COMPUTATIONAL THINKING INTEGRATION COMPETENCIES

Integrate CT across disciplines, with all students CT competencies for educators

Our goal is to help all learners become computational thinkers (CT) who can harness the power of computing to innovate and solve problems. These competencies are intended to help educators build those skills by integrating computational thinking across all disciplines and with students of all ages. This body of work complements the existing CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards for Students and the K-12 Computer Science Framework. Why did ISTE create the Computational Thinking Competencies?

ISTE Standards for Educators: Computational Thinking Competencies

Preamble

Leaders and educators around the world have the enormous responsibility of preparing all students for success in a future where computing power underpins every aspect of the systems we encounter in our daily lives. Ensuring that every student understands and is able to harness the power of computing to improve their success in their personal, academic or professional lives is an ambitious goal. The ISTE Standards for Educators: Computational Thinking Competencies is intended to help all educators contribute to making that goal a reality.

In 2019, ISTE will release educator standards specifically for computer science discipline teachers in collaboration with the Computer Science Teachers Association. The Computational Thinking Competencies, however, focus on the educator knowledge, skills and mindsets to integrate computational thinking (CT) across the K-12 content areas and with students of every age. These competencies augment and hone in on the competencies embedded in the ISTE Standards for Students and the ISTE Standards for Educators.

Computational thinking is a powerful ingredient for solving ambiguous, complex and open-ended problems by drawing on principles and practices central to computer science (CS). CT is at the core of computer science and a gateway to sparking student interest and confidence in learning computer science. In these competencies, we use the definition of CS found in the K12 CS Framework, "the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their [implementation], and their impact on society," (Tucker et. al, 2003, p. 6), and describe computational thinking as involving designing solutions that leverage the power of computing.

Similarly to how technology is used by educators to deepen content area learning while building digital learning skills, teachers can integrate CT practices in their instruction to introduce computational ideas. This will enhance student content knowledge and build confidence and competence in CT. By integrating computational thinking into the classroom, students can develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, and are empowered for success as a CS learner and computational thinker.

ISTE recognizes that the CS concepts framed in current standards and frameworks are not only new to students, but educators as well. Standard 1. Computational Thinking (Learner) is not an expectation of current knowledge, but instead the beginning of a road map to help educators identify strengths and weaknesses, and seek out professional development opportunities to increase their mastery.

This document is not a one-size-fits-all list of expectations, but a recognition that competencies present different opportunities for growth and goal-setting for educators. Educators are doing powerful work to integrate CT across other disciplines to enable students to learn, use and apply CS concepts and CT practices across different contexts. ISTE seeks to help educators recognize where this work is already happening, identify opportunities to make these connections more explicit, and develop new ways to deepen student learning in CS, using computational thinking to drive that work.

Computational Thinking Competencies

1

Computational Thinking (LEARNER)

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Educators continually improve their practice by developing an understanding of computational thinking and its application as a cross-curricular skill. Educators develop a working knowledge of core components of computational thinking: such as decomposition; gathering and analyzing data; abstraction; algorithm design; and how computing impacts people and society. Educators:

Articulate and set personal learning goals: Age-appropriate opportunities for students to have a say in their learning goals and make choices on how to meet them.
Decomposition: Breaking down a problem or system into smaller, more manageable components. (OA agg)
Gathering and analyzing data: Including collecting, storing and representing information in a way that can be understood by a computer to help us find and recognize patterns, make predictions and communicate important ideas. (OA agg)
Abstraction: As a process, reducing complexity by focusing on the main idea in a way that allows one to focus on the problem at hand; as a product, a new representation of a thing, a system or a problem that reframes a problem by hiding details irrelevant to the question at hand. (K12CS edit)
Algorithm design: Process of designing a step-by-step process, precise instructions or sequence to complete a task, especially for a computer. (OA agg)
How computing impacts people and society: Computing affects many aspects of the world in both positive and negative ways at local, national and global levels. Individuals and communities influence computing through their behaviors and cultural and social interactions, and in turn, computing influences new cultural practices. An informed and responsible person should understand the social implications of the digital world, including equity and access to computing. (K12CS)

Articulate and set personal learning goals: Age-appropriate opportunities for students to have a say in their learning goals and make choices on how to meet them.

