Reply To: Module 5: Computational Thinking in the Primary School Classroom

Home Forums STEM Starters July 1-2 Module 5: Computational Thinking in the Primary School Classroom Reply To: Module 5: Computational Thinking in the Primary School Classroom

Fiona Nally

    Part 1.
    Prompt – Little Bow Peep has lost her sheep..or has she? She has spotted three of her sheep but they are the other side of a river. They aren’t brave enough to swim back so Boo Peep needs to build a raft that will carry her over and back with her lost sheep.
    They have a large blue square as the river. The sheep are 3 Harribo fried eggs, Boo Peep is a lolly pop. They have blue tak, lolly pop sticks, card, markers and scissors. They need to work as a team to design a raft big enough for all of them and stable enough to move across the card to the other side!

    Part 2.
    This article looks at the importance of introducing computational thinking into early childhood education. It looks at the benefits of computational thinking, how it can be integrated into the curriculum, the challenges it might pose and suggests some of the ways those obstacles may be overcome. The benefits are many; including peer to peer learning, problem solving, collaboration and fostering a Learn by doing approach.
    In terms of integrating in ECE, CT goes beyond specific computer science fields. While there is a considerable overlap between CT and mathematical thinking in activities engaged in by the children, there are also opportunities for linking with literacy skills and STEAM where arts is included opens this up to allow for an integration of arts and crafts, literacy, music, and more with engineering and robotics.
    The article also speaks to the importance of meaningful activities highlighting that research has shown that many of children’s best learning experiences come when they are engaged not simply in interacting with materials but in designing, creating, and inventing with them. This underlines the importance of inspiring children to become producers of their own creative, playful, and functional artefacts, rather than simply consumers of other people’s work.
    Some of the challenges include gaps in teacher knowledge and the important of Initial teacher teaching plus CPD as professional development can help teachers better understand CT and how CT could be helpful in their classroom. It also talked of the ‘digital divide’ with prohibitive costs of some technology and lack of access with families from lower socio-economic backgrounds. They suggest a focus on unplugged CT curriculum in areas where the cost of other technologies is not feasible.
    This is relevant in our school where access to technology is more limited for many families. However, CT can be integrated in many ways from basic robotics such as BeeBots or Sphero-Indy to Lego We do through to the many unplugged constructor challenges available as teaching resources. As play is fundamental to ECE, using CT fits within this with the emphasis on creating, communicating and collaborating.

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