Exploring Computational Thinking Concepts, Practices, and Dispositions in K-12 Computer Science and Engineering
Bell, Amanda Marie
New initiatives in computing education call for the integration of computational thinking (CT) across subjects in K-12 schools. At the same time, researchers do not have a strong consensus about what CT is and how it is applied in different contexts. To begin to address this gap in understanding, the goal of this paper was to explore what it means to be a competent computational thinker in different contexts. Drawing on the theory of legitimate peripheral participation, I argued for organizing CT in terms of concepts, practices, and dispositions. Using this framework, I reviewed existing research on the use of CT in K-12 computer science, and I explored the overlaps of CT with engineering design practices. I included studies related to CT learning and identity, most of which focused on motivation and interest. Finally, I pointed to open questions in the field and urged future studies to examine identity and the development of students’ sense of belonging over time in different communities using CT.