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Steps towards a philosophy of computing education.

McDermott, Roger; Daniels, Mats; Frezza, Stephen T.


Mats Daniels

Stephen T. Frezza


Andreas Mühling

Ilkka Jormanainen


Is it meaningful to talk about the philosophy of computing education? What is its subject matter and methods? Is it different from, or a subfield of, the philosophy of science education or the philosophy of technology education or the philosophy of engineering education? And how does the study of the philosophy of computing education help us with the goal of teaching students about computing? In this paper, we attempt to examine these questions. We look at the role of philosophical inquiry in the STEM fields and examine the philosophies of education found in those subjects. We first attempt to identify a framework for characterising questions of a philosophical nature that is appropriate for application to the STEM subjects. We describe the categories such questions fall under and consider methodological questions associated with this kind of inquiry. We also look at issues that arise within the philosophy of education and which are relevant when considering the philosophies of disciplinary education. We investigate some of the similarities and differences that exist between these fields and a philosophy of computing education and provide an initial description of the latter. We briefly consider other "sense-making" vocabulary used in computing education research, such as "theory" and suggest reasons why philosophical inquiry should be an important part of computing education research.


MCDERMOTT, R., DANIELS, M. and FREZZA, S.T. 2024. Steps towards a philosophy of computer education. In Mühling, A. and Jormanainen, I. (eds.) Proceedings of the 23rd Koli calling international conference on computing education research 2023, 13-18 November 2024, Koli, Finland. New York: ACM [online], article 20. Available from:

Conference Name 23rd Koli calling International conference on computing education research 2023
Conference Location Koli, Finland
Start Date Nov 13, 2023
End Date Nov 18, 2023
Acceptance Date Sep 11, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 6, 2024
Publication Date Feb 6, 2024
Deposit Date Mar 1, 2024
Publicly Available Date Mar 1, 2024
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
ISBN 9798400716539
Keywords Philosophy of computing education; Philosophy; Philosophy of engineering education; Philosophy of education
Public URL


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