The world is constantly changing. As working environments shift, new skills are needed to succeed. That’s why, at Thought, we believe in giving learners the tools they need to thrive in the 21st century. One of these key skills in computational thinking.
So what do we mean by computational thinking?
It might sound a little intimidating, but computational thinking is actually an easy concept to learn and a lot of fun to put into practice. Basically, it’s a way to identify and solve problems. It can be used in any context, and by any learner, regardless of age or learning level. It comes in four simple parts:
Decomposition, which is when you take a tough problem and break it down in smaller pieces which are easier to manage.
Pattern recognition — looking for similarities between problems.
Abstraction, which is just a fancy way of saying: focus on the important info only, and ignore the irrelevant stuff!
And, finally, algorithms. These sound like those scary things from your Grade 10 maths class, but really they are any step-by-step solution to solve a particular problem.
This kind of computational thinking is vital for teaching learners to give and receive instructions clearly, as well as to understand and tackle complex tasks. It works whether you’re trying to solve for x, write an A+ essay, or design the next invention that will change the world.
So how can learners practise this skill? One of the best ways is through robotics. Programming robots requires every stage of the computational thinking process. With robots like the mBot, learners can see immediately if their strategy worked — or if they need to try a different plan.
To find out more about computational thinking, you can check out websites like Scratch and Blockly.