Sunday, September 13, 2015

Computational Thinking: How does it fit?

I joined an online class called 'Computational Thinking for Educators", offered by Google this summer.  I am intrigued with the use of algorithms to make "work" easier.  In what ways (IWW) might facilitating computational thinking enhance learner engagement in 5th grade?  IWW might computational thinking assist learners in better understanding their world?  IWW might it enhance our work in the area of sustainability and design thinking?  Perhaps adding this "dimension" will better allow me to differentiate for my high ability learners as I have found current curricula to be lacking in substance designed to meet the needs of the intellectually gifted students.

Here is a cool tool that utilizes algorithms:  ngrams to use to track word or phrase usage over time and within different cultures.  My students are currently studying physical regions of Virginia.  Students ponder how human systems are impacted by location.  The word civilization comes to mind here.  Has the definition of civilization changed over time?  Would there be evidence in literature?  How might other cultures view the term civilization?  IWW might students develop an algorithm to track travel from region to region using different forms of transportation (aka Google Maps)?

This is where I will endeavor to begin using computational thinking with my students.  I must say this course has further solidified my recent theory:  the older I get, the less I know.   This course has added a new facet of learning for me.  Thanks PLN for introducing me to "Google school"!

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