But it’s more than being able to interact with the remarkable microcomputers in our everyday lives, it’s about having the knowhow and the confidence to look beyond the shiny applications and to the code beneath: about using technology to create from the ground up, not just consume.
More of our schools’ curricula should be devoted to this kind of knowledge. It’s not just student’s technical skills that benefit from this type of learning. The spillover is that students develop better ways to approach and think about problems, which is just as valuable as the technical skills themselves.
Jeanette Wing, vice president of Microsoft research and pioneer of computational thinking – the ability to break a problem down and express the solution in a form that a computer can understand and evaluate – sees it as a skill as important as reading, writing and arithmetic, and one that will be embraced by everyone by the middle of the 21st century.
This type of thinking will be embraced not only for its computer science applications, but because the abilities to abstract, compartmentalise and synthesise can be transferred to any domain.
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