How To Easily Implement Computational Thinking Into Your Classroom

In this blog, we demystify the Digital Technnologies Curriculum and make obvious links between Computational Thinking and your existing teaching programme, so you can transfer this exciting new curriculum area into your teaching with ease, in particular, using Progress Outcome 1. Computational Thinking (CT) is a key aspect of the new Digital Technologies Curriculum. After breaking down what CT means, teachers often realise they are already aligning key aspects of CT into their teaching.

Looking more closely at what teachers already do in their teaching

Let’s have a look at an example of what teachers may already be doing which shows each part of Computational Thinking broken down. Keep in mind this is aimed at Progress Outcome 1 for year levels 1 & 2.

There are many everyday scenarios teachers can use to illustrate Computational Thinking in action. For example, when a new student arrives into the class they can apply CT to the process for students organising themselves to get ready for the school day, as in this sequence:

  1. Say ‘good morning to others.
  2. Hanging bag up.
  3. Get book out of bag
  4. Take lunchbox to cubby.
  5. Putting pencil on desk.
  6. Sit down on mat, etc.

The following day, the teacher might ask the new student to go through the process themselves. If they make a ‘mistake’ (where the order is incorrect, or a step missed out) then the teacher could prompt them with questions as to why they think that order needs to be ‘debugged’. Once the student corrects this, they understand the correct ‘algorithm’ or set of instructions for entering the classroom and getting organised.

Seems easy right?

The curriculum document provides a clear outline as to where the Computational Thinking Progress Outcomes sit alongside curriculum levels and student year levels. This image represents where the Progress Outcomes sit alongside the curriculum levels:

How to easily implement Computational Thinking into your classroom

Description of Computational Thinking Progress Outcome 1 from the Curriculum Document:

  • Students break down a simple non-computerised task into a set of precise, unambiguous, step by step instructions (algorithmic thinking).
  • They are able to give these instructions, and identify if they have gone wrong and correct them (simple debugging).
  • By doing this they show that they can use their decomposition skills to take a task and break it down into its smallest steps.

Can you see where the (very basic) example above indicates each bullet point for Progress Outcome 1? Can you also see the links to learning opportunities within the Key Competencies for the New Zealand Curriculum?

Another example using images

Let’s have a look at another example using images. A young student could be asked to move these images into the correct order:

How to easily implement Computational Thinking into your classroom
How to easily implement Computational Thinking into your classroom
How to easily implement Computational Thinking into your classroom
How to easily implement Computational Thinking into your classroom

Are they already in the correct order? A young student will realise which one goes on first, second and will be able to articulate why the order is important. This is PO1 – sequencing.

The new Digital Technologies Curriculum doesn’t have to be scary! In fact, you are probably already meeting some of the Progress Outcomes and haven’t yet made the links in your practice. We demystify the DTC and make the links obvious so you can transfer this exciting new curriculum area into your programme with ease.