Stop saying we don’t know what Computational Thinking is!

We’ve come a long way in advancing K-12 computer science education over the past 10 years. We’ve got a long way to go. These two statements may seem at odds with each other, but it all depends on who “we” are.

Lately I’ve been talking about computer science education in wider circles, and I’ve noticed that the further out I go from “my people” –the CS education researchers and early adopter teachers– the more I hear things like “there’s still not really a firm definition of computational thinking.”

I can’t tell if these folks are where the CS Ed community was a few years back, or if they have heard the definition of computational thinking (CT) we’ve come up with and have rejected it. I think it’s the former. If so, how do we get the message out that not only is CT well-defined, but that we’ve already got a national framework and CS standards that have been set forth by experts from multiple sectors from across the country?

My colleagues Aman Yadav, Hai Hong, and Chris Stephenson recently published a lovely paper that is the perfect size and depth for sharing with people who are not yet up to speed with CS education. I encourage all of you to share it widely. We need to get the word out that we’ve been hard at work on this for years, that we DO know what CT is, and that we’re well on our way to implementing it in classrooms around the country!

What do you think? Has the CS Ed choir has been preaching to itself for too long? Leave your comments below.