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scep
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:50 am

Well, Computing at School have been doing something for years   -- several members were on the Advisory group for that RS report.

About 80% of CAS are ICT and Computing teachers  - anyone who cares about their subjects could do worse than pop in and see how they can get involved (staring to sound like an advert, but it's a grassroots group who really have had a massive impact on the Government's latest decisions)

Interesting report though. The training is going to be a massive hurdle.

[disclaimer: Yes, I am a member of CAS . ]

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SteveDee
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:08 am

Yes, things are moving "politically" in Britain with a change to the curriculum now due in September.

I think it will be a struggle. Here are a couple of quotes, again via the BBC:-

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT union, called the plan "a slap in the face for ICT teachers".

"This is no way to promote the value of a subject that is critical to education in the 21st Century, she said.

...and...

Brian Lightman of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the timescale of the change, by September, was completely unrealistic for awarding bodies and schools.

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scep
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:51 am

SteveDee said:


Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT union, called the plan "a slap in the face for ICT teachers".


I'm guessing that she's never taught ICT

It doesn't help that the BBC keep using headlines like "ICT to be scrapped" when ICT is of course compulsory and will remain so. Or that the press confuses Computing with programming or deliberately uses this misunderstanding as a straw man.

I think that most ICT teachers undestand that they teach the most changeable (and potentially exciting) subject in the curriculum and that they have a professional responsibility to keep up. To me the change is the fun bit – I can't think of anything worse than teaching "Romeo and Juliet" year after year (sorry English teachers!).

Training will be an issue but I have no time for teachers who sit there moaning and waiting to be sent on a five day Java course. Ten minutes a day on e.g. wibit.net and csunplugged.org, and they'd be in a good place to teach 11-16 year olds computing and interesting and relevant ICT come September.

mightygoose
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:06 am

In my school, we had a Head of IT, He knew his stuff & an assistant, who was a network infrastructure specialist. After that we had a french teacher, two business studies teachers & a maths teacher, (the french teacher ended up marrying the assistant) very often the pupils knew more than those who were teaching the course. ICT at the NKS was and is to this day (AFAIK) a joke.

So in my years of education, i met one ICT teacher in a school for 1000 pupils, who had a department to run and only taught a level.

The subject matter was dross, the teachers were bumbling fools, and we all still got A's because well, we had known how to use microsoft office better than those trying to teach us (occasional exceptions) since we were 12. ICT teachers need a slap in the face.

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scep
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:48 am

mightygoose said:


ICT teachers need a slap in the face.



And there are no doubt some who think that everyone in Ashford needs a kick in the balls because they had poor service at Frankie and Benny's. But they'd look pretty ridiculous and ill-informed if they actually posted such a thing.

adlambert

Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:24 pm

Our school had a single TRS-80 in a locked room where only a few privileged clique-sters  got to spend a break time.

Then one thoughtful science teacher took it upon himself to bring his own computer in from home and share it with anyone who was interested. And so started a career that has paid me for 30 years so far. I'll never forget that Mr Buckle.

mightygoose
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:30 pm

scep said:


mightygoose said:


ICT teachers need a slap in the face.



And there are no doubt some who think that everyone in Ashford needs a kick in the balls because they had poor service at Frankie and Benny's. But they'd look pretty ridiculous and ill-informed if they actually posted such a thing.



ok in hindsight, that was rather rash a rant. I am sure there are some truly excellent IT teachers out there. It is just a very sore point for me, as i wanted to learn new things but there was no option to. Most of Ashford does need a kick in the balls, however i wouldn't go to Frankie and Benny's and expect good service. I do concede my narrow minded blast was probably OTT.

furthermore i neglected to clarify the remarks with saying, i am genuinely thrilled at the prospect of a shakeup and cannot pass kudos more heavily to the current convergence of circumstance that may well lead to meaningful change.

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scep
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:48 pm

mightygoose said:


ok in hindsight, that was rather rash a rant. I am sure there are some truly excellent IT teachers out there. It is just a very sore point for me, as i wanted to learn new things but there was no option to.


I do feel genuinely sorry for everyone in that position. Google's Eric Schmidt didn't use the phrase "thrown away your great computing heritage" for no reason.

Hopefully though things will now start to improve (albeit gradually) - we will be teaching GCSE Computing in our school for the first time from September for one thing, which is great for the pupils AND the teachers.

