This idea expands on Jeannette Wing's original definition of computational thinking.
Computational participation involves solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior in the context of computing. It allows for participation in digital activities. Many kids use code outside of school to create and share. Youth-generated websites have appeared to make and share programmable media online. These sites include video games, interactive art projects, and digital stories. They are inherently do-it-yourself (DIY), encouraging youth programming as an effective way to create and share online, and connect with each other, unlike learned disciplines such as algebra or chemistry. Through individual endeavor mixed with group feedback and collaboration the DIY ethos opens up three new pathways for engaging youth.
- From building code to creating shareable applications
- Programming that prizes coding accuracy and efficiency as signifiers of success is boring. To learn programming for the sake of programming goes nowhere for children unless they can put those skills to use in a meaningful way. Today children program to create applications like video games or interactive stories as part of a larger learning community.3 They are attracted to the possibility of creating something real and tangible that can be shared with others. Programming is not an abstract discipline, but a way to "make" and "be" in the digital world.
- From tools to communities
- Coding was once a solitary, tool-based activity. Now it is becoming a shared social practice. Participation spurred by open software environments and mutual enthusiasm shifts attention from programming tools to designing and supporting communities of learners. The past decade has brought many admirable introductory programming languages to make coding more intuitive and personal. Developers and educators realize that tools alone are not enough. Audiences are needed, and a critical mass of like-minded creators. Scratch, Alice, and similar tools have online communities of millions of young users. Children can work and share programs on a single website. This tacitly highlights the community of practice that has become a key for learning to code.
- From "from scratch" creation to "remixing."
- These new, networked communities focus on remixing. Students once created programs from scratch to demonstrate competency. Now they pursue seamless integration via remixing as the new social norm, in the spirit of the open source movement. Sharing one's code encourages others to sample creations, adjust them, and add to them. Such openness heightens potential for innovation across the board. Young users embrace sampling and sharing more freely, challenging the traditional top-down paradigm.
- Kafai, Y. B. (2016). From Computational Thinking to Computational Participation in K–12 Education. Commun. ACM, 59(8), 26–27. https://doi.org/10.1145/2955114
- Fields, D. A., Kafai, Y. B., & Giang, M. T. (2017). Youth Computational Participation in the Wild: Understanding Experience and Equity in Participating and Programming in the Online Scratch Community. ACM Trans. Comput. Educ., 17(3), 15:1–15:22. https://doi.org/10.1145/3123815