Decomposition: Breaking down a problem or system into smaller, more manageable components. (OA agg)

Gathering and analyzing data: Including collecting, storing and representing information in a way that can be understood by a computer to help us find and recognize patterns, make predictions and communicate important ideas. (OA agg)

Abstraction: As a process, reducing complexity by focusing on the main idea in a way that allows one to focus on the problem at hand; as a product, a new representation of a thing, a system or a problem that reframes a problem by hiding details irrelevant to the question at hand. (K12CS edit)

Algorithm design: Process of designing a step-by-step process, precise instructions or sequence to complete a task, especially for a computer. (OA agg)

How computing impacts people and society: Computing affects many aspects of the world in both positive and negative ways at local, national and global levels. Individuals and communities influence computing through their behaviors and cultural and social interactions, and in turn, computing influences new cultural practices. An informed and responsible person should understand the social implications of the digital world, including equity and access to computing. (K12CS)

1a

Set professional learning goals to explore and apply teaching strategies for integrating CT practices into learning activities in ways that enhance student learning of both the academic discipline andCS concepts.

Integrating CT practices into learning activities Educators can integrate CT practices into their instruction of other content areas to introduce computational ideas, for example, having students in a science class illustrate the movement of a solar system by modeling the gravitationally curved path of an object around a point in space, or asking students in a history class to identify trends in labor market data that indicate economic depressions. The ISTE U Introduction to Computational Thinking for Every Educator and Google's Computational Thinking Concepts Guide are great places to get started! (Google/OA agg)
CS concepts: May include computing systems; networks and the internet; data and analysis; algorithms and programming; impacts of computing; abstraction; system relationships; human-computer interaction; privacy and security; and communication and coordination. See the K12 CS Framework and the CSTA K12 CS Standards for a full description of fundamental CS concepts for students by grade level.

Integrating CT practices into learning activities Educators can integrate CT practices into their instruction of other content areas to introduce computational ideas, for example, having students in a science class illustrate the movement of a solar system by modeling the gravitationally curved path of an object around a point in space, or asking students in a history class to identify trends in labor market data that indicate economic depressions. The ISTE U Introduction to Computational Thinking for Every Educator and Google's Computational Thinking Concepts Guide are great places to get started! (Google/OA agg)

CS concepts: May include computing systems; networks and the internet; data and analysis; algorithms and programming; impacts of computing; abstraction; system relationships; human-computer interaction; privacy and security; and communication and coordination. See the K12 CS Framework and the CSTA K12 CS Standards for a full description of fundamental CS concepts for students by grade level.

1b

Learn to recognize where and how computation can be used to enrich data or content to solve discipline-specific problems and be able to connect these opportunities to foundational CT practices and CS concepts.

Enrich data or content to solve discipline-specific problems: Applying computational thinking to solve complex, open-ended problems and make connections in other content areas.

Enrich data or content to solve discipline-specific problems: Applying computational thinking to solve complex, open-ended problems and make connections in other content areas.

1c

Leverage CT and CS experts, resources and professional learning networks to continuously improve practice integrating CT across content areas.

Professional learning networks: Virtual avenue for connecting with others to improve professional skills. ISTE, CSTA and CSforALL support virtual communities of educators that offer support around CS and CT teaching. (ISTE plus)

Professional learning networks: Virtual avenue for connecting with others to improve professional skills. ISTE, CSTA and CSforALL support virtual communities of educators that offer support around CS and CT teaching. (ISTE plus)

1d

Develop resilience and perseverance when approaching CS and CT learning experiences, build comfort with ambiguity and open-ended problems, and see failure as an opportunity to learn and innovate.

