Page: 279-292 Author: ARANDA, G., FERGUSON, J. P. Key words: computational thinking, unplugged programming, coding, epistemology, distributed cognition, embodied cognition
We currently live in digital times, with educators increasingly coming to realise the need to prepare students to productively participate in such a coding-infused society. Computational Thinking (CT) has emerged as an essential skill in this regard. As with any new skill, the ways it is theorised and practiced vary greatly. In this paper, we argue for the importance of Unplugged Programming (UP) as a hands-on and practical approach to teaching and learning, which emphasises embodied and distributed cognition. UP has the potential to open up what it means to enact CT in the classroom when computational devices are put to the side. Preparing for the issues of the future is a matter of reconnecting with the past, in particular with ideas such as epistemological pluralism. By appreciating the diversity of ways that students can undertake CT and teachers can support them in doing so – from coding with digital devices to pencil-and-paper programming – we can work to make the classroom a place in which students can explore and undertake CT in rich and diverse ways.
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