through use of the Ozobot, programming and can be integrated into curriculum areas, such as Mathematics. When teaching students about directions and maps, students can use Ozobots to program in directions along a map integrating mathematical terms, such as parallel lines and lengths.
This video provides examples how programming is taught through use of Ozobot, and how it can be used within the classroom.
Here are further resources that Ozobot have published with practical classroom uses of Ozobots.
Doleck, T., Bazelais, P., Lemay, D., Saxena, J., & Basnet, A. (2017). Algorithmic thinking, cooperativity, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving: Exploring the relationship between computational thinking skills and academic performance. Journal of Computers in Education, 4(4), 355-369.
Google for Education (2012). Solving Problems at Google Using Computational Thinking. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVVB5RQfYxk.
Ozobot (2015). Ozobot – It’s Your Move. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm_H8HXWFZ4
Soh, L., Shell, D., Ingraham, E., Ramsay, S., & Moore, B. (2015). Learning through computational creativity. Communications of the ACM, 58(8), 33-35.