Hiding in Plain Sight: Identifying Computational Thinking in the Ontario Elementary School Curriculum

Eden J.V. Hennessey, Julie Mueller, Danielle Beckett, Peter A. Fisher


Given a growing digital economy with complex problems, demands are being made for education to address
computational thinking (CT) – an approach to problem solving that draws on the tenets of computer science. We
conducted a comprehensive content analysis of the Ontario elementary school curriculum documents for 44 CT-related
terms to examine the extent to which CT may already be considered within the curriculum. The quantitative analysis
strategy provided frequencies of terms, and a qualitative analysis provided information about how and where terms
were being used. As predicted, results showed that while CT terms appeared mostly in Mathematics, and concepts and
perspectives were more frequently cited than practices, related terms appeared across almost all disciplines and grades.
Findings suggest that CT is already a relevant consideration for educators in terms of concepts and perspectives;
however, CT practices should be more widely incorporated to promote 21st century skills across disciplines. Future
research would benefit from continued examination of the implementation and assessment of CT and its related
concepts, practices, and perspectives.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jct.v6n1p79


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Copyright (c) 2017 Eden J.V. Hennessey, Julie Mueller, Danielle Beckett, Peter A. Fisher

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email: jct@sciedupress.com

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