Learn about the importance of computational thinking in solving complex problems and its use beyond coding.
What is computational thinking?
Computational thinking is an area of continued research and understanding, with many definitions. A common part of these definitions is that computational thinking is a problem solving approach.
In her 2017 occasional paper, Jeanette Wing defines computational thinking as the, "thought processes involved in formulating a problem and expressing its solutions(s) in a way that a computer - human or machine - can effectively carry it out."
How does computational thinking relate to coding?
Computational thinking can help us to communicate with computers, but it can also be used beyond coding. Richard Buckland argues that "Computational thinking became well-known when it was used to solve problems in coding, but the skill is much wider than coding. Computational thinking is, how do you systematically and rigorously solve problems in a very, very complex space." Computational thinking can be used across curriculum areas, as an approach to problem solving.
Computational thinking in the classroom
The Australian Curriculum includes computational thinking as part of the Digital Technologies. Yet, computational thinking skills can be taught across all subjects even without the use of technology. As Matt Bower notes, "There are lots of opportunities to apply computational thinking to humanities and social sciences disciplines. As Jeanette Wing mentioned, computational thinking is for everyone, everywhere." The resources below include ways to incorporate computational thinking in the classroom.