What is Computational Thinking?

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has published an operational definition which outlines the following key points


Computational thinking (CT) is a problem-solving process that includes (but is not limited to) the following characteristics:

• Formulating problems in a way that enables us to use a computer and other tools to help solve them.

• Logically organizing and analyzing data

• Representing data through abstractions such as models and simulations

• Automating solutions through algorithmic thinking (a series of ordered steps)

• Identifying, analyzing, and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources

• Generalizing and transferring this problem solving process to a wide variety of problems


These skills are supported and enhanced by a number of dispositions or attitudes that are essential dimensions of CT. These dispositions or attitudes include:

• Confidence in dealing with complexity

• Persistence in working with difficult problems

• Tolerance for ambiguity

• The ability to deal with open ended problems

• The ability to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal or solution


Recently ISTE and the Computer Science Teachers Association on a project to help the students of today understand how digital tools can be used to solve the problems of tomorrow.

“Advances in computing have expanded our capacity to solve problems at a scale never before imagined, using strategies that have not been available to us before. Students will need to learn and practice new skills—computational thinking (CT) skills—to take full advantage of these revolutionary changes brought about by rapid changes in technology. ”

As a result of this project, a short video has been produced which is meant to introduce CT to non-computing educators. We have embedded this video below:

For more information please visit ISTE’s Computational Thinking page. Not only is the above video available, but there are also some other great resources including the CT Toolkit.

BlogCritical Thinking + the Power of Computing