Primary education: listening and observing
Primary education: listening and observing

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2 Why is computing important?

The Royal Society’s 2012 report, ‘Shut down or restart? The way forward for computing in UK schools’, reported that ‘Computer Science is a rigorous academic discipline of great importance to the future careers of many pupils’ and that ‘Every child should have the opportunity to learn Computing at school’. In England, the Department for Education (DfE) says children who understand computing will be able to change the world:

A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.

(Department for Education, 2013)

Education Scotland takes a similar view on the importance of studying computing:

Children and young people will develop their creativity and entrepreneurial skills and be encouraged to become innovative and critical designers of the future. These attributes are essential if, in the future, our children and young people are to play a major part in the global economy and embrace technological developments in the 21st century.

(Education Scotland, 2013)

Activity 1 Computer science is changing everything

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Now watch this video from on computing. The vision presented in the film is that computing plays a role in almost every aspect of life.

Video 1
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After you watch, ask yourself:

  • How does this compare with the vision of technology in society when I was in primary school?
  • Do I think that the vision presented in the film is accurate?
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