Computational Thinking

Yesterday, 2 students asked for my assistance regarding their problem with their files. Apparently, it’s a problem that is specific to Microsoft Windows users. The situation (if I remember correctly) was that the 1st student inserted her USB disk on the 2nd student’s laptop to transfer or copy some files. However, when the 2nd student opened her USB disk, some of the folders on it were missing and some turned into files with .exe file extensions.

So what do you think happened at the end of the day? 🙂

Well, since I was still facilitating a student group presentation in my class, I told the 2 students to just wait and return to me as soon as the class ends. Of course, I should focus on my teaching first, right? While watching my students present in class, I was already Googling about the problem. The fact that I’m not really a Microsoft Windows user (for years!) also made it somewhat hard for me to find the solution. Besides, shouldn’t teachers be focusing on integrating technology into teaching and learning instead of tinkering technology to get rid of viruses?

My search results pointed me to forum posts of users that also encountered the same problem. Most results pointed out that it was caused by a virus. (Well?) Some threads have solutions (e.g. installation and use of a software, execution via command prompt, etc.) I’m not really into Windows (and not really that interested) because I’m more into Linux and Mac OS X, so I only work my way by just Googling things. Linux and Mac already have existing and reliable forums (e.g. The Ubuntu Forum Community and Apple Support Communities) to consult to and post inquiries and get feedback instantly. I just wonder if Microsoft has the same thing.

When my class was almost done, the 2 students returned and waited for me. I instructed them to Google about the problem instead. Besides, we already had a Search Techniques session in one of our classes so I told them that they should already apply in real life what they had learned from that session, right? I reminded them how to Google properly every text on a window that shows up on their screen so that they will have an idea what every window or text or application does.

As expected, there were several results, so obviously (as the teacher), I reminded them that they should be critical on every website that they get into (if it’s reliable and so on). We tried several methods and I also showed the students how to verify if every step or website is risky (or not) and reliable. At the end of the day, I believe that the student who owns the USB disk was satisfied about being able to recover most of her files or folders. What’s also good about it is that the students were able to learn how to apply in real life the search techniques that we had discussed in our EDUC 190 class sessions. Critical thinking was applied in the process as well while building self-confidence on their part in using or tinkering with computers.

I hope that teachers would also do the same to their students inside or outside classrooms. In this age of technology, it is very important to teach students the value of computational thinking may it be as simple as a Google Search or as complex as building an information database through collaborative efforts.

If you’re still new into computational thinking, I suggest that you watch this video about Computational Thinking: A Digital Age Skill for Everyone made by ISTE, CSTA, and NSF:

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