“To function in society, every citizen in the 21st century must understand at least the principles of computer science…Computer science is an established discipline at the collegiate and postgraduate levels. It is best defined as ‘the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their applications, and their impact on society.’ [This unit of study will] enable [students] to thrive in this new global information economy.” (CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards)
Through our Middle School Computer Science curriculum, students come to understand:
- Computer Science as an academic discipline is much more than just the use of computers; it is more closely related to philosophy and symbolic logic. Computer Science reveals things about the world about us that have nothing to do with computers or machines. Understanding Computer Science enables us to better value what makes us human.
- Computer Science is all about defining clear, unambiguous instructions that will provide meaningful solutions to important problems. This requires a fundamental understanding of the problem itself, and an iterative evaluation of the most appropriate way to go about solving the problem.
- A computer is an electronic machine that accepts information, stores it, processes it according to the instructions provided by a user, and then returns the result.
- Computer programming is largely concerned with the analysis and manipulation of data sets through the use of computational algorithms. There is an infinite variety of data and algorithms. There is more than one way to solve the problem.
- A well-designed program, carefully thought out in advance, will be easier to code, demonstrate fewer bugs, and require less maintenance in the future. Well written code is efficient, easy for a future user to understand, and re-usable. Proper planning of any activity will enable a smoother implementation than if it was unplanned.
- Ultimately, all “high-level” programming languages are translated into the native machine language of a particular computer. Whatever you do in life, your work will be interpreted by others, perhaps in ways that you did not intend it to be. You must make sure your work is able to be comprehended by others, or it won’t be useful at all.
- Computer scientists have a unique set of ethical responsibilities in regard to intellectual property, privacy, and other legal and social concerns related to information technology. It is important to question both how and why technological resources are to be utilized in a given situation, as opposed to using them in a different manner, or perhaps not even using them at all. All computer users in general whether for educational, business, or entertainment purposes, must demonstrate digital citizenship at all times.