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QSITE 2014 – Computational Thinking as a 4 Step Process

Conrad Wolfram argues that Mathematics Education today should involve problem solving that is essentially a four step process. His steps are:

  1. Posing the right question  – of a real world problem/issue
  2. Real world -> math formulation  – that is, state the problem in terms of its mathematics components
  3. Computation – solve the mathematics models & formulas involved
  4. Verification  – implement the solutions into the original real world situation to verify their ‘correctness’, effectiveness, etc.

In the QSITE 2014 presentation I introduce Computational Thinking and how it can also be seen as a 4 Step Process, very similar to Conrad Wolfram’s approach.

Computational Thinking (CT)  is a problem-solving process that includes (but is not limited to)  the following characteristics:

  • Formulating problems in a way that enables us to use a computer and other tools to help solve them.
  • Logically organizing and analyzing data
  • Representing data through abstractions such as models and simulations
  • Automating solutions through algorithmic thinking (a series of ordered steps)
  • Identifying, analyzing, and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources
  • Generalizing and transferring this problem solving process to a wide variety of problems” – From International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) & Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), USA

Applying the 4 Step Process this becomes:

  1. Posing the right question (Computational Thinking)
  2. Real world -> modelling or technical formulation (Design or Algorithmic Thinking)
  3. Computation (Programming/Coding)
  4. Verification (Testing)

Part of this presentation is  a discussion of how CT can move beyond the undeniably important aspects of Step 3, and perhaps even change the way we teach subjects other than pure Computer Science.

QSITE 2014 Presentation: QSITE 2014 Presentation

 much of the material here is similar or the same as other presentations. The main addition is the discussion of the 4 Step Process and some introduction to practical examples of using this approach.

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Discussion

11 thoughts on “QSITE 2014 – Computational Thinking as a 4 Step Process

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