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Computational Thinking For All: Shifting Culture

This collection, created by Todd Lash, an educator and PhD student in Special Education at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, features first-hand accounts from teachers, librarians, and administrators at Kenwood Elementary in Champaign, IL, which supports student computing and computational thinking across subjects. 

Through an immersive technology learning environment, Kenwood students transcend simple usership to become digital producers, empowering themselves and others in their community through their critical thinking, academic and intellectual risk taking, collaboration and refined sense of digital citizenship.

These reflections, which resulted from Kenwood Elementary teaming up with several Colleges at the University of Illinois and the local social think tank, CTRL-Shift, take up some of the following questions about supporting students to become makers, designers, and digital citizens: 

  • Why should students, now more than ever, take up computational thinking and computer science in school?
  • How can such an approach support co-learning and competency for an entire community of learners?
  • What does Professional Development around computational thinking in the classroom look like?
  • How can Professional Learning Networks also support this work?
  • How can educators teach in a way that puts community first instead of centering technology?
  • How can learners collaborate in a classroom focused on student computing and computational thinking, and how can educators support collaboration?
  • Why is it important for students to tell their own stories and recount their experiences of learning, and what are the means by which they can do it?
  • How can students work together to solve real world problems?
  • What do administrators need to know about computational thinking and changing a school culture? 

At the basis of this collaboration is the idea that teaching all students the skills of computational thinking is an exercise in social justice and community empowerment. We hope this collection will inspire you to think about empowering those in your own community and about how these questions might apply to your own context. 

Creative Commons Licence