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Question Development

No end in sight yet, but feeling much better about the process.

In my last post, I shared how deflating it was trying to think of quality questions to ask about Computer Science Education. But, after mulling over my questions and applying the five whys root-cause analysis to one of them, I feel much more optimistic. I especially like my two “What If” questions.

Questioning my questions.
What if Computer Science (CS) were dominated by women and underrepresented minorities?

What if CS were a K-12 core subject?

Neither of the situations described in the questions will ever be realized, but in imagining the possibilities posed by those questions, much could be learned. Perhaps a contrast between CS as it is with CS as dominated by others would inform potential changes to retain others in CS. Perhaps imagining all of the content and learning progressions that could be taught in K-12 CS would shed some light on the current pedagogical needs in CS.

Root-cause analysis had me ask a five successive why questions about computational thinking based on my initial computational thinking (CT) question:

Why can't computer scientists agree on CT?

Why are there different definitions of CT?

Why do computer scientists have different criteria for what should be included in CT?

Why do computer scientists have different values and beliefs for what's important in CS?

Why do values and beliefs makes a difference in computer science?

I am not sure the assumptions behind the last two questions are correct; I still need to consider other possibilities. But what would really be exciting is thinking of five What If questions for CT, questions that would imagine the possibilities beyond what CT is currently mired in. Maybe something like

What if computer scientists collaboratively applied their powers of computational thinking to define computational thinking?

Just four more to go.


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