What is it?
Computer science is the art of blending human ideas and digital tools to increase problem solving power. With applications ranging from creating art and music to saving lives, computer science is becoming an integral part of all innovative thoughts and ideas. By influencing students to identify a problem and then providing the technical skills necessary to solve the problem, computer science is a means for causing positive change in the world.
Bold Idea uses the operational definition for computational thinking that was written by the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE). Computational thinking is a problem-solving process that includes (but is not limited to) the following characteristics:
- Formulating problems in a way that enables us to use a computer and other tools to help solve them
- Logically organizing and analyzing data to draw conclusions
- Representing data through abstractions such as models and simulations
- Automating solutions through algorithmic thinking (a series of ordered steps)
- Identifying, analyzing and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources
- Generalizing and transferring this problem solving process to a wide variety of problems
Google for Education follows a similar definition dividing computational thinking into four parts:
- Decomposition: Breaking down a big problem into the smaller problems that make it up
- Pattern recognition: Finding similarities between things
- Pattern generalization and abstraction: Pulling out differences to make one solution work for multiple problems
- Algorithm design: A list of steps that you can follow to finish a task
Computational thinking is essential to the development of computer applications, but it can also be used to support problem solving across all disciplines, including math, science and the humanities.