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Computational Thinking: An Important Skill for All Students Joe Kmoch Milwaukee Public Schoolsjoe@jkmoch.com

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#NAFNext Session Description Computational thinking has a place in virtually every curriculum and every walk of life. This session will explore the definition of computational thinking, consider how it is related to information technology, and review various materials that can be used to infuse this essential 21st Century skill across the curriculum.

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Three Statements about Computational Thinking Based on 9 computer science practices and their application to most subject domains o Data Collection, Data Analysis, Data Representation, Problem Decomposition, Abstraction, Algorithms, Automation, Simulation, Parallelization Related to Common Core in Mathematics Probably our best shot to getting Computer Science experience in K-12 3

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A Digital Age Skill for All Joe Kmoch Milwaukee Washington HS of IT joe@jkmoch.com

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I am working on computational thinking issues. I want to learn more about computational thinking. I’m not sure about computational thinking. Who is in the audience?

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Critical Thinking + Computing Power = Making Decisions or Innovating Solutions (Think “Create, Produce, Manipulate”) What is CT?

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The core principles of Computer Science are the basis for Computational Thinking. CT is the use of CS principles in problem domains What is CT?

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A Digital Age Skill for Everyone Why CT? Why Now?

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The number of computer science graduates declined 70% since the peak in 2001 Thru 2020: Projected job openings ~1.4m Projected pipeline ~450k There is a need to fill the skills gap to keep up with technology innovation To maintain global economic competitiveness and national security Why has the NSF Prioritized CT?

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To accomplish the following goals: Prepare young learners to become computational thinkers who understand how to use today’s digital tools to help solve tomorrow’s problems. Help teachers envision the potential of CT across all disciplines and be willing to integrate CT in the classroom. Why has CSTA and ISTE Prioritized CT?

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The knowledge and skills that students need to know and be able to do by the time they graduate from secondary school. CT for All Students

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The CT Student

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CT for All Teachers All teachers can and should be responsible for teaching skills, practice, and assessment of CT. This is not a “computer thing”.

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CT for All Teachers Most teachers already incorporate CT basics, but may not know it.

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CT for All Teachers CT has a shared vocabulary that can be highlighted in lessons from every discipline.

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CT for All Teachers CT is made up of foundational building blocks of concepts, skills, and dispositions that get more sophisticated as students get older.

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CT for All Teachers CT doesn’t necessarily require computers.

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CT Operational Definition (handout)

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CT is a problem-solving process that includes (but is not limited to) the following characteristics: Formulating problems in a way that enables us to use a computer and other tools to help solve them Logically organizing and analyzing data Representing data through abstractions such as models and simulations CT Operational Definition

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Automating solutions through algorithmic thinking Identifying, analyzing, and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources Generalizing and transferring this problem-solving process to a wide variety of problems CT Operational Definition CT characteristics (cont.):

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Dispositions or attitudes that are essential dimensions of CT: Confidence in dealing with complexity Persistence in working with difficult problems Tolerance for ambiguity CT Operational Definition

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Dispositions or attitudes that are essential dimensions of CT (cont.): The ability to deal with open-ended problems The ability to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal or solution CT Operational Definition

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Computational Thinking is The marriage of –the big ideas in computer science (such as abstraction, algorithms, modeling, problem decomposition) –with problems and big ideas in most other subject matter domains CT Operational Definition

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CT Building Blocks (handout)

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Elementary school Data collection Algorithms and procedures CT in the Classroom

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Middle school Problem decomposition CT in the Classroom

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High school Abstraction CT in the Classroom

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Technique of generalizing from specific instances (dealing with both process and data) Capturing essential common characteristics while discarding unessential characteristics Operating simultaneously at multiple layers and define relationships between layers What is abstraction?

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Cooking a Meal Abstraction Cooking a meal At the highest level we might have the list of courses that make up the meal –Appetizer(s) –Soup/salad –Entree –Dessert And probably an order in which to work on them (project timeline) 29

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Cooking a Meal Abstraction At the next level, we might have the details of the individual parts –The recipes, for example At the next level, we might have the details of how to do certain cooking actions –doing a reduction or –pureeing, or –rolling dough (All process abstractions) 30

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Example of data abstraction This Chicago transit map is a data abstraction; contains essential info like stations and transfer points, avoids details like exact street locations of stations or distances 31

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Process Abstractions of the mind Techniques For example: Divide and Conquer Abstraction of how to solve a problem, not actually a solution to any particular problem. Take a problem and divide it into several piece Solve or complete each piece Re-combine the pieces to solve original problem 32

