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my view computational thinking has
abstracted us too far away from the
heart of computation—the machine.
The world would be a tedious place if
we had to do all our computational
thinking ourselves; that is why we in-
vented computers in the first place.
Yet, the new school curricula across the
world have lost focus on hardware and
how code executes on it.
When visiting a series of eight primary school classrooms recently, I
talked to children ( 5 to 12 years old)
about how computers work. They drew
pictures of what they thought is inside
a computer, and then we discussed the
drawings as a class.
Many of the children knew the
names of the components within a
computer: a chip, memory, a disc, and
Want to Know
October 19, 2018
There is a mismatch between what we
teach children about computing at
school and what they want to know.
More than a decade ago, computer
science educators coined the phrase
computational thinking to refer to the
unique cleverness of the way computer
scientists approach problem solving.
“Our thinking is based on abstraction,
decomposition, generalization, and
pattern matching,” we said, “and everyone will find it useful to think like this
in their everyday lives. So please stop
asking us to fix your printer.” Computational thinking has been a hugely successful idea and is now taught at school
in many countries across the world.
Although I welcome the positioning
of computer science as a respectable,
influential intellectual discipline, in
Judy Robertson addresses the disconnect between what children
are taught about computers and what they actually wish to know.
DOI: 10.1145/3290404 http://cacm.acm.org/blogs/blog-cacm