A framework of curriculum design for computational thinking development in K-12 education

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To respond to the growing integration of digital technologies across all sectors of society, a curriculum should be developed to nurture the next generation as creative problem solvers in order to see the world through a computational lens. One way to achieve this goal is to design a curriculum in K-12 to promote computational thinking (CT) through programming. In order to facilitate the design of the CT curriculum, the expected learning outcomes of the curriculum are proposed in this study. The CT learning outcomes of this study compose of CT knowledge, practices, and perspectives. Based on the proposed CT learning outcomes and interest-driven creator theory, this article aims to propose a seven-principle framework for guiding the design of K-12 CT curriculum. The first three principles ensure CT skills and perspectives are delivered in the curriculum through a programming environment that fosters CT knowledge acquisition. The other four principles are the design strategies for CT development: provide incrementally complex computational tasks across all levels of the curriculum to develop CT skills; review each level of the curriculum by producing final project samples to ensure a comprehensive coverage of CT knowledge; design the computational tasks that are of interest to the target learners to nurture interest-driven creator; and establish appropriate assessment criteria for the final projects and showcase their productions to enhance learners’ creativity. The future work is to design, implement, and evaluate CT curriculum underpinned by these seven principles in K-12. Copyright © 2016 Beijing Normal University.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-394
JournalJournal of Computers in Education
Issue number4
Early online dateNov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


Kong, S.-C. (2016). A framework of curriculum design for computational thinking development in K-12 education. Journal of Computers in Education, 3(4), 377-394.


  • Computational thinking (CT)
  • Interest-driven creator (IDC) theory
  • Programming education
  • Curriculum design
  • K-12 education


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