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CT Learning Experiences

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Traffic Jam (activity)

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Another activity Review the Computational Thinking within Disciplines Chart With at least one other person talk about at least one lesson that you could modify in your class which would involve one or more of the CT Concepts or Capabilities on the left column ?? minutes then we’ll share

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CCSC: Standards for Mathematical Practice 1.Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them 2.Reason abstractly and quantitatively 3.Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others 4.Model with mathematics 5.Use appropriate tools strategically 6.Attend to precision 7.Look for and make use of structure 8.Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

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CCSC: Standards for Mathematical Content High School: Modeling Modeling Standards Modeling is best interpreted not as a collection of isolated topics but rather in relation to other standards. Making mathematical models is a Standard for Mathematical Practice, and specific modeling standards appear throughout the high school standards indicated by a star symbol ( ★ ).

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CT Statement #1 CT is a key interdisciplinary component in preparing students to be successful in a globally competitive workforce. If students are going to be successful in postsecondary education and compete for and win jobs, they must have the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that CT provides (Wagner). From ISTE CT Website, Computational Leadership Toolkit (8/22/11), p 42 Tony Wagner, Innovation Education Fellow, Technology and Entrepreneurship Center, Harvard U

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CT Statement #2 CT is a critical enabling skill that will raise the level of achievement for all students, especially those who are traditionally marginalized. Successful students must be able to connect and apply academic content to real-world situations, and CT provides a framework for that learning connection (Marzano). From ISTE CT Website, Computational Leadership Toolkit (8/22/11), p 42 Robert J Marzano, Marzano Research Laboratory

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CT Statement #3 CT is already a learning strategy in many classrooms and lessons today. However, we need to more closely examine the uses of CT and identify and expand student and teacher awareness about its impact and power. This means we probably do not have to expend large sums of money. We just need to recognize and align CT strategies to current practices. From ISTE CT Website, Computational Leadership Toolkit (8/22/11), p 42

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NSF CE21 proposals require CT prominently CSTA K-12 CS Standards, 3 rd ed (CT is a major focus of these new standards) New AP Computer Science Principles and Exploring CS Curricula – CT plays a major role CT is gaining traction!

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Consuming content and parroting procedures is 19 th and 20 th Century 21 st Century Education is about process, about learning tools and skills to remake content, create new learning and solve problems (think creators, producers) Not about just formal education in school but also about informal education – 24 hour learning – the network CT promotes 21 st Century Learning Re-Imagining Learning in the 21 st Century: MacArthur Foundation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6_U6jOKsG4&feature=relmfu Rethinking Learning: The 21 st Century Learner: MacArthur Foundation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0xa98cy-Rw&feature=relmfu

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Contextual Multidisciplinary Project-based and inquiry based Looking deeply at a problem Using abstraction + algorithms + analysis + bringing to bear any number of tools + possibly automation/computing CT Features

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CT isn’t necessarily useful for all problems...but for many of our largest problems involving sciences, environment, social studies for example where large datasets abound and modeling and simulation techniques are useful CT for our larger problems

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Technology Review (June 2012) 10 Emerging Technologies – among them: Egg Stem Cells Ultra-Efficient Solar Light-field Photography Solar Microgrids 3-D Transistors A Faster Fourier Transformation Nanopore Sequencing CT in Emerging Technologies

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Develop an understanding of CT Highlight CT vocabulary, skills, and dispositions in your lessons Extend current activities and lessons with CT Engage and share with others who are new to CT Teachers, here’s what you can do

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Use the CT Leadership Toolkit Make a CT presentation to your colleagues or at a conference Connect CT to school improvement efforts Support teachers who want to learn more about CT School Leaders Take Action!

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Provide feedback on the session, the effectiveness of resources, and the kinds of the resources you’d like to see developed Take the Understanding Computational Thinking survey: Online: www.iste.org/CT-Surveywww.iste.org/CT-Survey By Paper Take Action Now!

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CT Teacher Resources and CT Leadership Toolkit For free download at www.iste.org/computational-thinkingwww.iste.org/computational-thinking Coming Soon! CT database for links to research and other teacher resources. CT Resources

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For more information, contact: computational-thinking@iste.org Or http://csta.acm.org/Curriculum/sub/CompThinking.html www.iste.org/computational-thinking Joe’s site: http://computationalthinking.pbworks.comhttp://computationalthinking.pbworks.com Thank you!

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