Question 7: Why integrate computer science into the high school curriculum? Why not?
Although I think teaching computers in the classroom is probably _not_ going to impact student ability to use computers in general, I think the impact of computers may be making an impact into how problems are solved by non-mathematician users of mathematics and computers.
I get the impression that more and more the idea of building models and running simulations of the model is going to become a common solution method for some types of social and scientific problems. If this is going to happen, I think it may not only impact _what_ mathematics we teach, but the way we teach it, and the amount or type of programming instruction in the schools.
I think the ideas of this type of solution, as opposed to the particular software, can be taught in school, and perhaps is in schools which teach languages like logo and Ada. I don't think the particular software is the issue, but the ideas behind using math in this way... create a model, refine a model... test the model... simulate to make decisions from the model.. I view this as similar to teaching students to use spreadsheets, databases or word-processing software. The ideas will be nested in available software written by the few who move the technology ahead, but the _type_ of software has generic consistency. Spread sheets today are very much like the first spread sheet I ever used. Programs like NET LOGO are what I have in mind for teaching tools, although I see them as much more user friendly in the near future, with much less "programming" required for the model builder.
I am not well versed in these ideas as they are new to me, but they seem to have the potential to be an impact on how people are educated. I do not see this as necessarily changing the _math_ curriculum as much as the computer or vocational part of the curriculum, although I think this may have an impact on how all the subjects are taught.
Keep in mind that I have never picked the winner of a single sports event or election, so my predictions about future events have a very low correlation with what actually transpires.
Pat Ballew, Misawa, Jp
"Statistics means never having to say you're certain."