With the increase in technological advancement and the ability to manipulate these technologies becoming central learning- and career-ready skills, training students on programming, questioning, and manipulating digital gadgets has become common in schools. However, coding is the application of learning, and learners can perform these tasks effectively; they need to understand the concept of this application.
Computational thinking is a necessary skill for understanding future technologies. It is a cognitive process rather than a segment of knowledge about a language or device. CT is always linked with coding and computers, but it is safe to know that students can learn it without devices.
Discover more about computational thinking in this article.
What is computational thinking?
From an educational perspective, computational thinking is a group of problem-solving skills involving the expression of problems and their solutions in a way that computers can execute. It is common for computers to take instructions literally and sometimes to unexpected results. So, if you don’t provide computers with precise and detailed instructions, the algorithm might not include necessary actions taken for granted.
For instance, take a simple task like brushing your teeth. Initially, this will look like a much simpler activity, but in the long run, it involves several steps. Generally, you’ll need a toothbrush, toothpaste, running tap water, and then you will have to put the paste on the brush.
After brushing your teeth, remember to run the brush under the flowing water. As it can be noted, a simple activity like this actually involves several steps, and if you miss a step or do not follow the correct order, you might end up making a mistake.
Computational skills help learners develop essential skills for boosting their employability and boost client satisfaction. Computer science is the leading job market in terms of growth, and those with basic skills are highly looked for in various sectors across the world.
Though the hard tech computer skills are equally important, it is the soft skills of problem-solving and critical thinking, and reasoning that most employers find attractive. These key success skills are the foundation to understanding why CT is so important.
Key components for computational thinking
Basically, there are four key skills of computational thinking;
- Pattern recognition
- Algorithm design
- Pattern abstraction
This is the process of breaking down complicated problems into simple, manageable pieces. For young ones, you can teach them decomposition by letting them train you on performing simple tasks.
Decomposition allows learners to evaluate the problem at hand and develop solutions or steps to make this task happen. This is an essential life skill that will enable students to handle more complex tasks in the future. They will learn how to work on team projects and time management.
2. Pattern recognition
Pattern recognition basically identifies patterns in the puzzles and determines if any of the past problems and solutions apply to the task at hand. It involves asking yourself if what was learned in the past can help us solve the current problem.
There are several ways to teach pattern recognition in a classroom. Younger kids can benefit from studying patterns through colored blocks and music. While older students can learn it through exploring patterns in multiplication charts or periodic tables.
Instructors can only give learners objects with repeated patterns to build and only provide instruction in the first part.
3. Pattern abstraction and generalization
Pattern generalization allows learners to identify relevant details to solve a problem and disregard those unrelated to the tasks at hand. Identifying vital details in a problem and leaving those that do not matter is the most challenging part of computational learning.
An example of a common activity that is used to develop the concept of pattern abstraction and generalization is the escape room. Participants are required to solve a series of quizzes, riddles, locks, and puzzles to escape their rooms within the shortest time possible.
Young learners can benefit from building activities where there are different pieces and materials are offered that are not part of the design. They will have to understand which factors are important to the design and which ones are irrelevant.
4. Algorithm design
Algorithm design is the process of setting out the rules and steps to follow to get the some desired results every time. The easiest way to teach learners this concept is to provide them with tasks and let them write the processes.
Computational thinking is a thought process that is aimed at developing solutions to problems through computational skills. These skills will help young students handle bigger problems rationally, not only in their professional life but also in their day-to-day life.
Computational should be taught to current children to make them more creative and innovative future leaders who can face problems and challenges in a sober and creative manner.
Also read: ChatGPT at Highest Capacity: How To Fix It?