An Introduction to delivering Computational Thinking

Presented by: James Lockwood, Georgina O’Mahony & Aidan Mooney

Computational Thinking allows students to gain skills in problem solving which will be of benefit to them both academically and socially. There has been a lot of discussion recently about formally introducing Computer Coding in schools and this is very welcomed. At third level Computer Science has one of the lowest progression rates from first to second level with programming modules seen as a major stumbling block. Doing programming at schools is a risk, as the students are not choosing to study it, unlike at third level. We believe Computational Thinking is a more appropriate to engage students in schools.
There are many tools proposed for introducing Computational Thinking including: Scratch, App Inventor, Lego Mindstorms and CS Unplugged. In this workshop, we will present another tool called Bebras to help deliver Computational Thinking material through engaging and fun problems. We hope to show that Bebras can be used cross curricular and for all ages. We have used these problems with teachers and the feedback has been positive. We hope that you will walk away from this workshop with something to use in your classroom on Monday.

Presenter Biography:

James Lockwood is a postgraduate student in the Computer Science at Maynooth University. His research is focused on developing a curriculum for Transition Year students which teaches Computational Thinking concepts, programming and hopes to improve students’ knowledge, understanding and attitude towards Computer Science. Dr. Georgina O’Mahony is the digital learning leader at Mount Anville Secondary School and has been teaching at both 2nd and 3rd level for many years. Dr. Aidan Mooney is a lecturer in the department of Computer Science at Maynooth University. Their research interests include Computer Science education, integration of technology into lessons and improving the student experience.