computational thinking and curriculum

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Digital Technologies in action

Computational Thinking and CurriculumNick ReynoldsLearning With Interactive DevicesEDUC90588 2015Melbourne Graduate School of EducationThe CurriculumThere will be a Digital Technologies curriculum in Victorian Schools in 2015It is mandatedIt has Achievement Standards that can be reached on their own or as embedded in other Learning Areas Difference between Integrated and Embedded?This is important in many ways both nationally and internationallyREAD THE DOCUMENT!Key Concepts (page 23, ACARA)These are the building blocks of the curriculumThey tell you whyAchievement Standards (at end of each year level)They tell you what should be achievedCan be seen as working towards as well as at the end ofContent Descriptors (each year level and Scope and Sequence)They say what is containedThey provide specific guidanceProvide opportunities to build assessment3Key Concepts (p.23)Abstraction, which underpins all content, particularly the content descriptions relating to the concepts of data representation and specification, algorithms and implementationData collection (properties, sources and collection of data), data representation (symbolism and separation) and data interpretation (patterns and contexts)Specification (descriptions and techniques), algorithms (following and describing) and implementation (translating and programming)Digital systems (hardware, software, and networks and the internet) Interactions (people and digital systems, data and processes) and impacts (sustainability and empowerment) 4DISCUSSIONAbstractionData collectiondata representation

data interpretation implementationalgorithmsSpecificationDigital systems Interactionsimpacts What do they mean?Key Concepts (p.23)Abstraction, which underpins all content, particularly the content descriptions relating to the concepts of data representation and specification, algorithms and implementation

Ignoring what is not relevantBreaking a problem into small, easily workable components

For example, when students are asked how to make toast for breakfast, they do not mention all steps explicitly, assuming that the listener is an intelligent implementer of the abstract instructions (ACARA)6Key Concepts (p.23)Data collection (properties, sources and collection of data)What is collected, measured, calculated (the basis of digital systems)

Data representation (symbolism and separation)How it is shown (represented) in digital systems

Data interpretation (patterns and contexts)Making meaning from data7Key Concepts (p.23)Specification (descriptions and techniques)Describing, defining and clarifying the problem: I need to go from A to BI want golden brown, hot toast for breakfast

Algorithms (following and describing reading and writing)The menu or set of instructions to tell you how to go from A to B: Go forward 4 steps, turn left (to avoid table) Take bread from packet, turn on toaster, put bread in toaster, push slide button down.

8Key Concepts (p.23)Implementation (translating and programming)Actually writing the code automating the algorithm, applying the above stepsLIST: bread, toaster, power, knife, butter IF brown ELSE

9Problem:Provide instructions for someone to go from this room to the Melbourne Museum.SpecificationAbstractionAlgorithmImplementationAutomationKey Concepts (p.23)Digital systems (hardware, software, and networks and the internet) The whole lot!Often overlooked but there are significant interactions going on between systems every time something is done digitally:Connecting a cameraGetting hardware to talk to hardware (or software)Saving to a network drive11Key Concepts (p.23)Interactions (people and digital systems, data and processes) The relationships between computers (hardware and software) and people

Impacts (sustainability and empowerment) What happens (or could happen) when people use computers.Safety, security, development, social connection 12Computational ThinkingPaperts notion of technology as objects to think with (p. 11)Wing (2006) defines computational thinking as a way that humans, not computers think (p. 35).mental tools and metal tools (computers)the power of our mental tools is amplified through the power of our metal tools (Wing, 2008, p. 3718) the ability to think computationally (a human quality) is paramount in achieving outcomes not achievable without those metal tools. a universally applicable attitude and skill set everyone, not just computer scientists, would be willing to learn and use (Wing, 2006, p. 33).

Computational ThinkingPapert uses the term think like a computer the term does not mean to only or always think like a computer, rather it is a powerful addition to a persons stock of mental tools (Papert, 1993, p. 155). When Papert asks himself to think like a computer, he does so knowing that it does not close of other epistemologies. It simply opens new ways for approaching thinking (p. 155).Papert, S. (1993). Mindstorms: Children, computers and powerful ideas (2nd ed.). New York: Basic BooksWing, J. (2006). Computational Thinking. Communications of the ACM, 49(3), 33-35. Wing, J. (2008). Computational thinking and thinking about computing. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 366, 3717-3725. Computational ThinkingIn its most basic, but possibly its most universally accepted form, computational thinking requires a mindset or thinking approach that applies an understanding of the way computers work (think, act, function, are programmed) in order to solve complex contemporary problemsReynolds, N., Swainston, A. & Bendrups, F (2014 in press). Music Technology and Computational Thinking: Young people displaying competence. In T. Brinda, N. Reynolds, R. Romeike & A. Shwill (2014). Proceedings of the KEYCIT2014 Conference, Potsdam, Germany. IFIP, University of Potsdam, Commentarii informaticae didacticae (CID). (pp. 279-284)Three (general)approaches

Look at current practice (What am I or my school doing?)A careful investigation of practice and a re-alignment to allow specific focus on Digi Tech

Look at new ways of approaching things (What does the curriculum want me/let me do?)Starting point is the curriculum accompanied by a knowledge of or desire to do something new (coding, programming)

Rely on specific knowledge and skill in application (What do I already know and how can I make it fit?)Specific content knowledge enables looking at Digi Tech (or what is already in their program) and expand to suit.AssessmentWhat students: MakeSayDoWriteEvidence in those thingsMultiple opportunities to collect that evidenceThe products and processesIn order for to happen must have happenedCan we create tasks whose very completion require the student to have gained the required skills and knowledge? If we can, why then do we need to test that knowledge?THANK YOU


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