Computational Thinking for K-12 Educators: Variables and Nested Loops

Start Date: 11/05/2018

Course Type: Common Course

Course Link: https://www.coursera.org/learn/block-programming-k12-educators-variables-nested-loops

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About Course

How can students learn about abstraction by creating a movie scene? Or make an interactive map using lists? You'll learn (and do it yourself) in this course! This class teaches the concepts of abstraction (methods and parameters) and lists. For each concept, we'll start by helping you connect real-world experiences you are already familiar with to the programming concept you are about to learn. Next, through a cognitively scaffolded process we'll engage you in developing your fluency with problem solving with abstraction and lists in a way that keeps frustration at a minimum. Along the way you will learn about the common challenges or "bugs" students have with these concepts as well as ways to help them find and fix those concepts. You'll also be guided in running classroom discussions to help students develop deeper understanding of these concepts. Finally, you'll learn about the importance and logistics of assigning creative, student-designed programming projects. Additionally, you will create a personal plan for increasing your skills in supporting a culturally responsive learning environment in your classroom.

Course Syllabus

How can we simplify instructions further with repeats? How do you dance the chicken dance? We’ll cover these questions and more in this module! Learn how nested repeats work by making dance instructions, solving programming puzzles, and creating a program. Prepare for class discussions around challenging questions about nested repeats.

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Course Introduction

How can students learn about abstraction by creating a movie scene? Or make an interactive map usin

