The Long Quest for Computational Thinking
Denning, Peter J.
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Computational thinking (CT) is a popular phrase that refers to a collection of computational ideas and habits of mind that people in computing disciplines acquire through their work in designing programs, software, simulations, and computations performed by machinery. Recently a computational thinking for K–12 movement has spawned initiatives across the education sector, and educational reforms are under way in many countries. However, modern CT initiatives should be well aware of the broad and deep history of computational thinking, or risk repeating already refuted claims, past mistakes, and already solved problems, or losing some of the richest and most ambitious ideas in CT. This paper presents an overview of three important historical currents from which CT has developed: evolution of computing’s disciplinary ways of thinking and practicing, educational research and efforts in computing, and emergence of computational science and digitalization of society. The paper examines a number of threats to CT initiatives: lack of ambition, dogmatism, knowing versus doing, exaggerated claims, narrow views of computing, overemphasis on formulation, and lost sight of computational models.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2999541.2999542
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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