The overarching goal of the PACT programme is to guide learners through the key topics in programming and algorithms towards the ultimate aim of studying the process of computation itself. We would like to promote Computational Thinking (and Computer Science) to all students of a diversity of genders and backgrounds. It is important for the development of Computer Science that everyone considers a possible future for them in Computer Science and we ask everyone to ignore restrictive stereotypes about people working in Computer Science and give the PACT group a chance to demonstrate that Computer Science is for all of you.
In order to support this PACT programme we set out to do the following:
Computational thinking is a way that humans, not computers, think. Computational Thinking is everywhere. Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists. An emphasis on Computational Thinking allows us to explore the key concepts the underlie Computer Science (but are not exclusive to computer science), without necessarily having to achieve the full rigour of the professional scientific discipline. The PACT group recognise that there are three key levels of understanding in Computer Science:
There have been numerous efforts over the years to introduce computational concepts into Irish secondary schools but, at an official level, these never developed much beyond basic elements of information technology (information technology changes from year to year, Computational Thinking skills are foundational principles towards highly developed human thinking, which will never become obsolete and which are required by modern society). We believe that it is necessary to develop a course, designed by Computer Scientists to display the depth and beauty of the field in a way that can challenge and engage students.
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