The educator documents and closely analyzes a brief set of interactions involving a computer, a student, and the student’s classmates in order to understand one student’s learning more deeply, which leads to helping all students use computers to support their learning more effectively.
Computers play a special role in computational thinking. While computational thinking can be used without a computer, the integration of computers allows us to engage in fundamentally different kinds of thinking than are possible without them. One way in which computers support thinking is by representing our thoughts. Working with computers, we can express relationships between objects (systems thinking), test out ways of doing things (algorithms), collect and make sense of many observations (data), and communicate with others (computational literacy). The micro-credentials in the “Key Elements of Computational Thinking” stack address these core ideas; each provides examples of using computers to represent thought.
There are some things educators can do to support students in using computers as powerful tools for thinking in educational settings. Most important is ensuring that students (not just educators) are the ones using computers as tools – that is, the use of the computer is driven by student purposes and ideas. As is possible with writing, the capability of computers to represent thought means learners can step back from their thought process to reflect on it. This kind of metacognition is important to learning in all subject areas, and the process of analyzing and understanding how students represent their thinking with computers is an important step for educators to facilitate the growth of metacognition with students.
Computers can profoundly restructure our thought by allowing others to participate in it. For example, consider the relationship an individual has with words on the page, and specifically with the cursor, when using a word processor to write. We often use the words on the page to gather important ideas together, and use the cursor to focus our attention at the place we want to make changes. With the invention of word processors, in which many writers can edit a text together at the same time, collaborators can share in the writing process in a way that would be impossible without computers that can interact with each other. Other computational thinking tasks are social in the same way. Even when there is no collaboration within the computer interface, learners working together in the same space can think together by sharing the same representations provided by computers.
To support students in thinking together with others using computers, it is important to integrate computers into existing subject area best practices around social learning. For example, when using computers in group work, consider the physical configuration of the computers. Students will be better able to collaborate when group members all have access to the screen, and when the power that comes with having one’s hands on the keyboard and mouse is shared among group members. Students can take on the roles of authors and knowledge-creators by publishing their work, either online, on course web pages, or via a projector or screen. These knowledge-building practices can have the additional benefit of nullifying the educator’s place as the center of knowledge and authority, and allowing students to play more active roles in their learning.
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 document approximately five minutes of a student’s interaction with a computational tool in a social context. The educator will closely analyze the interaction, explaining how the tool was used in the student’s learning process.
(400-word limit total)
Please answer the following questions:
To earn this micro-credential, please submit the following:
1) Record of student-computer-peer(s) interaction
Submit a video or detailed notes, approximately five minutes in duration, which closely documents a student’s interaction with a computational tool in a social context. If the educator submits a video, they should include a transcript which includes notes on the student’s interaction with the tool and with peers.
2) Analysis of recorded interaction
(800-word limit total)
The educator should closely analyze the interaction, explaining how the tool affected the way the student represented their thinking and the way they learned in collaboration with others. As you answer the following questions, refer to specific evidence from the artifact(s) submitted.
(400-word limit total)
Please respond to the following questions: