Computational Thinking

Paul Herring MACS (Snr) CP
St Peters Lutheran College
ACEC 2012
My original presentation on Prezi
Keynote: Computational Thinking - What is
it and Why Should We Care
Chris Stephenson Executive Director
Computer Science Teachers Association
Draft Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies
“In Australia, ICT skills shortages continued to grow by up to 14,000
extra ICT jobs in 2012 and 35,000 by 2014.
At the same time, curriculum initiatives in ICT at the secondary level
have not gone far enough to encourage high-achieving students in Years
11 and 12 to study tertiary ICT courses or promote the discipline as a
rewarding and vibrant career.
“Over the past decade, universities have not been successful attracting
bright school leavers to consider ICT as a study area, compared to other
professions such as (law and medicine).
As a consequence, many students with an undergraduate degree have
not been able to secure professional ICT employment,”
– Alan Paterson CEO
• ICT university enrolments have dropped by 50 per cent in the last decade and by 40
per cent in the vocational sector.
• ICT as a general discipline is less likely to attract high-achieving school leavers into
tertiary study.
• In Australia, less than 50 per cent of ICT professionals typically possess a degree level
qualification in ICT, despite the availability of many potential employees.
• Skills shortages in ICT continue to grow despite demand forecasts of 21,000 jobs in
“The ACS believes that excellence in ICT can only be achieved through a national
educational framework that meets and exceeds world best standards.
• “More research needs to be done to understand why, despite the ever more
compelling opportunities of ICT, not enough students are choosing ICT as a
career. Without skilled ICT workers, Australia’s ICT development and capability will
erode, further limiting the opportunities for our youth to participate in the most
vibrant sector of our economy,”
The Mac Bike & the Mic Bike
The ‘perfect Educational System’:
Some of the factors:
 Highest priority
 Holistic
 Driven from the home
 Community involved
 Life-long
 A different mindset – dialectic process –challenging ideas
 Confidence to question; to accept multiple answers
 Moral, spiritual, and character education
 Social Justice
 Embracing and overcoming adversity
 Facing difference
 Necessity breeding invention and innovation
 Antecedent of innovation
Today's literacy essential:
Why all students should be encouraged to
study Digital Technologies in the
Senior Years of Secondary School
The core of which is
Computational Thinking
“Life logging, personal genomics, location tracking, biometrics -These new tools were
being developed for many different reasons, but all of them had something in common:
They added a computational dimension to ordinary existence.”
Gary Wolf,
The Elements of Computational Thinking:
machine intelligence
computational biology
Critical Thinking skills
Entrepreneurial enabling (innovation)
- Steganography
The Hidden Group:
Placing the Elements of Computational Thinking into the
school curriculum – into Digital Technologies?
machine intelligence
computational biology
 Critical Thinking skills
 Entrepreneurial enabling (innovation)
ACS recommendations to assist in achieving a steady production of skilled and
qualified entrants into the profession:
• In order to convey the in-dispensible role of ICT in our daily lives, the ACS
recommends that ICT be recognized as subject in its own right (from Kindergarten
through to Year 12)
• ICT should be a mandatory subject up to Year 10. Currently, students are only
required to study Digital Technology to Year 8, diminishing the significance of ICT in
the curriculum.
• Stronger guidelines to assist teachers in making decisions on ICT curriculum
delivery, in line with national ICT professional standards, which recognise changes
in ICT skills over time.
• Improved coordination between business, government to foster the development
of ICT at the secondary and tertiary levels to encourage the growth of more
qualified ICT professional to support Australia’s digital economy.
Some final thoughts:
The framing documents for the new National Curriculum for example clearly
articulated the need for ‘deep knowledge’, that is, the need to teach subject
specific content and to teach it in depth.
These documents also acknowledged that little skill transfer occurs across
domains of knowledge. Thus skills in critical thinking need to be developed and
fostered in all areas of the curriculum.
Sadly though we are already seeing political and ideological viewpoints being
forcibly imposed upon the new curricula and thus reducing the potential
development of critical thinking skills in our students.
Along with this there appears little acknowledgement nationally of the need to
teach skills in critical thinking and to establish environments which foster and
encourage such critical thinking, and which specifically address this issue in the
context of ICT.
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