Computing Science and Games Programming and Computing is... again!) but, although I haven't blogged about them in a while, they have continued to niggle away at me. Discussion about a subject's place in the inter-disciplinary world of Curriculum for Excellence is of course not unique to Computing (see for example Curriculum for Excellence: the end of Integrated Science? and
I was talking to a chap today, who has been out of the classroom studying and is going back to teach Computing next week after a year's absence. I stated again that I like the definition proposed after the Schools Computing Workshop (which took place over two years ago!):
This seems to me a good balance between being simple enough to be grasped quickly while still leaving enough room to be expanded in complex ways. The chap I was speaking to seemed to think this was a useful focus for our subject, however, he asked how we expand this definition to define the core of the subject in a bit more detail. For example, in CfE speak, Chemistry was defined as: Our Material World including uses and properties of materials, sustainability, the chemistry of life processes and the applications of chemistry in society.
Of the top of my head I suggested:
Our Digital World including programming as an exploration of formal defined languages, digital communications, computer systems and hardware, and the implications of Computing and ICT in society.Programming is about problem solving and the control of computers using a formally defined language. I would therefore take a very broad definition of programming which would allow the study of application software to take place under this umbrella. By including applications in the programming topic we would hopefully avoid the danger of merely learning button pushing skills and be able to focus instead on computer applications as powerful problem solving tools.
Digital communications would allow the study of networks and communications - including the the mechanics of data transmission as well as the practical application in aspects such as Web 2.0 technologies.
Systems and hardware would include the physics and electronics side of things for example in the consideration of microchips and binary as well as peripheral devices, interfacing and operating systems.
My final social implications section was questioned and it was suggested that this aspect might be subsumed in the other three areas.
So that's my definition of Computing. What do other Computing specialists think? Perhaps more importantly, what do non-computing specialist think? Does this sound like a reasonable starting point or does it sound like someone trying to justify their existence?