The educator encourages all students to engage with computational thinking by creating learning opportunities and supporting learners’ identities.
Learning involves participating in a community of practice—that is, a group of individuals who engage in a common set of activities and share a common set of interests. Following this definition, creating learning opportunities for computational thinking means ensuring students have access to activities, tools, communities, and spaces where computational thinking is in use. Students typically begin learning through low-stakes participation in a community of practice. For example, students may initially take on simplified activities and use tools that are designed to be accessible to beginners. As students become more experienced and participate more centrally in the community of practice, they take on roles such as mentors, leaders, planners, and experts.
Computational thinking is still unevenly distributed in schools and communities. Therefore, providing computational thinking learning opportunities to students may mean seeking out or cultivating activities, tools, communities, and spaces where computational thinking is used and supporting students’ participation in them.
As computers and software have reshaped our society and become more visible in popular media, computational thinking has become associated with certain stereotypes. For example, computing is sometimes seen as being for males, for white people, for native English speakers, for antisocial people, or only for extremely intelligent geeks or nerds. Whether or not these stereotypes reflect the truth, their existence presents real barriers to learning: a student who feels they do not belong in a space is less likely to participate in its activities. Teachers of computational thinking have an obligation to broaden participation by actively working to understand how students view computation and taking steps to counteract exclusionary stereotypes.
To earn the micro-credential, you must earn a “passing” evaluation for Parts 1 and 3, and a “Yes” for each component of Part 2. In the assessment of this micro-credential, an educator will submit a portfolio of artifacts documenting how they help students learn computational thinking by creating learning opportunities and supporting students’ identities as learners. The portfolio should also provide evidence of how these efforts have affected students.
(400-word limit total)
Please answer the following questions about your teaching context. In Part 2, you will be asked to connect your responses to these descriptions of your students and their learning environments.
To earn this micro-credential, please submit the following:
Submit a portfolio that documents your efforts to support students in learning computational thinking within your classroom and beyond the classroom. The portfolio should contain evidence of creating computational thinking learning opportunities as well as supporting students’ identities as learners of computational thinking. For example, the portfolio may include an annotated lesson or unit plan, evidence of a new community partnership or mentorship program, annotated pictures of physical changes to the classroom environment, student reflections, documentation of a personalized learner pathways that were cocreated by student and teacher, etc.
2) Analysis of portfolio
(800-word limit total)
As you answer the following questions, refer to specific evidence from the portfolio and indicate how these efforts impacted students.
What inequities still exist in students’ opportunities to participate in computational thinking? Are these related to access to learning opportunities, related to learners’ identities, or are they caused by something else? Describe the steps that could be taken to address these issues, and any future plans you have to be part of this work.