Article by: Rom Villarica
Photos by: Sienna Hagedorn
In many ways, Computer Science is like a clique. It is reclusive: its intricacies known only to those who are in the class. It is elusive: few even know that Computer Science is a Group 4 subject along with the traditional sciences of Chemistry, Physics, and Biology. But most of all, Computer Science is unique, as it is the only science that does not employ the scientific method in any of its coursework. There are no lab reports in Computer Science. Students do not gather around setups and watch experiments. In fact, Mr. Robertson, the Computer Science teacher, explicitly states, “Computer Science is not an experimental science.”
Instead, Computer Science deals with information and how it can be handled and represented in an efficient manner. Tests are trials in logic. Students write and analyze algorithms to improve their critical thinking skills. While at first this might seem like a daunting task, the prerequisite for IB Computer Science, Computer Programming, a course solely offered to sophomores, ensures that all students who enter the class are well prepared for such rigors.
Because of the skills students gain in the course, IB Computer Science also has arguably one of the most original assessments across the disciplines. The Computer Science Internal Assessment is a culmination of the topics students study. It is, in essence, a fully developed piece of software that fulfills a need set by a client, who can be anybody the student knows. It serves as an opportunity for students to experience the full process of documenting and developing a product while at the same time helping to provide a computational solution for a real-world problem.
As a Computer Science student myself, I can say with confidence that while the class is challenging, it is an excellent resource for both critical thinking and information handling skills. It helps to facilitate interest in the more technical parts of computing as well as gives insight into the ethical implications of the increased usage of technology. Fellow Senior Cristian Ayala shares a similar opinion, stating that “[Computer Science] allows one to do much more with computers as well as teaches one how to think logically and procedurally”.
In a world where computing is becoming more and more prevalent, the importance of being computer literate has only increased. Computer Science provides this and more– not only does it facilitate advanced knowledge of computing, but it also delegates students with important life skills that can be applied to future pursuits, such as how to develop products.