What Is Computational Thinking?
Computational thinking is a high-level thought process that considers the world in computational terms. It begins with learning to see opportunities to compute something, and it develops to include such considerations as computational complexity; utility of approximate solutions; computational resource implications of different algorithms; selection of appropriate data structures; and ease of coding, maintaining, and using the resulting program. Computational thinking is applicable across disciplinary domains because it takes place at a level of abstraction where similarities and differences can be seen in terms of the computational strategies available. A person skilled in computational thinking is able to harness the power of computing to gain insights. At its best, computational thinking is multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary thinking with an emphasis on the benefits of computational strategies to augment human insights. Computational thinking is a way of looking at the world in terms of how information can be generated, related, analyzed, represented, and shared.
Introduction to the Module
This module introduces students to privacy issues that are created, worsened, or solved by computer technology and the collection of data. The module is driven by a series of case studies drawn from various well-known websites. It also examines a surprising way in which a computational strategy can protect privacy. The concluding activity has students create a proposal for the design of a Compute-a-Date dance website; in their proposal, the students are expected to apply what they’ve learned about privacy issues through the case studies in this module. The focus of the module is on how our ideas about privacy and personal conduct need to change in response to evolving technologies and the proliferation of data-collection tactics. Often there are no clear answers to questions about privacy, as evidenced by numerous court cases. When answers are not clear, the focus should be on becoming more informed and holding careful and informed discussions.