Computational Thinking via Toy Problems
Gerard Rambally, University of North Texas at Dallas, United States
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Savannah, GA, United States ISBN 978-1-939797-13-1 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA
This paper examines the idea that toy problems represent an informal, motivational context in which complex computational thinking (CT) occurs. Using a range of toy problems, this paper demonstrates how key CT skills including algorithmic thinking, problem reduction, abstraction, problem decomposition, exhaustive search, heuristic reasoning, and backtracking can be fostered. Such toy problems may be seamlessly integrated into the secondary and tertiary mathematics, science, and computer science curricula. The paper presents a seamless, problem-driven approach to fostering CT which expose students to habits of mind beyond the standard secondary and core undergraduate university curricula thereby providing them with a broader, firmer foundation. Furthermore, the approach suggested in this paper does not use or require prior knowledge of programming. Through these minds-on activities students learn many critical CT principles and develop a cognitive model about computational processes.
Rambally, G. (2016). Computational Thinking via Toy Problems. In G. Chamblee & L. Langub (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 105-112). Savannah, GA, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
© 2016 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)