Integrated Computational Thinking

As of September, 2015, we have a new Integrated Computational Thinking project, CHEM+C!

Here is a link to a three-minute video about the concept. There is also a website for the CHEM+C project which is under development!

This is exciting work that we are doing in conjunction with University of Texas, Austin.

The new work is an extension and development of our past work on integrated computational thinking project, that had two components:

  • A method for development of activities by bringing together VT students (graduates and undergraduates) and K-12 core content teachers (mathematics, science, social sciences, or language arts).
  • A strategy for targeting computational thinking opportunities.

The strategy for the development of these activities is to:

  1. work with core content teachers (mathematics, science, social studies, language arts).  The rationale for this is to reach all students.
  2. find an instructional problem that the core content teachers experience.  The rationale for this is to make ultimate adoption more likely.
  3. ideate on the relationships between the teachers’ instructional problems and computational thinking.
  4. develop an intervention in the “sweet spot” that both solves  the instructional problem and provides a way of addressing an issue in learning to think computationally.

Projects developed include:

Some Integrated Computationl Thinking Activities

Target Class
Teacher Problem
Starting Approach
Theory of Change
Grover & Pea (2013) criteria
8th G Language Arts"Students get lost doing web searches"Put students in charge of managing and comparing web search resultsMake interesting and relevant the question of how web searches produce results leading to the question of how the students can master these CT tools.Systematic Processing of Information; Debugging & Systematic Error Detection
8th G Earth Science"Students don't understand scale"Give students experience with proportional size rather than absolute to anchor their thinking about very large and small objectsMake interesting and relevant how changing a representation (e.g. visualizing, modeling) can change human ideation leading to the questions of how abstraction can be used as a tool.Abstraction & Pattern Generalization; Iterative, Recursive & Parallel Thinking
7th G Social Studies (low SES setting)"Students have difficulty with sustained debate and discussion"Engage students with a targeted semi-structured process for categorizing & reflecting about historical documentsEnsure that students are systematic in their categorizations, leading to the perception that systematicity leads to mastery.Systematic Processing of Information
6th G Mathematics (Students failed 5th G standards test)"Students don't understand fractions; students keep doing the same thing without understanding that the situation is different."Use the shared digital drumming to focus on the meaning of fractions as divisions of time/along a number line.Make the question of segmenting time into "wholes" and "parts" interesting; revealing underlying patterns leading to the idea that systematic representational strategies.Symbolic Systems & Representations
These are some of the activities developed by VT student teams working with core content teachers from Henrico County Public School.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CNS-1132227.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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