This week’s show on ITConversations explores what Jeannette Wing means by computational thinking. As I noted here, she has coined that evocative phrase to suggest how the intellectual tools of computer science — including abstraction, naming, composition, state machines, refactoring, and separation of concerns — can add up to “a universally applicable attitude and skill set that everyone, not just computer scientists, would be eager to learn and use.”

At Carnegie Mellon, where Dr. Wing is head of the computer science department, this way of thinking pervades many other academic disciplines. But in her view, it’s really as fundamental as reading, writing, and arithmetic, and like those skills it should be taught in grade school. Since that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, I wonder if computer games — which already teach kids certain aspects of computational thinking — could help advance this agenda in a more deliberate way.