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Computational thinking for school students and teachers - what's the big idea?

Cross-posted from edSpace discussion.

In this clip on, Computational thinking for school students and teachers - what's the big idea? (2016) Dr. Tim Bell, Professor of Computer Science at University of Canterbury NZ talks us through what are Digital Technologies – with the clue being in the name digits, often those digits being 0 and 1, or binary digits or bits.

Start play from 1.03 - 1.28



Dr Tim goes on to talk about every type of image, text, smell,  DNA and even smell can be presented in a binary form. We can represent numbers using binary or two different values like light/dark high or low etc. We can also represent this without using computers as these students demonstrate so well in this video clip.

Another key idea is - the more bits we have, the more accurately we can represent them – ie: colours, sounds. For example, the more resolution of bits or data, gives us more detailed information. We need to have enough bits to present different ‘languages’, so that people can present themselves properly in their own culture.



In this video, the students also demonstrate Computer Science (unplugged) by creating instructions (programming), testing to see if the programme worked and fixing any errors (debugging). Ie: kids are now kidbots (in the large) instead of robots. Tim then demonstrates the equivalent thinking using digital robots.

Cultural contexts


Amazing what cultural attachment/assumptions we give to colours and instructions. This is where Tim demonstrates the importance of what programmers need to consider, in regards to designing for the human users (from different countries). Tim also shares another simple unplugged activity, that demonstrates the processing of multiple information in a short amount of time.



Big idea: Our students need to learn to be citizens in a digital world. It's not always about the devices, bits, bytes - the most important component is the humans in this equation.

Like a magician revealing his tricks, how fun does this look?

Also see: Digital technologies and Hangarau Matihiko 2018 and beyond


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