In the interest of changing this trend, Computer Science Education Week was born. From December 5-11 folks around the country are mobilizing to:
- Eliminate misperceptions about computer science and computing careers
- Communicate the endless opportunities for which computer science education prepares students within K-12, and into their higher education and careers
- Provide information and activities for students, educators, parents, and IT professionals to advocate for computer science education at all levels
Here's where PBL comes in. All teachers (not just CS teachers!) have a role in developing the computational thinking patterns that are foundational to computer science.
"Computational thinking is a way of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science. To flourish in today's world, computational thinking has to be a fundamental part of the way people think and understand the world."
One example? Middle school students in Ohio became concerned about broken city sidewalks that hampered mobility for senior and disabled citizens. By making an inventory of sidewalk quality and studying foot traffic patterns students were able to create a model that they presented to the city council in support of their recommendations for sidewalk repair. Identifying the problem so it could be studied through data inventory and analysis was just the start of the computational thinking involved in the sidewalk project. Determining how to associate foot traffic patterns and sidewalk quality was another computational challenge, as was how to best represent the problem in an infographic.
What aspects of your projects could be amped up to draw on and develop computational thinking?
Learn more about CT from Jeanette Wing: