Computers are revolutionary machines. The idea of a Computer started off as a simple Calculator in its early stages. Since then, it has evolved to become a powerful machine capable of performing an array of tasks. It is now the most potent tool in Technology.
However, the core use of Computers is still in Problem Solving, which is no longer limited to Arithmetic. Computers are used in many fields to tackle day to day and unique issues that they face. Due to their ability to perform tasks quickly and accurately, they are quite popular.
It is a novel sector which involves solving problems and designing systems to apply these solutions practically, by using the fundamental concepts of Computer Science. In other words, this means that the issue is looked at and solved as a computer would.
Computational Thinking offers many advantages, most of them involving the application of the solution to a problem. In many instances, the mathematical or scientific problem corresponds to a real-life situation which poses an issue. And the answer to the said theoretical problem can be used to figure out a way around the practical crisis. This correlation is where Computational thinking comes in handy.
Power of Computational Thinking
Many real-life problems correlate to a single or a small set of scientific or mathematical theories. The basis of these issues lies in these theories, and hence their solution is also obtainable using the same. Computational thinking offers a way around the tedious process of reapplying the same principle to unique issues, by formulating a general solution.
Computational Thinking accelerates the process of real-life problem solving, by using its higher processing capabilities and trial and error resolving skills.
Coding and Computational Thinking
Coding is the prime example of operators applying Computational Thinking to formulate practical solutions. Though many interchange the two, they are not the same. Coding does require Computational Thinking, but the converse is not true.
Computational Thinking is the ability to analyze a problem and convert it to a way that could be understood by a computer system. Doing this does not necessarily require coding skills or even a computer. However, it is essential to be aware of the various ways in which Data Structuring and Analysis occurs in a CPU, as well as a knack to convert problems into mathematical situations, which can be understood by a computer.
Computational Thinking as a Multidisciplinary skill
Computational Thinking is more than just a one-dimensional concept. The use of this area requires a deep understanding of the inner workings of a computer, as well as a broad awareness of the different regions of Science which helps a person to figure out the general cause of a problem. They also have to be capable of learning through research, to fully use their potential across all sectors.
Coding is considered the highest skill one could have as a Computational Thinker. It is the way by which the solutions are being fed into the system. Computer Languages act as the intermediary between humans and machines and are an integral part of this sector.
Computational Thinking in EdTech
Computational Thinking opens up a vast portal to opportunities as well as innovative designing. It has the potential to reinvent the Education system. The concept of Computational Thinking and its numerous applications have found their place in the Educational Sector.
Computational Thinking helps the student to process data and approach problems in a way that a computer would. Using a step by step approach, they can be guided to solve open-ended puzzles. Here are a few instances in which Computational Thinking is useful in Education.
Open Source Libraries
Computer Science Unplugged is an online library full of academic resources like lesson plans, courses and activities that relate Computer Science to real life. The content of this website is designed for students to integrate aspects of Computer Science, like Data Structures and Analysis into all other subjects.
Tech giant Google also offers support for students to develop their Computational Thinking abilities. The database has a massive amount of information ranging from articles to short videos. They are suitable for individual students as well as classrooms.
This idea is to attract young minds towards coding, by providing them with an interactive and easy to learn interface. This usually involves drag and drop model blocks or similar displays. There are Visual Programming languages like Hopscotch and Scratch, which help kids to make and play their games.
Data Collection and Analysis
Computational Thinking also powers various Data Analysis platforms such as Poll Everywhere, Data.gov and so on. These sites contain information that can be used for free. They also come with provisions to make charts, graphs and do comparison studies for the ones who are interested.
Graphic Design and Modeling
Thingiverse and TinkerCAD are the two major players in this field. These platforms offer support to budding designers and students, making Modeling easier for them.
Thingiverse is an open source library that contains plans and blueprints for Computer Aided Design, and also 3D printing software. It gives them the option to tweak and redraw existing models instead of designing from scratch.
TinkerCAD is a 3D modeling platform for building anything from Models to Interior Designs to Full 3D Portraits. This makes drafting and computer modeling easy for students. The site is designed to suit everyone from elementary school students to high school ones.
Computational Thinking has sealed its spot as an invaluable resource. On its own, it has the potential to develop into a full-fledged subject that can create many educational and employment opportunities. Coupled with other branches of Education, it’s versatility as well as applicability makes it a powerful ally.
The applications of Computational Learning make Education much more straightforward, and change the way in which we approach tasks and problems in general. It is indeed a multidisciplinary skill which brings computer-like efficiency to human beings.
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