Three +1 Perspectives on Computational Thinking

Sebastian Mateos Nicolajsen, Magda Pischetola, Pawel Grabarczyk, Claus Brabrand

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Computational Thinking (CT) is a highly contentious subject with many diverging meanings and definitions. This study presents a pre- liminary literature review of 71 peer-reviewed articles on CT. The papers indicate the existence of five main aspects that have histori- cally been used in association with its definition: Algorithm, Ab- straction, Modelling, Simulation, and Implementation. Based on this preliminary literature study, semi-structured interviews with eight CT scholars are conducted, in order to evaluate these aspects and to identify qualitatively different perspectives on CT, which integrate the mentioned aspects in different ways. From the interviews, three different perspectives emerged, focusing on: Rea- soning, Simplification, and Automation. Furthermore, the goal of having computationally educated citizens is extrapolated from the interviews, indicating an additional perspective (+1) titled Empowerment, which appears as embedded within all the previ- ous three perspectives. This paper proposes to put these three (+1) perspectives in dialogue, in an effort to support researchers and practitioners working with CT across different fields.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication21st Koli Calling International Conference on Computing Education Research (Koli Calling ’21) : November 18–21, 2021, Joensuu, Finland
Place of PublicationNovember 18–21, 2021, Joensuu, Finland
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Computational thinking
  • literature review
  • computing education


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