Computational thinking; it’s not an explicit subject or concrete idea to be taught to students, but it is as essential to a child’s education as learning to read. In their early days students learn to read so that they can read to learn. Likewise, students must learn a way of thinking so they they might solve problems in a meaningful and understanding way. To give students this experience, they need to learn to think computationally.
What does computational thinking mean, and why is it so important? Computational thinking is a skill set that requires “using abstraction and decomposition when attacking a large complex task“ (Wing). When students are faced with a problem they should begin by breaking the problem up into smaller sub-problems, and using fundamental concepts to solve them. Jo Boaler illustrated in her book What’s Math Got To Do Wtih It?, students in America often learn by rote and understand very little about the principles behind the problems they solve. Each student’s brain is their tool box, and if their tool box is filled with cut outs and simple diagrams, when a slightly different problem comes along, they won’t know how to solve it. For this reason the approach of computational thinking to problem solving is extremely important and essential in k-12 education.