Google: Exploring Computational Thinking

November 6, 2010 at 3:08 am 7 comments

Pretty interesting: Google is offering a definition of computational thinking, and a set of resources created by Google engineers working with teachers.

Google is committed to promoting computational thinking throughout the K-12 curriculum to support student learning and expose everyone to this 21st century skill.

What is Computational Thinking? Computational thinking (CT) involves a set of problem-solving skills and techniques that software engineers use to write programs that underlay the computer applications you use such as search, email, and maps. Below is a list of specific techniques along with real world examples from our every day lives.

via Google: Exploring Computational Thinking.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Fernando  |  November 6, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Hello,
    It will be interesting to know your thoughts on the definition Google gave of “Computational Thinking”. By the examples given for each technique on the page, it appears that they are also use in “mathematil thinking” or “scientific thinking”. Then what’s the “point” on putting them together? or is it that, as individuals, it makes no difference as they are used in many areas, but when a person applies then all together to solve a problem, then it is computational thinking?
    Thanks.

    Reply
  • 2. Alan Kay  |  November 6, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Google could have done this very differently (and much better).

    The views of mathematics, science and computation are extremely weak and aimed much more at “applying patterns and using already given tools and asserted facts” rather than understanding and making.

    And, there are some exercises that defy my description — such as the “semi-permeable membrane” one cast as an abstraction rather than just making a particle simulation to show how it works for simple cases. (This one is quite bizarre)

    Cheers,

    Alan

    Reply
    • 3. John "Z-Bo" Zabroski  |  November 6, 2010 at 5:44 pm

      I guess you aren’t familiar with Google’s views on education, where they donate supercomputers to CS departments in exchange for some control over the curriculum. Google wants every engineer from their feeder schools to graduate knowing map reduce, not how to design software.

      Reply
      • 4. Mark Guzdial  |  November 10, 2010 at 9:46 am

        I’m pretty familiar with CS curriculum efforts, and I’ve worked with Google’s education folks. I’ve never heard of a single instance of Google trying to influence anyone’s curriculum (nor even of Google donating supercomputers to CS departments, but that’s not something I keep on top of). Berkeley has moved heavily into map-reduce, but that’s because Dan Garcia came up with a really great idea on how to do it in Scheme, not that Google pushed them to do it.

        Reply
        • 5. John "Z-Bo" Zabroski  |  November 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm

          Maybe the comments I read on this subject I took the wrong way, but I remember reading faculty saying something to the effect of “woohoo! free hardware!” in reaction to Google wanting courses on Google-scale problem solving.

          Reply
  • 6. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  November 6, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I found the “lesson plans” rather lacking. I looked at one in http://gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/computational-thinking-lesson-plans/

    Reply
  • 7. Leigh Ann Sudol-DeLyser  |  November 6, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    This seems very limiting to me as a definition. Where is the broad, sweeping interdisciplinary vision that Jeanette Wing dreamed of?

    Reply

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