Monday, July 13, 2009

Time to do more with computational thinking

So, if you've read this blog before you know I'm not happy with what is passing for 21st Century skills education in the United States. Some colleagues and I have been talking about what we can do to move things along in a direction we'd be happy with. I suggested we need to get computational thinking embedded in national content standards. We don't need a whole new set of standards directed at computational thinking we need to help move the existing content standards into the 21st Century.

Last week I was at a meeting of the Diversity Council for Engineers Week. The engineering community is struggling with this issue as well. They'd like to see engineering education take place in high school. A few states do allow elective engineering courses to count toward the high school graduation science requirement. Obviously the Diversity Council is working to encourage diversity to be a cornerstone of engineering recruitment. The efforts to inform and encourage youth to explore engineering is reaching down into the middle grades.

Can computational thinking reach down into the middle school? There are people and programs doing that today, but they aren't having a large-scale impact. Can computational thinking find a place in Engineers Week; does it need something different? What are your thoughts about expanding awareness about computational thinking?