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Problem Solving and Computational Thinking in a Learning Environment

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Executive Summary

Computational thinking is a new problem solving method named for its extensive use of computer science techniques. It synthesizes critical thinking and existing knowledge and applies them to solve complex technological problems. The term was coined by J. Wing, but the relationship between computational and critical thinking, the two modes of thinking in solving problems, has not been yet clearly established. This paper aims in shedding some light into this relationship. The authors also present two classroom experiments performed recently at the Graduate Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Patras, Greece. The result of these experiment give a strong indication that the use of computers as a tool for problem solving enhances the students abilities in solving real world problems involving mathematical modelling.

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