Why Teaching Computational Thinking is the Key to the Future

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In these days of pervasive multicore computing, no one would argue the importance of teaching parallel programming skill to our young people. Now Dr. Tom Crick from Cardiff Metropolitan University writes that its time to change the focus from just writing code to developing the crucial thinking skills and the ability to solve problems.

Computational thinking means creating and making use of different levels of abstraction, to understand and solve problems more effectively; it means thinking algorithmically and with the ability to apply mathematical concepts to develop more efficient, fair, and secure solutions; it means understanding the consequences of scale, not only for reasons of efficiency but also for economic and social reasons. And this is why it is important to teach computer science in schools: we need to embed principles and theory to develop a deeper conceptual understanding of how technology works and how it can be leveraged to solve problems. There is a quote commonly misattributed to Edsger Dijkstra: “Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.” — this is where computational thinking fits in, abstracting away the technology.

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