Research suggests that there can be benefits to playing video games in terms of developing problem-solving, cognitive function and special awareness skills (Gee, 2005; Adachi and Willoughby, 2013; Green and Bavelier, 2006; Przybylski, 2014; Subrahmanyam and Greenfield, 1994; Spence and Feng, 2010; Connolly et al., 2012). Research by OECD (2015) shows that pupils who play video games have higher success when sitting computer-based tests, specifically in problem-solving and mathematics. The OECD also suggests that pupils who interact with computer software are more confident when faced with the prospect of a computer-based test.
It is widely known that more boys interact on a regular basis with video-gaming software than girls. It is vital that we encourage all pupils to interact positively with computer software so that all pupils can benefit from the skill development and confidence working with technology can bring. By encouraging and empowering boys and girls to engage with technology in a positive way, we move closer to closing the gender-based gap within the STEM subjects and inspire more pupils to consider a diverse range of curricular areas and learner pathways.
As part of CfE’s Health and Well-being Experience’s and Outcomes under ‘Planning for choices and change’, we ask that learners “experience activities which enable them to develop the skills and attributes they will need if they are to achieve and sustain positive destinations beyond school”. In a world where technology is ever present in the work place, it is important that all young people are provided opportunities to engage in exciting learning opportunities, such as GamesCon 2020.
Computers can be used to help us solve problems. However, before a problem can be tackled, the problem itself and the ways in which it could be solved need to be understood.
Computational thinking allows us to do this.
Computational thinking allows us to take a complex problem, understand what the problem is and develop possible solutions. We can then present these solutions in a way that a computer, a human, or both, can understand.
The four cornerstones of computational thinking
There are four key techniques (cornerstones) to computational thinking:
decomposition – breaking down a complex problem or system into smaller, more manageable parts
abstraction – focusing on the important information only, ignoring irrelevant detail
algorithms – developing a step-by-step solution to the problem, or the rules to follow to solve the problem
Each cornerstone is as important as the others. They are like legs on a table – if one leg is missing, the table will probably collapse. Correctly applying all four techniques will help when programming a computer. (More information HERE )
Barefoot Computing is a great FREE resource , and the resources are mapped to Curriculum for Excellence and the current Experience and Outcomes. The materials provide learning opportunities to support aspects of the broad general education Computing Science curriculum within the Technologies whilst also providing interdisciplinary experiences across the curriculum.
Barefoot add Logic and Evaluation as key concepts, but you will see the Computational Thinking concepts and approaches could be used anywhere in the curriculum.
Registration for Barefoot resources is FREE and you can even book a free CLPL twilight at your school for all the teachers.
Full information is on the site, and I would encourage you to explore and make use of the many ready to use in CfE lesson plans.