Interdisciplinary Computational Thinking

Computational thinking is a way to ‘understand and change the world’. It is about more than just computing. It crosses curriculum boundaries giving a powerful way to understand (and change) our digital, physical and social worlds.  It gives pupils a new tool in their toolkit for thinking about the world and solving problems.

Computational thinking, applied through modelling and simulation, is already fundamentally changing research in the biological, social and physical sciences. For example, models of neurons help us understand the way the brain works; evolutionary models help to explain biological phenomena; agent-based models shed light on social systems; computational models give scientists a way to understand the climate. Exploring such applications gives a fertile context in which to encourage computational thinking and so motivate interest in Computing. It also gives a powerful new way to learn topics in other subjects, promoting interdisciplinary understanding.

In this section we look at links between Computing and a variety of other subjects, and how computational thinking techniques apply across the curriculum. In each section we give links to activity sheets and to cs4fn portals with a wide range of articles covering the links and cs4fn booklets as well as to other external resources.

Follow the links to find more resources on a range of interdisciplinary topics. More topics and resources to follow.

These interdisciplinary computing pages have been developed as part of the project ‘Supporting the Teaching of Interdisciplinary and Creative Computational Thinking’ which is a collaboration between Queen Mary, University of London and Hertford College, Oxford. It is funded by the Department of Education with match funding from Google, the Department of Philosophy of the University of Oxford, the EPSRC funded CHI+MED project (EP/G059063/1) and private donations. It builds on and extends resources originally developed with support from EPSRC (EP/F032641/1) and Google.

Google have been especially helpful in their support of our work over many years.

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2 thoughts on “Interdisciplinary Computational Thinking

  1. There is currently a lot of interest in Computational Thinking at schools and in Higher Education. However, most initiatives are funded and implemented for and by STEM academics and disciplines; in particular, computer science. I support the more Interdisciplinary Computational Thinking concept being promoted here.

    I am curious though why the Department of “Philosophy” became a partner to this initiative.

    How is Computational Thinking supporting the knowledge creation process?
    Or are you more concerned with the outcome of acquired knowledge (a product)?

    Thank you.
    Michael Vallance

    • Hello Michael, thanks for your comment. I don’t know the answer but will ask Prof Paul Curzon on his return from holidays. I suspect the answer may be fairly prosaic in that the person we’re working with there works in that department. Best wishes, Jo

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