Brett Becker

Presentation Details:

Digital Disciplines: Using Computing to Make New Disciplinary Knowledge

Technology moves faster today than yesterday, but not as fast as tomorrow. All disciplines – from art to zoology – are increasingly transformed by digital innovation. This also brings important ethical, economic, legal and societal implications. Dealing with these starts with education.

It is no longer sufficient for students to be proficient in the use of basic computer software. Big Data, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence are revolutionising all disciplines. Archaeology is being transformed by global information system data, drones, and advanced scanning techniques. Law is being reshaped by document digitisation, the (potentially biased) algorithms that process them, and the very processes governed by law such as software patents.

Ireland needs to act now so that tomorrow’s graduates – of all disciplines – are as prepared as possible for not only the ever-changing workplace, but ever-changing society. Ireland needs students who become not just graduates, but global, digital citizens adept in how computing fits into their disciplinary expertise, and how that expertise fits into a digital world.

The best way to achieve this as educators is to use the possibilities that computing provides to guide our students in making new knowledge within their respective disciplines. In this manner digital innovation and disciplinary expertise become one and the same – a forward-looking future-ready ability to apply innovative expertise best, to the society we live in.


Brett is one of Ireland’s leading experts on Computing Education, author of “Computer Science for Leaving Certificate” and Founding Chair of SIGCSEire, the Ireland Special Interest Group on Computing Education. He has published several dozen papers on Computing Education including several best paper awards and is Associate Editor at ACM Transactions on Computing Education. Brett is passionate about global inclusiveness in education and is Chair of the Steering Committee for the ACM Global Computing Education Conference (CompEd) and Global Liaison for the SIGCSE Technical Symposium. In 2020 Brett was named a National Forum Teaching and Learning Research Fellow. Find out more about Brett at