Developing a learning goal framework for computational thinking in computationally integrated physics classrooms
Computational thinking has been a recent focus of education research within the sciences. However, there is a dearth of scholarly literature on how best to teach and to assess this topic, especially in disciplinary science courses. Physics classes with computation integrated into the curriculum are a fitting setting for investigating computational thinking. In this paper, we lay the foundation for exploring computational thinking in introductory physics courses. First, we review relevant literature to synthesize a set of potential learning goals that students could engage in when working with computation. The computational thinking framework that we have developed features 14 practices contained within 6 different categories. We use in-class video data as existence proofs of the computational thinking practices proposed in our framework. In doing this work, we hope to provide ways for teachers to assess their students' development of computational thinking, while also giving physics education researchers some guidance on how to study this topic in greater depth.