A Definition of Computational Thinking from Jeannette Wing

Should everyone learn to code? I’m skeptical. Understanding computational thinking seems more useful—particularly since this includes an understanding of what is and isn’t amenable to being solved by computation, in practice.
via @Grady_Booch on Twitter.

Computing Education Blog

I met with Jeannette Wing yesterday, and we discussed the need for a good, authoritative definition of computational thinking.  I told her about the CE21 Community Meeting where I saw K-12 evaluators looking for a definition that they could use to develop an assessment of computational thinking at the middle school level.  Some of these evaluators were using the CS:Principles materials which made me uncomfortable — we designed those principles and practices to reflect what we saw as the core of computer science and as being appropriate for an advanced placement course.  We didn’t write these to be a guide to what middle school students need to know about how to think about and with computing.

She gave me a copy of the most recent The Link, a CMU publication, in which she has an article, “Computational Thinking — What and Why?”  She offers a definition…

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4 thoughts on “A Definition of Computational Thinking from Jeannette Wing

  1. Mark Guzdial

    If it’s possible. We know relatively little about computational thinking (e.g., how it develops, when it happens and when it doesn’t, how to measure it). I’m not convinced that anyone can transfer knowledge about computing into insights into their non-computing world without learning something about coding, in order to understand the computational notional machine (see Benedict duBoulay and Juha Sorva).

  2. gravbeast Post author

    Thanks for the comment, there certainly seem to be many questions still unanswered. If you have a reference for the duBoulay and Sorva work, do you mind posting the details? I’m more familiar with work on psychology of logic and reasoning – rather than on that of computational thinking, per se – so I’d be interested in reading further.

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