Abstraction Through Multiple Representations in an Integrated Computational Thinking Environment

Published in SIGCSE 2020, 2020

Recommended citation: Gautam, A., Bortz, W., & Tatar, D. (2020). Abstraction Through Multiple Representations in an Integrated Computational Thinking Environment. In Proceedings of the 51st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (pp. 393-399). http://aakashg58.github.io/files/sigcse2020.pdf

We present reflections based on qualitative analysis of data from the CHEM+C Project which promotes computational thinking (CT) in classrooms through integration with science classes. The curriculum utilizes multiple representations, requiring students to work with physical phenomena, chemical equations, digital simulations, and modifiable code-based representations. Much CT focus on abstraction naturally emphasizes (1) extraction of a set of features from an object or process, and (2) finding commonality between objects and processes. But Rosen encourages us to think about abstraction as also including the production of new concepts or actions. Integrating CT into science offers the possibility of enhancing this aspect of abstraction. Changing the representational affordances available to the students allows them to take their CT thinking beyond learning-to-abstract towards learning-through-abstraction. This perspective moves computation from an internally focused exercise into the expression of valued ideas in a computational medium.

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Recommended citation: Gautam, A., Bortz, W., & Tatar, D. (2020). Abstraction Through Multiple Representations in an Integrated Computational Thinking Environment. In Proceedings of the 51st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (pp. 393-399).