New Scottish Computer Science Curriculum

August 18, 2009 at 11:42 am 2 comments

Interesting blog on the CACM site: http://cacm.acm.org/blogs/blog-cacm/37565-what-does-a-computer-scientist-do/fulltext. Scotland is developing a new computer science curriculum, from grade school up through higher education. Their “Big Ideas” are pretty similar to the ones being developed for the new AP “Computer Science: Principles.” They’re much more about what is possible with a computer, than how one uses a computer or how one works.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alan Kay  |  August 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Yikes!

    Also, check out what they call “The Sciences”.

    Cheers,

    Alan

    Reply
  • 2. Mark Miller  |  August 21, 2009 at 3:10 am

    After seeing Alan Kay’s comment I went and looked at their curriculum outline, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Only thing is I don’t understand their grade system. It looks like it starts at kindergarten. As they describe it, it looks like an outcome-based education philosophy, with scientific principles being channeled into specific applications–kind of an “everyday science” approach, which I imagine waters down the subject–though some of the applications looked pretty advanced for primary school students. The closest thing I found to a general study that sounded like real science was “Materials: Properties and uses of substances”.

    The “computer science” curriculum I saw outlined is unfortunate because it doesn’t look like it teaches anything like the computing principles Judy Robertson talks about. It looks more like “IT for kids”. It’s dismaying that they call this “computer science”, because from the description it’s the furthest thing from it. I’m no expert on childhood pedagogy, but I thought if they really wanted to get into “childhood CS” they’d try different representations of boolean logic, or different base numbering systems. Something that would actually relate to the subject.

    I found this great example a while back in a comment left on a TechRepublic.com blog. You can read the comment at:

    http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-12845-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=311033&messageID=3096219

    “I was born to program!
    I started when I was three! I placed musical notes (metal bars) on a toy railroad track and then placed the train on the track and turned it on. It played a tune!

    bsaucer”

    This was so creative I loved it! It’s a precursor to the idea of a Turing machine–for a 3-year-old!

    Reply

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