Computational thinking (CT) runs through every aspect and function of modern life. It has become more crucial in the 21st century workplace where so much is now data-driven – analysing consumer behaviour, the movement in financial markets, business innovation and the performance of public and private services. Creative thinking and problem-solving skills, innovation and entrepreneurship are not innate talents or the province of just a few individuals, and they are not solely confined to the arts. Rather, they are processes integral to human intelligence that need to be nurtured, practiced, encouraged, and developed. SCRATCH with Ready Steady Code is an innovative context wherein to develop these skills in children. SCRATCH is available for free to all teachers and parents and decision-makers who directly or indirectly effect the wellbeing of children.
“For the generation of children recently born and starting to enter primary school, creative thinking and problem-solving skills will be absolutely key to how they develop in reach and achieve their potential. In particular, their ability to think critically and develop solutions in the digital world will be vital for their prospects in life.” (Minister Richard Bruton, July, 2016).
“Creative Ireland will prioritise children’s access to art, music, drama and coding; enhance the provision of culture and creativity in every community; further develop Ireland as a global hub for film and TV production; empower and support our artists and drive investment in our cultural institutions; further enhance our global reputation abroad.” (Minister Heather Humphreys, January, 2017).
“Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists. To reading, writing and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability.” (Jeannette M. Wing, Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University).
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TEACHING SCRATCH CODING is TEACHING COMPUTATIONAL THINKING
Teaching coding is a method of teaching computational thinking. Computational Thinking is the thinking process used to solve problems. It is to ensure adults of the future understand how technology works and why it works that way. CT and digital technologies incorporate coding, robotics, STEM, construction, problem solving and design thinking. Computational thinking does not need to be taught exclusively as a subject. It is best to teach it embedded in other subjects eg: science and maths projects. Many teachers struggle with where to start with learning to teach computational thinking and how to teach children to think, design and create for themselves.
Scratch is highly touted as the next generation tool to help kids prepare for the 21st century. This is why SCRATCH is by far the most popular programming language for children. It is important for our kids to learn CT– Like Problem Solving, Creative Computing and Iterative Design – as more and more of this type of thinking is being applied in areas other than Programming. It is also important for kids to have ‘Digital Fluency’ in the future which means to design, create and mix digital content and not just browse, chat and interact with it. Visit: ukedchat.com/2017/04/18/computational-thinking/
CREATIVE COMPUTING with SCRATCH from Harvard Graduate School of Education
To support computational thinking in the classroom, the Harvard Graduate School of Education developed the Creative Computing curriculum guide. The guide is a collection of ideas, strategies, and activities for an introductory creative computing experience using the Scratch programming language. The activities are designed to support familiarity and fluency with computational creativity and computational thinking, through creative design activities, playful challenges, and reflective design journal prompts. Explore the ScratchEd online community for additional computational thinking resources. http://scratched.gse.harvard.edu/ct/defining.html