CS and CT learning experiences: As an educator, seeking opportunities to learn about and places where the process of computational thinking and ideas foundational to computer science and/or computational thinking can be used to deepen student understanding of these concepts
See failure as an opportunity to learn and innovate: As part of a mindset of continuous improvement through persistence, tolerance for uncertainty, willingness to learn, openness to feedback, etc.

CS and CT learning experiences: As an educator, seeking opportunities to learn about and places where the process of computational thinking and ideas foundational to computer science and/or computational thinking can be used to deepen student understanding of these concepts

See failure as an opportunity to learn and innovate: As part of a mindset of continuous improvement through persistence, tolerance for uncertainty, willingness to learn, openness to feedback, etc.

1e

Recognize how computing and society interact to create opportunities, inequities, responsibilities and threats for individuals and organizations.

Opportunities, inequities, responsibilities and threats for individuals and organizations: Including ways that computing influences culture and behavior; historical inequities in participation; legal and ethical considerations around the use of computing devices; and privacy and security issues.

Opportunities, inequities, responsibilities and threats for individuals and organizations: Including ways that computing influences culture and behavior; historical inequities in participation; legal and ethical considerations around the use of computing devices; and privacy and security issues.

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2

Equity Leader (LEADER)

2a

Nurture a confident, competent and positive identity around computing for every student.

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2b

Construct and implement culturally relevant learning activities that address a diverse range of ethical, social and cultural perspectives on computing and highlight computing achievements from diverse role models and teams.

Culturally relevant: Learning activities that build on students' prior knowledge and cultural experience and support appropriate and effective interactions with people from other cultures while being mindful of others' experiences and aware of one's own identity and ideas about difference. (ISTE/OA agg)
Ethical, social and cultural perspectives: Points of view that align with one's moral code, social relations and norms, and the ideas, customs and behavior of a society. (ISTE/OA agg)

Culturally relevant: Learning activities that build on students' prior knowledge and cultural experience and support appropriate and effective interactions with people from other cultures while being mindful of others' experiences and aware of one's own identity and ideas about difference. (ISTE/OA agg)

Ethical, social and cultural perspectives: Points of view that align with one's moral code, social relations and norms, and the ideas, customs and behavior of a society. (ISTE/OA agg)

2c

Choose teaching approaches that help to foster an inclusive computing culture, avoid stereotype threat and equitably engage all students.

Teaching approaches: Such as inquiry-based teaching; project-based learning; emphasizing multiple solutions; exposing students to diverse CS and CT role models; and intentionally structuring peer interactions. (OA agg)
Foster an inclusive computing culture: Incorporating perspectives from people of different genders, ethnicities, abilities and perspectives, and understanding the personal, ethical, social, economic and cultural contexts in which people operate. (K12CS)
Stereotype threat: Phenomenon of negative stereotypes raising inhibiting doubts and high-pressure anxieties where people can feel at risk of conforming to stereotypes about their social group.
Equitably engage all students: Constructing a learning environment and learning activities where all students feel motivated and supported.

Teaching approaches: Such as inquiry-based teaching; project-based learning; emphasizing multiple solutions; exposing students to diverse CS and CT role models; and intentionally structuring peer interactions. (OA agg)

Foster an inclusive computing culture: Incorporating perspectives from people of different genders, ethnicities, abilities and perspectives, and understanding the personal, ethical, social, economic and cultural contexts in which people operate. (K12CS)

Stereotype threat: Phenomenon of negative stereotypes raising inhibiting doubts and high-pressure anxieties where people can feel at risk of conforming to stereotypes about their social group.

Equitably engage all students: Constructing a learning environment and learning activities where all students feel motivated and supported.

2d

Assess and manage classroom culture to drive equitable student participation, address exclusionary dynamics and counter implicit bias.

Equitable student participation: Ensuring a classroom culture that facilitates positive student-student and student-teacher interactions, and encourages student participation based on their strengths and needs.
Exclusionary dynamics: Inequitable or exclusionary interactions or dynamics potentially brought on by societal norms, bias or stereotypes.
Implicit bias: The attitudes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious way.

