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Title: Demystifying computational thinking

This paper examines the growing field of computational thinking (CT) in education. A review of the relevant literature shows a diversity in definitions, interventions, assessments, and models. After synthesizing various approaches used to develop the construct in K-16 settings, we have created the following working definition of CT: The conceptual foundation required to solve problems effectively and efficiently (i.e., algorithmically, with or without the assistance of computers) with solutions that are reusable in different contexts. This definition highlights that CT is primarily a way of thinking and acting, which can be exhibited through the use particular skills, which then can become the basis for performance-based assessments of CT skills. Based on the literature, we categorized CT into six main facets: decomposition, abstraction, algorithm design, debugging, iteration, and generalization. This paper shows examples of CT definitions, interventions, assessments, and models across a variety of disciplines, with a call for more extensive research in this area.
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Award ID's:
1660859; 1628937
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Educational research review
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation