Computational Thinking Competencies
The ISTE Computational Thinking Competencies guide educators in integrating computational thinking across disciplines, with all students. The goal is to help learners harness the power of computing to innovate and solve problems. Discover how this body of work complements the existing CSTA K-12 CS Standards for Students and the K-12 Computer Science Framework.
Process of designing a step-by-step process, precise instructions or sequence to complete a task, especially for a computer. (OA agg)
As a process, reducing complexity by focusing on the main idea in a way that allows one to focus on the problem at hand; as a product, a new representation of a thing, a system or a problem that reframes a problem by hiding details irrelevant to the question at hand. (K12CS edit)
Including collecting, storing and representing information in a way that can be understood by a computer to help us find and recognize patterns, make predictions and communicate important ideas. (OA agg)
Breaking down a problem or system into smaller, more manageable components. (OA agg)
A problem-solving process that includes, but is not limited to, the following characteristics: formulating problems in a way that enables us to use a computer and other tools to help solve them; logically organizing and analyzing data; representing data through abstractions such as models and simulations; automating solutions through algorithmic thinking (a series of ordered steps); identifying, analyzing and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources; and generalizing and transferring this problem-solving process to a wide variety of problems. (ISTE)
May include computing systems; networks and the internet; data and analysis; algorithms and programming; impacts of computing; abstraction; system relationships; human-computer interaction; privacy and security; and communication and coordination. See the K12 CS Framework and the CSTA K12 CS Standards for a full description of fundamental CS concepts for students by grade level.
Educators can integrate CT practices into their instruction of other content areas to introduce computational ideas, for example, having students in a science class illustrate the movement of a solar system by modeling the gravitationally curved path of an object around a point in space, or asking students in a history class to identify trends in labor market data that indicate economic depressions. The ISTE U Introduction to Computational Thinking for Every Educator and Google’s Computational Thinking Concepts Guide are great places to get started! (Google/OA agg)
Learn about, test and add into regular practice a variety of proven, promising and emerging learning strategies with technology.
Serve as liaison between stakeholders to carry out the vision and solve problems.
Applying computational thinking to solve complex, open-ended problems and make connections in other content areas.
Virtual, blended learning or in-person communities, like professional learning communities.
Finances, human capital
As part of a mindset of continuous improvement through persistence, tolerance for uncertainty, willingness to learn, openness to feedback, etc.
As an educator, seeking opportunities to learn about and places where the process of computational thinking and ideas foundational to computer science and/or computational thinking can be used to deepen student understanding of these concepts.
Problems that have many or undefined solutions.
Continued effort in the face of obstacles and/or uncertain outcomes.
Including ways that computing influences culture and behavior; historical inequities in participation; legal and ethical considerations around the use of computing devices; and privacy and security issues.
Belief in one's ability to succeed in learning CT and CS and accomplish computing tasks.
Content that reflects the multicultural nature of society.
Points of view that align with one’s moral code, social relations and norms, and the ideas, customs and behavior of a society. (ISTE/OA agg)
For example, concept maps, mindmaps, flowcharts and prototypes.
Constructing a learning environment and learning activities where all students feel motivated and supported.
Incorporating perspectives from people of different genders, ethnicities, abilities and perspectives, and understanding the personal, ethical, social, economic and cultural contexts in which people operate. (K12CS)
Such as inquiry-based teaching; project-based learning; emphasizing multiple solutions; exposing students to diverse CS and CT role models; and intentionally structuring peer interactions. (OA agg)
The attitudes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious way.
Inequitable or exclusionary interactions or dynamics potentially brought on by societal norms, bias or stereotypes.
Ensuring a classroom culture that facilitates positive student-student and student-teacher interactions, and encourages student participation based on their strengths and needs.
Educators plan for learning that accommodates differing access levels and individual student needs, for example, providing homework alternatives for students who do not have internet access at home, providing competency-based or other opportunities to demonstrate learning, scaffolding student learning to challenge and support individual students where they are, and advocating for an equitable system for all students.
For example, digital camera or video, audio software, graphic design software, writing software.
Individuals who intentionally and transparently adopt and demonstrate best practices.
Ask questions and share ideas to provide constructive feedback in a way that students can incorporate others’ ideas and perspectives into their work.
Define a problem, break it down into parts, evaluate each part to determine whether a computational solution is appropriate, and represent the solution in a form that both a computer and a human could understand. (K12 CS/OA agg)
Creating opportunities for students to make connections between elements of computational thinking across disciplines and see where these concepts can apply in multiple contexts. For example, students learning about parts of speech might use a set of cards and templates to create an algorithm that generates postcards. Educators could extend this experience by having students write a program to accomplish the same task.
Dedicate time to collaborate with colleagues to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and create an integrated CT learning experience for students. (ISTE plus)
Anything created by a human using a computational thinking process and a computing device, including but not limited to, a program, image, audio, video, presentation or web page file. (K12CS)
Finding opportunities to collect and use or transform data to better understand the world and deepen student learning, including to automate the data collection process, simplify data and discover and communicate patterns and trends. (K12CS/OA agg)
Taking into account the way and by whom a product will be used in the design process and reflecting their preferences and needs in the design, such as ease of use, accessibility to people with disabilities, cost, user experience, materials, language, environmental factors and cultural barriers. (ISTE plus)
A methodology for problem-solving; a series of steps used to solve a problem and design a solution. For example, human-centered design process, project-based learning, engineering design processes, scientific method. (ISTE)
Learning experiences that have value or resonance beyond the classroom, for example, solving real-world problems; workforce-related projects and skill-building; wrestling with significant philosophical or intellectual problems; and designing projects or processes. (ISTE)
Design and management framework and creative approach to problem-solving that develops solutions to problems by keeping the human perspective at the core of all steps of the design process. (OA agg/IDEO)
A level of autonomy and self-direction from students taking responsibility and ownership of learning goals.
Classroom culture/norms and learning activities. (OA agg)
If planned for and supported, maximizes student learning and engagement, such as differentiation, assistive technologies, building motivation to learn by stimulating interest, multimodal content delivery, fostering learning awareness of their work preferences and recognition of how academic work aligns to personal goals.
Learning activities and materials that provide opportunities for students to explore and apply principles of computational thinking and computer science. (OA agg)
Projects that use computation or computational thinking and reflect students’ experiences or interests.
Step-by-step processes to complete a task. (K12CS)
Techniques used to achieve a learning outcome. (OA agg)
Using precise and age-appropriate language, examples and vocabulary to introduce computational thinking and computer science learning experiences, techniques and ideas to students based their level and classroom environment.
Often student-chosen ways to demonstrate their knowledge and skills; within computational artifacts, educators need to establish criteria for consistently evaluating a variety of artifact types.