Equitable student participation: Ensuring a classroom culture that facilitates positive student-student and student-teacher interactions, and encourages student participation based on their strengths and needs.

Exclusionary dynamics: Inequitable or exclusionary interactions or dynamics potentially brought on by societal norms, bias or stereotypes.

Implicit bias: The attitudes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious way.

2e

Communicate with students, parents and leaders about the impacts of computing in our world and across diverse roles and professional life, and why these skills are essential for all students.

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3

Collaborating Around Computing (COLLABORATOR)

3a

Model and learn with students how to formulate computational solutions to problems and how to give and receive actionable feedback.

Formulate computational solutions: Define a problem, break it down into parts, evaluate each part to determine whether a computational solution is appropriate, and represent the solution in a form that both a computer and a human could understand. (K12 CS/OA agg)
Actionable feedback:: Ask questions and share ideas to provide constructive feedback in a way that students can incorporate others' ideas and perspectives into their work.
3b

Apply effective teaching strategies to support student collaboration around computing, including pair programming, working in varying team roles, equitable workload distribution and project management.

3c

Plan collaboratively with other educators to create learning activities that cross disciplines to strengthen student understanding of CT and CS concepts and transfer application of knowledge in new contexts.

Plan collaboratively: Dedicate time to collaborate with colleagues to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and create an integrated CT learning experience for students. (ISTE plus)
Transfer application of knowledge: Creating opportunities for students to make connections between elements of computational thinking across disciplines and see where these concepts can apply in multiple contexts. For example, students learning about parts of speech might use a set of cards and templates to create an algorithm that generates postcards. Educators could extend this experience by having students write a program to accomplish the same task.

Plan collaboratively: Dedicate time to collaborate with colleagues to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and create an integrated CT learning experience for students. (ISTE plus)

Transfer application of knowledge: Creating opportunities for students to make connections between elements of computational thinking across disciplines and see where these concepts can apply in multiple contexts. For example, students learning about parts of speech might use a set of cards and templates to create an algorithm that generates postcards. Educators could extend this experience by having students write a program to accomplish the same task.

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4

Creativity & Design (DESIGNER)

Computational thinking skills can empower students to create computational artifacts that allow for personal expression. Educators recognize that design and creativity can encourage a growth mindset and work to create meaningful CS learning experiences and environments that inspire students to build their skills and confidence around computing in ways that reflect their interests and experiences. Educators:

Computational artifacts: Anything created by a human using a computational thinking process and a computing device, including but not limited to, a program, image, audio, video, presentation or web page file. (K12CS)

Computational artifacts: Anything created by a human using a computational thinking process and a computing device, including but not limited to, a program, image, audio, video, presentation or web page file. (K12CS)

4a

Design CT activities where data can be obtained, analyzed and represented to support problem-solving and learning in other content areas.

Where data can be obtained, analyzed and represented: Finding opportunities to collect and use or transform data to better understand the world and deepen student learning, including to automate the data collection process, simplify data and discover and communicate patterns and trends. (K12CS/OA agg)

Where data can be obtained, analyzed and represented: Finding opportunities to collect and use or transform data to better understand the world and deepen student learning, including to automate the data collection process, simplify data and discover and communicate patterns and trends. (K12CS/OA agg)

4b

Design authentic learning activities that ask students to leverage a design process to solve problems with awareness of technical and human constraints and defend their design choices.