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Computational thinking Jeannette Wing envisioned computational thinking becoming an essential part of every child's education. However, since her article (published in 2006) integrating computational thinking into the K-12 curriculum has faced several challenges including the agreement on the definition of computational thinking. Currently Computational Thinking is broadly defined as a set of cognitive skills and problem solving processes that include (but are not limited to) the following characteristics:
Computational thinking Current integration computational thinking into the K-12 curriculum comes in two forms: in computer science classes directly or through the use and measure of computational thinking techniques in other subjects. Teachers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) focused classrooms that include computational thinking, allow students to practice problem-solving skills such as trial and error (Barr, et al, 2011). Valerie Barr and Chris Stephenson describe computational thinking patterns across disciplines in a 2011 ACM Inroads article However Conrad Wolfram has argued that computational thinking should be taught as a distinct subject.
Computational thinking The phrase "computational thinking" was brought to the forefront of the computer science community as a result of an ACM Communications article on the subject by Jeannette Wing. The article suggested that thinking computationally was a fundamental skill for everyone, not just computer scientists, and argued for the importance of integrating computational ideas into other disciplines.
Computational thinking The concept of Computational Thinking has been criticized as too vague, as it's rarely made clear how it is different from other forms of thought. Some computer scientists worry about the promotion of Computational Thinking as a substitute for a broader computer science education, as computational thinking represents just one small part of the field. Others worry that the emphasis on Computational Thinking encourages computer scientists to think too narrowly about the problems they can solve, thus avoiding the social, ethical and environmental implications of the technology they create.
Computational thinking Computational Thinking (CT) is the thought processes involved in formulating a problem and expressing its solution(s) in such a way that a computer—human or machine—can effectively carry out. Computational Thinking is an iterative process based on three stages: 1) Problem Formulation (abstraction), 2) Solution Expression (automation), and 3) Solution Execution & Evaluation (analyses) captured by the figure to the right. The term "computational thinking" was first used by Seymour Papert in 1980 and again in 1996. Computational thinking can be used to algorithmically solve complicated problems of scale, and is often used to realize large improvements in efficiency.
Computational thinking The characteristics that define computational thinking are decomposition, pattern recognition / data representation, generalization/abstraction, and algorithms. By decomposing a problem, identifying the variables involved using data representation, and creating algorithms, a generic solution results. The generic solution is a generalization or abstraction that can be used to solve a multitude of variations of the initial problem.
For loop An example of [[C (programming language)|C]] code involving nested for loops, where the loop counter variables are i and j:
Computational thinking Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh has a Center for Computational Thinking. The Center's major activity is conducting PROBEs or PROBlem-oriented Explorations. These PROBEs are experiments that apply novel computing concepts to problems to show the value of computational thinking. A PROBE experiment is generally a collaboration between a computer scientist and an expert in the field to be studied. The experiment typically runs for a year. In general, a PROBE will seek to find a solution for a broadly applicable problem and avoid narrowly focused issues. Some examples of PROBE experiments are optimal kidney transplant logistics and how to create drugs that do not breed drug-resistant viruses.
Computational thinking As far as a physical facility, in Central New Jersey, there is a small institution, named Storming Robots, offering technology programs to Grade 4 to 12 with an emphasis on Algorithmic and Computational Thinking via robotics projects throughout the school year. Students may follow its road map starting from Grade 4 until they graduate to college.
Computational thinking There are a handful of online institutions which provide curriculum, and other related resources to build and strengthen pre-college students with Computational Thinking, Analysis and Problems Solving. One prominent one is the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy. It offers training sessions for both pre-college students, as well as teachers. CMU's programs exercise instructional scaffolding methods via engineering process. There is also another online site named legoengineering.com. offering similar resources.
Design thinking The accountability to succeed on high-stakes standardized tests in K-12 environments prevents the implementation of design thinking curriculum. Educators feel that focusing on classic curriculum will better prepare their students to perform well on these exams. Resistance to design thinking also springs from concerns about the appropriateness of applying design thinking to an educational setting. It has been argued that design thinking is best applied by professionals who know a field well. Therefore, K-12 students who are limited by their reduced understanding of both the field and their still developing intellectual capacities may not be best suited to design thinking activities.
Nested loop join A nested loop join is a naive algorithm that joins two sets by using two nested loops. Join operations are important to database management.
Design thinking The K12 Lab network is a part of the Stanford University d.school and according to its website its mission is to "inspire and develop the creative confidence of educators and support edu innovators catalyzing new models for teaching and learning." The K12 Lab Network publishes a wiki with information on creating design challenges for K-12 schools. The wiki provides tools for thinking about design challenges as well as criteria for implementing design challenges.
Design thinking The Design Thinking for Educators toolkit was developed in 2011 by the design firm IDEO in partnership with the PreK-12 independent school Riverdale Country School. The Design Thinking for Educators toolkit that is currently offered to the public for free download is the second version. The Design Thinking for Educators toolkit is a comprehensive resource for educators to use, which includes a "walk-through of the design thinking process complete with examples and a downloadable workbook". The toolkit has been used in academic research to aid in the creation of an "iPad learning Ecosystem". to help design a program to aid at-risk youth in the transition from elementary to secondary school, as well as to redesign libraries.
Design thinking In addition to enriching curriculum and expanding student perspectives, design thinking can also benefit educators. Researchers have proposed that design thinking can enable educators to integrate technology into the classroom.
Nested stack automaton Nested stack automata should not be confused with embedded pushdown automata, which have less computational power.
Design thinking In the K-12 arena, design thinking is used to promote creative thinking, teamwork, and student responsibility for learning. The nonprofit Tools at Schools aims to expose students, educators, and schools to design thinking. The organization does this by facilitating a relationship between a school and a manufacturing company. Over a minimum of six months, representatives from the manufacturing company teach students the principles of design and establish the kind of product to be designed. The students collaborate to design a prototype that the manufacturer produces. Once the prototype arrives, the students must promote the product and support the ideas that lead to its design.
Nested function Nested functions assumes function scope or block scope. The scope of a nested function is inside the enclosing function, i.e. inside one of the constituent blocks of that function, which means that it is invisible outside that block and also outside the enclosing function. A nested function can access other local functions, variables, constants, types, classes, etc. that are in the same scope, or in any enclosing scope, without explicit parameter passing, which greatly simplifies passing data into and out of the nested function. This is typically allowed for both reading and writing.
African Society for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology The Society sees itself as conduit to promote the exchange of ideas, infrastructure and resources in the fields of bioinformatics and computational biology and facilitate the interaction and collaboration among scientists and educators around the world.
Nested function In languages with nested functions, functions may normally also contain local constants, and types (in addition to local variables, parameters, and functions), encapsulated and hidden in the same nested manner, at any level of depth. This may further enhance the code structuring possibilities.