We join with the authors in welcoming the introduction of a new curriculum. The previous emphasis, on what they so aptly term ‘Digital Literacy’, produced students who were mere consumers of technology rather than the creators; servants rather than masters. The new approach allows teachers to introduce students to excitement of creating their own solutions using the inexpensive and powerful hardware and software that is now so widely available.
However we take issue with their argument firstly that there is a single computing method that could and should be applied. The plethora of different computer languages and software packages that have been developed, mirroring perhaps the wide variety of human languages and styles and forms of writing, reflect the impact of human creativity and the many different approaches that can be used to produce good workable solutions.
Furthermore we would challenge their implication that such method exists that could produce error free code. Although much progress has been made in the academic field of proving algorithms are correct, it is far from complete and much practical software engineering has to contend with challenge of highly complex and rapidly changing requirements, as well as many human factors.
Here at Brampton College we welcome the new syllabus which allows students to understand this world changing technology and to begin to create their own programs. They begin to understand how this curious mix of logic, mathematics and hardware has changed the way we communicate, process data and control physical devices and systems. The emphasis on coding and computation allows teachers to introduce students to the idea of Computing as an engineering discipline; the process of making things that work, perhaps not perfectly, but well enough; that can be applied to address issue in many aspects of life.
To develop their own analogy: just as English teachers are not teaching students to write Shakespearean sonnets but to develop their ability to express themselves and communicate effectively and creatively; this syllabus encourages students to learn how to create their own effective computer solutions and possible new innovative applications of computing even perhaps developing their own approach. This new syllabus, despite some shortcomings, does allow students to begin to understand how computers and the Internet work, to experience the joy of creating a working solution using a combination of software and hardware, and to appreciate some of the ways computers are changing not just the way we communicate and share information; but perhaps the way we can think and reason.
Computing at Brampton College