Why CT in Math Education?

The idea of integrating CT in mathematics education is not new. It was an essential part of the work of Papert (1980) with Logo, which was developed as a mathematics learning environment. Papert (1980) expressed in his 1980 book Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas that Logo “is to learning mathematics what living in France is to learning French.” (p. 6). Furthermore, supporting the idea that mathematics is a language to communicate with computers, Papert (1980) wrote that “learning to communicate with a computer may change the way other learning takes place”, and also “it is possible to design computers so that learning to communicate with them can be a natural process” (p. 6).

However, the state of the art CT curriculum around the world appears to view CT as its own curriculum objective, rather than integrated to support and enhance learning of existing subject areas, as was the case with Logo and mathematics. However, as Gadanidis et al (2016) note, “there is a natural connection between CT and mathematics—not just in the logical structure or in the ability to model mathematical relationships CT offers (Wing, 2006), but also in that CT integration affords novel, creative approaches to mathematics problem-solving, and increases the range of mathematics with which students at all levels can engage.”

The aim of our project is to research the use of computational thinking in mathematics education, from pre-school to undergraduate mathematics, and in mathematics teacher education.

References:

  • Gadanidis, G., Hughes, J.M., Minniti, L., & White, B. (2016). Computational Thinking, Grade 1 Students and the Binomial Theorem. Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education. doi 10.1007/s40751-016-0019-3
  • Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. New York, NY: Basic Books, Inc.
  • Wing, J. (2006). Computational thinking. Communications of the ACM, 49(3), 33–36.

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