Computational Thinking for K-12 Educators: Sequences and Loops

Start Date: 11/05/2018

Course Type: Common Course

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About Course

How do we give instructions to a computer? Isn't programming hard? Not really! Whether it's giving someone directions to a nearby store or writing out some dance moves we frequently exhibit aspects of computational thinking in our everyday lives! This class teaches the first key concepts of programming -- sequences of instructions and basic counted repetition of instructions. 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 sequences and repeated instructions 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 a recommended pedagogical practice, Pair Programming, and find out why research recommends teaching block-based programming first.

Course Syllabus

Is computational thinking everywhere? Reflect on computational thinking in your life and brainstorm instructions for real world tasks. Discuss the process by which we become better computing teachers and create a block-based program in Snap by reordering a set of provided instructions.

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How do we give instructions to a computer? Isn't programming hard? Not really! Whether it's givin

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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 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 offering similar resources.
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.
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.
Design thinking The K12 Lab network is a part of the Stanford University 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.
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.
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.
Environmental groups and resources serving K12 schools The US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development consists of individuals, organizations, and institutions in the United States dedicated to education for sustainable development(ESD). The K-12 and Teacher Education Sector Team of the US Partnership includes experienced educators who help guide the development of a national ESD network of formal K-12 educators who are engaged in sustainability-related education, and who share the goal of preparing students to be informed participants in the development of sustainable communities. The intent of the K-12 and Teacher Education Sector is to focus on promoting ESD and its network as a whole, not to provide ESD services directly. The website has teaching resources.
Design thinking Design thinking in education typically takes three forms: helping school administrators solve institution-based problems, aiding educators to develop more creative lesson plans, and engendering design thinking skills in students.
K12 K12 (spoken as "k twelve", "k through twelve", or "k to twelve") comprises the sum of primary and secondary education in the United States, Canada, South Korea, Turkey, Philippines, Egypt, Australia, India, Afghanistan and Iran for publicly-supported school grades prior to college . The expression is a shortening of kindergarten (K) for 4- to 6-year-olds through twelfth grade (12) for 17- to 19-year-olds, the first and last grades of free education in these countries, respectively. The related term P–12 is also occasionally used in Australia and the United States, to refer to the sum of K12 plus preschool education.
Decimal sequences for cryptography S. Kak has proposed their use for error correction coding, cryptography and as random sequences. These sequences have fairly good autocorrelation properties.
Association for Computational Linguistics The Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) is the international scientific and professional society for people working on problems involving natural language and computation. An annual meeting is held each summer in locations where significant computational linguistics research is carried out. It was founded in 1962, originally named the Association for Machine Translation and Computational Linguistics (AMTCL). It became the ACL in 1968.