Willingham on Education: Does It Compute?

Academic Computing

Much of the argument for computing education (at least in the UK) has centred around the benefits of the abstract skills that computing can confer. Often bunched into the buzzword “computational thinking”, I’m referring to things like algorithm construction, debugging, mental models of execution and so on. A key question is: how can we best instil these abstract reasoning skills?

One place to find answers to this may be the work of Daniel Willingham, an education researcher who is quite popular among UK teacher-bloggers. I’ve just finished Willingham’s 2009 book “Why Don’t Students Like School”. The title is a bit of a misnomer; essentially, it presents very readable arguments about education backed by cognitive psychology findings. This post is my attempt to map those findings into computing education.


The Goal

I don’t think anyone is pushing the teaching of programming so that we can get children to learn Java…

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About teachingbattleground

I teach
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