Computational Thinking, History and Non-formal Learning-A Well-crafted Blend!
Keywords:Computational Thinking, CT in Humanities, non-formal learning, WhatsApp groups, SMS language
Computational thinking (CT) is one of the core skills required for 21st century education. As we transition from STEM to STEAM by incorporating Art, it becomes imperative to see the application of CT in Humanities. The subskills of CT can be integrated in both -formal and informal teaching-learning practices of Humanities. This paper studies guided learning practices by the instructors that enable application of CT subskills of decomposition, pattern recognition, and abstraction by students of Post Graduate History Course. This qualitative study explores development of CT skills through Historical thinking using a specifically created WhatsApp group as a communication channel for the purpose of fostering and guiding Computational Thinking Skills. This study further explores how informal learning through WhatsApp communication aids in the development of CT skills of abstraction, pattern recognition in the process of discussions and Historical thinking. The qualitative analysis of WhatsApp posts illustrate how the CT skills are nurtured and applied by students without any formal knowledge of the same. Higher frequency of learner-to-learner messaging mirrors watercooler and corridor communication and dramatically moves learning away from solely instructor-learner directional communication chains specific to traditional learning spaces. This corroborates the importance of free and informal learning space in the development of CT skills in students beyond the domain boundaries of STEM.
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