Developing fluency with computational concepts, practices, and perspectives

How do I support the development of CT?

Although students may spontaneously encounter concepts or formulate practices while designing interactive media, student learning will be deeper if meaningfully scaffolded and supported. A key design principle underlying our approach to supporting the development of computational thinking is to intentionally create opportunities for learners to engage with computational concepts, practices, and perspectives.

When designing learning environments, we encourage a balance between structure and freedom. Young learners can benefit from support, provided that this support does not come at the expense of freedom in design and exploration. We encourage making connections both to the big ideas of computational thinking and to learners' interests and passions. To support seeking this balance, we offer two resources: (1) the Creative Computing curriculum guide, and (2) a self-reflective instrument.

Creative Computing Curriculum Guide

To support computational thinking in the classroom, we developed the Creative Computing curriculum guide. The guide is a collection of ideas, strategies, and activities for an introductory creative computing experience using the Scratch programming language. The activities are designed to support familiarity and fluency with computational creativity and computational thinking, through creative design activities, playful challenges, and reflective design journal prompts. Explore the ScratchEd online community for additional computational thinking resources.

Self-Reflective Instrument

Independent of the particular activities used in a learning environment, our self-reflective instrument can be employed by educators, designers, and researchers to critically examine if (and how) computational practices (experimenting and iterating, testing and debugging, remixing and reusing, modularizing and abstracting) are being encouraged. This reflective tool can be used to think about activities in a K-12 classroom, a library, or another type of setting — any context in which learners are engaged in the design of interactive media.