Authentic learning activities: Learning experiences that have value or resonance beyond the classroom, for example, solving real-world problems; workforce-related projects and skill-building; wrestling with significant philosophical or intellectual problems; and designing projects or processes. (ISTE)
Design process: A methodology for problem-solving; a series of steps used to solve a problem and design a solution. For example, human-centered design process, project-based learning, engineering design processes, scientific method. (ISTE)
Technical and human constraints: Taking into account the way and by whom a product will be used in the design process and reflecting their preferences and needs in the design, such as ease of use, accessibility to people with disabilities, cost, user experience, materials, language, environmental factors and cultural barriers. (ISTE plus)

Authentic learning activities: Learning experiences that have value or resonance beyond the classroom, for example, solving real-world problems; workforce-related projects and skill-building; wrestling with significant philosophical or intellectual problems; and designing projects or processes. (ISTE)

Design process: A methodology for problem-solving; a series of steps used to solve a problem and design a solution. For example, human-centered design process, project-based learning, engineering design processes, scientific method. (ISTE)

Technical and human constraints: Taking into account the way and by whom a product will be used in the design process and reflecting their preferences and needs in the design, such as ease of use, accessibility to people with disabilities, cost, user experience, materials, language, environmental factors and cultural barriers. (ISTE plus)

4c

Guide students on the importance of diverse perspectives and human-centered design in developing computational artifacts with broad accessibility and usability.

Human-centered design: Design and management framework and creative approach to problem-solving that develops solutions to problems by keeping the human perspective at the core of all steps of the design process. (OA agg/IDEO)

Human-centered design: Design and management framework and creative approach to problem-solving that develops solutions to problems by keeping the human perspective at the core of all steps of the design process. (OA agg/IDEO)

4d

Create CS and CT learning environments that value and encourage varied viewpoints, student agency, creativity, engagement, joy and fun.

CS and CT learning environment: Classroom culture/norms and learning activities. (OA agg)

CS and CT learning environment: Classroom culture/norms and learning activities. (OA agg)

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5

Integrating Computational Thinking (FACILITATOR)

5a

Evaluate and use CS and CT curricula, resources and tools that account for learner variability to meet the needs of all students.

CS and CT curricula: Learning activities and materials that provide opportunities for students to explore and apply principles of computational thinking and computer science. (OA agg)
Learner variability: For example, providing culturally reflective curriculum, language supports, assistive technologies and personalized learning to account for the strengths and diverse needs of students, and are accessible for students with both physical and cognitive disabilities. (ISTE plus)

CS and CT curricula: Learning activities and materials that provide opportunities for students to explore and apply principles of computational thinking and computer science. (OA agg)

Learner variability: For example, providing culturally reflective curriculum, language supports, assistive technologies and personalized learning to account for the strengths and diverse needs of students, and are accessible for students with both physical and cognitive disabilities. (ISTE plus)

5b

Empower students to select personally meaningful computational projects.

Personally meaningful computational projects: : Projects that use computation or computational thinking and reflect students' experiences or interests.

Personally meaningful computational projects: : Projects that use computation or computational thinking and reflect students' experiences or interests.

5c

Use a variety of instructional approaches to help students frame problems in ways that can be represented as computational steps or algorithms to be performed by a computer.

Instructional approaches: Techniques used to achieve a learning outcome. (OA agg)
Algorithms:: Step-by-step processes to complete a task. (K12CS)

Instructional approaches: Techniques used to achieve a learning outcome. (OA agg)

Algorithms:: Step-by-step processes to complete a task. (K12CS)

5d

Establish criteria for evaluating CT practices and content learning that use a variety of formative and alternative assessments to enable students to demonstrate their understanding of age-appropriate CS and CT vocabulary, practices and concepts.

Alternative assessments: Often student-chosen ways to demonstrate their knowledge and skills; within computational artifacts, educators need to establish criteria for consistently evaluating a variety of artifact types.
CS and CT vocabulary, practices and concepts: Using precise and age-appropriate language, examples and vocabulary to introduce computational thinking and computer science learning experiences, techniques and ideas to students based their level and classroom environment.

Alternative assessments: Often student-chosen ways to demonstrate their knowledge and skills; within computational artifacts, educators need to establish criteria for consistently evaluating a variety of artifact types.

CS and CT vocabulary, practices and concepts: Using precise and age-appropriate language, examples and vocabulary to introduce computational thinking and computer science learning experiences, techniques and ideas to students based their level and classroom environment.

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