The South Fayette Township School District’s definition of computational thinking includes three aspects: (1) a specific problem solving process, (2) characteristics of successful problem solvers or habits of mind, and (3) career vision.
The design problem-solving process used in this model is the process practiced by computer scientists and engineers, which is “the ability to think logically, algorithmically, abstractly, and recursively.” Simply stated, it is the ability to take a large abstract idea and break it into smaller easier to solve problem sets.
The second aspect of computational thinking includes habits of mind, the characteristics of intelligent and successful problem solvers. These characteristics include confidence dealing with complexity, persistence, a tolerance for ambiguity, and the ability to communicate and work well with others.
The final aspect of computational thinking, which is specific to South Fayette’s definition, is career vision. Within each STEAM initiative we instill in students a sense of awareness of career contexts and understanding of how careers reflect their learning. The reason this vision is critical to our mission is that we consider computational thinking, which includes computer programming, to be the new literacy. We consider the process of working effectively, and the ability to be innovative with computer-based technology, to be as important to our children’s future as the basic reading, writing, and mathematics literacies.