Computational Thinking and Fostering Creativity

Originally, Computational Thinking was only employed in educational circles as the unifying element in teaching mathematics effectively (Papert, 1996). A dramatic shift in the manner in which Computational Thinking is employed in education has seen the concept move away from the calculation of numbers to finding a solution to a problem by developing and creating the process that will lead to the solution (Wing, 2006).

Jeanette Wing, the foremost thinker in regards to Computational Thinking has further developed the concept and how to apply it in an educational context, not only in mathematics but across the curriculum (Wing & Stanzione, 2016). ACARA has begun to include Computational Thinking into the Science and Technology curriculum, but how do teachers in other disciplines include it to foster creativity in their classrooms?

In History, Computational Thinking assists students to answer important and controversial historical questions by collecting all the available evidence, breaking down the evidence and categorising it to make it manageable ( By doing this, the creativity of students can be fostered because each student will ultimately develop higher order thinking skills through the process and develop their own stances in relation to the evidence, the question itself and the process of developing the solution to the question.

As a discipline, History will have a combination of technological and non-technological Computational Thinking depending on the evidence and the type of question being asked. Laurillard (2012, p. 8) makes this valid point, ‘However, unless it can be expressed computationally it cannot exploit technology to assist the design and collaboration process.’ Without the use of Computational Thinking then the full advantage of technology cannot be utilised to develop deeper knowledge and higher order thinking skills with the ultimate result of creativity in the classroom (Bloom’s Taxonomy at work!).

Stage six of the Ancient and Modern History curricula in the N.S.W syllabus require the use of Computational Thinking to develop these processes to find solutions to important and controversial historical questions. The use of inquiry or project-based learning is the best approach for teachers to develop student skills while simultaneously fostering the creativity of students even whilst using digital technology. Questions such as the was the Trojan War a real historical event or the stuff of legend and its legacy or the controversy about the eruption of the island of Thera in the Aegean and whether this natural disaster brought about the demise of the Minoan civilisation in Crete and the Aegean.


Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science – Building Pedagogical Patterns for   Learning and Technology. NY: Routledge.
[Available   at   p=957058&echo=1&userid=kyfofzHEh0NR4VDyY3UmnQ%3d%3d&tstamp=1425432295&i  d=7C48C1B819DC5827B68F79C86C738005E022F269]

Papert, S. (1996). An exploration in the space of mathematics educations. International   Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning, 1(1), 95-   123.   docid=TN_springer_jour10.1007/BF00191473&context=PC&vid=MQ&search_scope=PC_PL  US_LOCAL&tab=books_more&lang=en_US

Stacey, D. (2015), Computational Thinking and History (Part 1). Available at:

Wing, J. M. (2006). Computational thinking. Communications of the ACM49(3), 33-   35. Available from:   doid=1118178.1118215

Wing, J. M & Stanzione, D. (2016). Progress in computational thinking, and expanding   the  HPC community. Commun. ACM 59, 7 (June 2016), 10-11. DOI:

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