BEYOND THE DIGITAL COMPETENCE: COMPUTATIONAL THINKING
University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Digital competence is, besides a right promoted by European Union, a necessity of all citizens that should be taught and provided from early years and during all the life. Although technology is a common matter for young people, its use and its competences have differences among countries, cultures, status, residence places, etc., even within the members of the same family.
At the same time, nowadays computing, because of its ubiquity and role in innovation, has become an essential tool for competition in the increasingly global knowledge economy.
Therefore, we propose to go beyond digital competence and to use the computational thinking. Computational thinking involves solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior, by drawing on the concepts fundamental to computer science. Computational thinking includes a range of mental tools that reflect the breadth of the field of computer science.
There are four key concepts within computational thinking, where each one is as important as the others: decomposition, that is, breaking down a complex problem or system into smaller, more manageable parts; pattern recognition, or looking for similarities among and within problems; abstraction, in the sense of focusing on the important information only, ignoring irrelevant detail; and algorithms, which we can define as the process to develop a step-by-step solution to the problem, or the rules to follow to solve the problem.
Our objectives are to implement the computational thinking in the Secondary School at a first level and to design materials for a quick and easy way of using by teachers and students. Methodology to achieve these objectives is divided in several steps that can be briefly explained as spreading the concepts of computational thinking, training in this matter, generating some materials as examples of the implementation, learning to use these materials and promoting to generate new materials by teachers.
In the scope of the process, we try to involve all type of subjects, with special emphasis in STEM subjects because the obvious reason that they are easier to be implemented with simple examples.
We present in this paper a summary of the meaning and uses of the computational thinking and an analysis of the chance to integrate it in the curricula in a transversal way, without the necessity of generating or implementing a new curriculum.
Keywords: computational thinking, digital competence, education, teaching, learning