the tools of carpentry, the way a carpenter thinks.
Closer to home, the “kids these
days” use all manner of digital—read:
computational—tools. Before drawing
the obvious conclusion, consider the
Vignette 1: Consider the following
two problems, drawn from a research
˲ (Algebraic Context): Given the following statement: “There are six times
as many students as professors at this
JEANNETTE WING’S 2006 Com- munications Viewpoint on computational thinking5 ig- nited a worldwide movement o give students new knowledge and skills to solve problems in
their daily lives. Quickly, teachers, curriculum and standards writers, and
other education specialists were proposing what children needed to know
about computation and how to develop a computational mindset. There is
still little evidence that knowing about
computation improves everyday problem-solving, but there is no doubt that
Wing’s call to action led to a broad and
The computational thinking movement puts the onus on the student and
on the education system. They argue
that if we change humans to think in
ways that are informed by how we now
work with computers, that will have problem-solving advantages for the humans.
If a city does not work for the residents, we could change the residents.
Alternatively, we could redesign the city.
The best urban redesign has citizens
understanding the purpose and actively
participating, so there is parallel development of both the city and the citizens.
Children today already think with
computation. If we want better think-
ing and problem-solving, we have to
improve the computing and use that to
change our teaching. We put the onus
back on the computer scientists and
other computationalists. It is our job to
For Our Children, Computational
Thinking Is Just Thinking
Tool use shapes thinking. While we
might not think like a carpenter when
we start using carpentry tools, if we
apply ourselves (for example, reflect
on our doing, as Dewey suggests2), we
can develop carpentry thinking. We
can learn to see what is possible with
Just be Good Thinking
Seeking to change computing teaching to improve computer science.