Greg Linch’s April 30, 2010 post at the Publish2 blog improves upon my May 2009 post on computational thinking in journalism by placing it in the context of the larger conversation about the skills and habits of mind that journalists now need. He also offers helpful suggestions about specific computer science concepts that journalists ought to understand. Linch lists abstraction, debugging, defining variables, and commenting code as examples of computer science concepts that parallel traditional journalism skills and functions.
The National Academies Report on a Workshop on the Scope and Nature of Computational Thinking sounds dry, but its implications will be fascinating to watch. The monograph is a write-up of a 2009 gathering of computing experts that considered the emerging understanding of computational thinking and its implications for education. A follow-up workshop this month will consider the challenges of teaching computational thinking in more detail. I’m pleased to say that my colleague Ursula Wolz is one of the discussants. Ursula is the PI on our Broadening Participation in Computing project, the Interactive Journalism Institute for Middle Schoolers. Her leadership on the IJIMS project has been creative and visionary, and it’s exciting to see it have an impact on the direction that computing education and practice will take in the future.