Computational Thinking in K–12: A report in Ed Researcher
Shuchi Grover and Roy Pea (Stanford) have a review of the field of computational thinking in K-12 schools in this month’s Educational Researcher. It’s a very nice paper. I’m excited that the paper is published where it is! Educational Researcher is the main publication venue for the largest education research organization in the United States (American Educational Research Association). Roy has been doing work in computing education for a very long time (e.g., “On the prerequisites of learning computer programming,” 1983, Pea and Kurland). This is computational thinking hitting the education mainstream.
Jeannette Wing’s influential article on computational thinking 6 years ago argued for adding this new competency to every child’s analytical ability as a vital ingredient of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning. What is computational thinking? Why did this article resonate with so many and serve as a rallying cry for educators, education researchers, and policy makers? How have they interpreted Wing’s definition, and what advances have been made since Wing’s article was published? This article frames the current state of discourse on computational thinking in K–12 education by examining mostly recently published academic literature that uses Wing’s article as a springboard, identifies gaps in research, and articulates priorities for future inquiries.