What is Computational Thinking? - Digital Promise

What is Computational Thinking?

Computational thinking is a skill set for solving complex problems, a way to learn topics in many disciplines, and a necessity for fully participating in a computational world.

Our working definition for computational thinking divides key concepts of computing into two categories: foundations and practices. Foundations are the cognitive processes necessary to engage in computing. Practices combine the foundations with additional skills and knowledge to solve an applied problem, whether that end result is a computer program, a better comprehension of a biological ecosystem, or an increased appreciation of how human migration patterns relate to geographical locations.

The image shows the foundations of computational thinking stacked underneath the four practices of computational thinking.

This working definition focuses on the foundations and practices of computational thinking. It is important to note that computational thinking overlaps, and yet is distinct from, computer science (the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, hardware and software designs, and impact on society) and coding (the practice of developing a set of instructions that a computer can understand and execute).

A venn diagram of computational thinking, coding, and computer science

Computational thinking, coding, and computer science are overlapping — but distinct

Micro-credentials for computational thinking

A micro-credential is a digital certificate that verifies an individual’s competence in a specific skill or set of skills. To earn a micro-credential, teachers submit evidence of student work from classroom activities, as well as documentation of lesson planning and reflection.

Because the integration of computational thinking is new to most teachers, micro-credentials can be a useful tool for professional learning and/or credentialing pathways. Digital Promise has created micro-credentials for Computational Thinking Practices. These micro-credentials are framed around practices because the degree to which students have built foundational skills cannot be assessed until they are manifested through the applied practices.

Visit Digital Promise’s micro-credential platform to find out more and start earning micro-credentials today!

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