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Historical perspectives on the computing curriculum
Report of the ITiCSE'97 Working Group on Historical Perspectives in Computing Education Michael Goldweber (co-chair)
Beloit College, USA

Gordon Davies
The Open University, UK

mikeyg @ beloit.edu John Impagliazzo (co-chair)
Hofstra University, USA

g.davies@open.ac.uk Hans Flack
Uppsala University, Sweden

cscjzi @ hofstra.eduIouri A. Bogoiavlenski
University of Petrozavodsk, Russia

hansf@docs.uu.se J. Paul Myers
Trinity University, USA

ybgv@ mainpgu.karelia.ru A. G. (Tony) Clear
Auckland Institute of Technology, New Zealand

pmyers @cs.t rinity.edu Richard Rasala
Northeastern University, USA

tony.clear@ait.ac.nz
Abstract
Computing has become a diverse and multi-faceted discipline. It is imperative thatcomputing curricula evolve so that they will effectively convey this breadth. An awareness of the societal implications of computing must also be at the core of all computing curricula. Furthermore, we observe that new computing curricula m u s t be responsive to change, that pedagogy must be informed by reasoned judgment, and that educators function as reflective practitioners. This requireseducators to respond appropriately to market pressures and technological innovations. This paper investigates some of the components of the discipline's evolving computing' curricula from a variety of historical perspectives.

rasala@ccs.neu.edu
innovations in curriculum or pedagogy. Many institutions, departments, and programs of study introduce innovations into the computing curriculum on atrialand-error basis. In doing so, they learn which innovations are useful and which are not. However, in the haste to do something new or adopt some current fad, educators sometimes overlook adverse impacts of the innovations. Computing breakthroughs, when applied without the proper balance of idea versus application, can be costly. This paper reflects the exchange of ideas among educators on howinnovations affect the computing curnculum and classroom. It focuses primarily on the broad philosophical issues of a computing curriculum. Theworking group members identified and evaluated the status and trends of the computing curriculum. Historical facts and research findings were used to delineate the negative and positive aspects of an innovation. The members of the working group engaged in apedagogic dialog on the topics researched. They focused~ their thinking toward the curricular issues and arrived at a consensus toward each issue. The working group achieved its goal to produce a document that would serve as a starting point for a discussion or project that includes innovations in the computing curriculum.

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Introduction

Rapid changes in computing often motivate educators tointroduce innovations in the curriculum and the classroom. The haste to do something new or adopt some current fad can cause teachers to overlook possible adverse effects of these innovations on students and the profession. The deployment of curricular or pedagogic innovations such as new languages and technologies may seem appropriate, but mistakes are costly. History is the best teacher to assessthe worthiness of new ideas or products. The working group investigated these issues a n d developed guidelines for avoiding pitfalls when making

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Historical background

Innovations continuously challenge computing educators. Hardly a week goes by without some new breakthrough or idea that fascinates the computing professional. Infatuated by these new ideas, educators are sometimeszealous to see that such novelties find their way into the classroom. Sometimes the leap is successful; sometimes it is not. Reflection upon the history of computing can be beneficial in evaluating which steps to take and how to take them. Not being too hasty to do something new or adopt some current fad is important.

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2.1 Development of computing curricula
One of the first published...
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