What is Computational Thinking?
Computational thinking may be termed as a “problem-solving process” which involves training the brain to analyze and find a plausible solution to a given problem. In simple terms, it is the ability to break down a problem in a structured form and use different faculties like arts, creativity, problem-solving to design the solution. This involves understanding the way a computer solves a problem, taking simple steps one after the other which are ideally repetitive in nature.
How is coding connected with Computational Thinking?
Coding implies a way of communicating with our computer and telling it what to do and how to do it. Computational thinking involves breaking down a problem into smaller parts and finding a repeatable path that the computer can understand and execute to get the desired solution. Basically, it involves making algorithms to perform the given tasks. Once the algorithm is designed, the actual task can be delegated to a computer. Coding provides a fun way of learning computing to the students and experimenting with their own ideas.
Laying the building blocks in these early years can help them develop the skill of systematic approach towards solving a problem, thereby developing computational thinking skills.
Cornerstones of Computational Thinking
For a better understanding of computational thinking, it is important to understand the four cornerstones of computational thinking:
- Decomposition - involves breaking down the tasks into small bits, or steps. This is where a complex problem is broken into a simpler problem
- Abstraction - unwanted details are removed from the steps while focusing on only what is important
- Algorithm - involves making a roadmap or workflow, i.e. a step by step approach for solving a problem. Conditional logic is also an important aspect at this stage. This means that a particular step or series of steps are performed only if certain conditions are met. For example, it might be required to empty the dustbin only when it is full. In that case, it would be a useless task to empty a partially filled bin.
- Pattern recognition - this helps students to make connections between similar problems and experience
A student can master the art of computational thinking over time, for which learning coding is a very helpful, rather essential tool. It discourages rote learning and makes a child inquisitive and mentally active.
By introducing coding to children at an early age, they are given the opportunity to inquire, investigate, apply, create, and present, and lay the foundation stone of computational thinking in them.
And with computational thinking skills, our children will be further empowered to create the future.