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Computational Thinking

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Alan Blackwell.

We will be discussing: Jeannette M. Wing (2006). ‘Computational Thinking’. Communications of the ACM , 49(3), 33-35.

Although not a publication specifically written for an HCI audience, this short article raises many issues on which HCI folk might have a view.

Available online at:

Original conclusion: Professors of computer science should teach a course called “Ways to Think Like a Computer Scientist” to college freshmen, making it available to non-majors, not just to computer science majors. We should expose pre-college students to computational methods and models. Rather than bemoan the decline of interest in computer science or the decline in funding for research in computer science, we should look to inspire the public’s interest in the intellectual adventure of the field. We’ll thus spread the joy, awe, and power of computer science, aiming to make computational thinking commonplace. It represents a universally applicable attitude and skill set everyone, not just computer scientists, would be eager to learn and use.

Rubric for the reading group: Everyone attending is expected to read the paper in advance. Please bring a copy with you, preferably annotated with interesting reflections. The format of discussion will be a brief invited introduction/critique by two members of the group, followed by general discussion and informal mixing.

This talk is part of the Crucible/Microsoft HCI Reading Group series.

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