From theory bias to theory dialogue: Embracing cognitive, situated and critical framings of computational thinking for K-12 CS education

The increased interest in promoting CS education for all has been coalescing around the idea of "computational thinking." Several framings for promoting computational thinking in K-12 educationhave been proposed by practitioners and researchers that each place different emphases on either (1) skill and competence building, (2) creative expression and participation, or (3) social justice and ethics. We review each framing and its place within a larger ‘learning ecology’ of computational thinking. We then discuss in which ways CS education can proceed to leverage the explanatory potentialthat each framing offers to the implementation and evaluation of learning, teaching, and tools in computing education. Our goal is to help CS education researchers, teachers, and designers unpack and leverage the complexities of this learning ecology (rather than ignoring it) while also addressing broader educational concerns regarding diversity, providing new directions for how students and teachers can actively participate in designing their digital futures, and directing current computing education efforts towards a more humanistic orientation.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{kafai_2019_theory_dialogue,
    author = "Kafai, Yasmin B. and Proctor, Chris and Lui, Deborah",
    title = "From theory bias to theory dialogue: Embracing cognitive, situated and critical framings of computational thinking for K-12 CS education",
    abstract = {The increased interest in promoting CS education for all has been coalescing around the idea of "computational thinking." Several framings for promoting computational thinking in K-12 educationhave been proposed by practitioners and researchers that each place different emphases on either (1) skill and competence building, (2) creative expression and participation, or (3) social justice and ethics. We review each framing and its place within a larger ‘learning ecology’ of computational thinking. We then discuss in which ways CS education can proceed to leverage the explanatory potentialthat each framing offers to the implementation and evaluation of learning, teaching, and tools in computing education. Our goal is to help CS education researchers, teachers, and designers unpack and leverage the complexities of this learning ecology (rather than ignoring it) while also addressing broader educational concerns regarding diversity, providing new directions for how students and teachers can actively participate in designing their digital futures, and directing current computing education efforts towards a more humanistic orientation.},
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the 2019 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research",
    series = "ICER '19",
    year = "2019",
    location = "Toronto, Canada",
    publisher = "ACM",
    address = "New York, NY, USA",
    url = "https://chrisproctor.net/publications/kafai\_2019\_theory\_dialogue",
    pdf = "https://chrisproctor.net/media/publications/kafai\_2019\_theory\_dialogue.pdf"
}

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