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Three Traditions of Computing: What Educators Should Know


Computer Science Education Volume 18, Number 3, ISSN 0899-3408


Educators in the computing fields are often familiar with the characterization of computing as a combination of theoretical, scientific, and engineering traditions. That distinction is often used to guide the work and disciplinary self-identity of computing professionals. But the distinction is, by no means, an easy one. The three traditions of computing are based on different principles, they have different aims, they employ different methods, and their products are very different. Educators in the field of computing should be aware of the fundamental differences between the traditions of computing so that they can offer their students a truthful and balanced view about computing branches. In this article the three traditions of computing are presented and some of their underlying assumptions, principles, application areas, restrictions, and weaknesses are portrayed. Also, some of the landmark arguments in the debates about the identity of computing disciplines are discussed. (Contains 1 figure and 1 table.)


Tedre, M. & Sutinen, E. (2008). Three Traditions of Computing: What Educators Should Know. Computer Science Education, 18(3), 153-170. Retrieved October 20, 2019 from .

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