Two years ago, I left my role as a Program Manager at Microsoft to jump head-first into the world of education. A brand new middle school, Excel Public Charter School, was hiring for a position that sounded better than any I could have dreamed up - a "Computational Thinking Program Manager." At the time, I had no idea what "computational thinking" even meant, but after a few months in the role I finally worked out a definition that didn't require five minutes to explain. Computational thinking, at least to our 6-8th grade students, means solving hard problems of all kinds using ideas from computer science. These include algorithmic thinking, decomposition, abstraction and pattern recognition. Computational thinking is also dependent on attitudes like confidence in the face of ambiguity, tenacity through multiple iterations and strong collaborative and communication skills. My role focuses on creating and helping to implement computational thinking rich curriculum across all of our disciplines. Day to day, I work with all of the teachers at our school to understand their learning objectives and create the lessons and resources they need.
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