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Computer Science in K-12 School Curricula of the 21st Century: Why, What and When?

Abstract

"In this paper we have examined the position and roles of Computer Science in curricula in the light of recent calls for curriculum change and we have proposed principles and issues to consider in curriculum design as well as identifying priority areas for further research. The paper is based on discussions within and beyond the International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP) Education Community since 2012 as well as an analysis of curriculum developments in five different countries. Emerging themes have been discussed with reference to important perspectives from curriculum theory including powerful knowledge as a key element of entitlement and management of the growth of expertise. Based on this analysis we have identified areas of consensus as well as constraints, risks and issues that are still subject to controversy. There is an emerging consensus of the importance of Computer Science and the nature of its 'powerful knowledge'. Furthermore current understanding of the opportunities and benefits for starting to learn Computer Science early in primary schools has identified this early start as an entitlement and equity issue. There is a strong consensus that teacher professional development in Computer Science Education is critical for supporting curriculum change and is currently a major challenge in many countries. Other key issues include understanding how the growth of expertise affects potential structure and sequencing in the curriculum and the balance of content. Further considerations include how new technological opportunities interact with pedagogical approaches and can provide new potential for the growth of expertise."

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