As for F&B's - never trust a food chain that sells their own compilation CDs

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SteveDee
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:37 pm

scep said:

"I think that most ICT teachers undestand that they teach the most changeable (and potentially exciting) subject in the curriculum and that they have a professional responsibility to keep up. To me the change is the fun bit..."

I'm sure you have wider experience on this than I do. But ICT lessons don't appear to change much from year to year, because when teaching Word, PowerPoint & Dreamweaver they don't need to. The material can just be used again next year.

We are just in the process of rolling out Win7 & Office 2010, so some very minor changes may be necessary. LibreOffice is also available, but this seems to be only used by students to convert their homework back into MS format.

My son was grumbling this week because the changes are due to happen in September... ..he leaves secondary school in July. He is very computer literate, but has struggled with ICT because a lot of it has been so dull.

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scep
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:27 pm

SteveDee said:

I'm sure you have wider experience on this than I do. But ICT lessons don't appear to change much from year to year, because when teaching Word, PowerPoint & Dreamweaver they don't need to. The material can just be used again next year.
But Word and PowerPoint are just tools. They are no more responsible for a dull ICT  lesson that an oven is responsible for a dull Food Tech lesson. And even under the constraints of the curriculum you can still break out of the MS Office mould - you could do a Scratch unit for the control requirement for example (we do). And cool stuff like Sketchup, Gamemaker, Audacity, RoboMind, Greenfoot, Blender, Storybird, Prezi, GIMP etc are all free. The tools may stay the same but there is so much creative, exciting, challenging stuff you can do with them.

At the end of the day a lot depends on your Head of Dept and the Senior Management of course...

pvgb
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:54 pm

I imagine being an ICT teacher feels like being slapped in the face every day.

Teaching the disinterested the same old stuff year in, year out, trapped in a straight-jacket  unambitious curriculum ...

If it was just a few teachers scattered here and there that were not doing well, then I would have less sympathy. It seems that the problem is fairly constant, and that means that it is systemic.

This problem has been with us for some years - why did it take Eric Schmidt to have to point it out ? Why did nobody listen to us ?

The first step is to try and explain to our politicians that ICT is not programming.

Tomo2k
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:23 pm

cep said:


SteveDee said:


Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT union, called the plan "a slap in the face for ICT teachers".


I'm guessing that she's never taught ICT


I read her quote and thought "You are a bloody-minded fool who doesn't listen to your own members and haven't even read the proposal. You're not competent to hold your position, and I hope they throw you out at the next AGM."

(Well, not quite. It was really "Read the proposal and talk to your ****ing members before you make a denigrating soundbite, you ****ing ****.")

My mother is a supply teacher* and regularly does ICT cover lessons. Once it's past February or so the kids are always bored.

Why? The children have already learned everything on the course in the first few weeks, and then there is nothing left to actually teach – only examples to repeat ad infinitum.

The existing ICT curriculum is the slap to the face, and it has to be changed. The current curriculum can be handled in a few weeks by a teaching assistant – and in some cases already is.

The evidence of CAS, Naace and anecdotes show that almost every ICT teacher knows this, even the teachers of other subjects who do it as cover lessons.

*She is an experienced maths teacher with a Computing degree, which makes her far too expensive for any school to hire on a permanent contract. Though that's another rant for another place.

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SteveDee
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:47 pm

scep said:

"…and even under the constraints of the curriculum you can still break out of the MS Office mould…"

There are teachers that do exactly that, and then there are those that just stick to what is required "to keep the grades up" because that is ultimately how they are judged.

Someone asked me just this week "don't you fancy teaching?"
I use to enjoy conducting training courses and being a guest speaker when working in industry. But I wasn't doing it day-in, day-out. And my students generally wanted to listen to what I had to say.

My son recently suggested that kids should be streamed on the basis of ability AND willingness to learn. Give me only classes where the kids are willing to learn and I might give it a bash!

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scep
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:18 pm

Tomo2k said:


My mother is a supply teacher* and regularly does ICT cover lessons. Once it"s past February or so the kids are always bored.

Why? The children have already learned everything on the course in the first few weeks, and then there is nothing left to actually teach – only examples to repeat ad infinitum.


Well, if that was really true then the results would be a hell of a lot better than they are   No one would fail for a start. Bored, yes. Capable and knowledgeble - no.

My classes work hard up until the deadlines in May, so I'd be interested to know what course we are talking about here. The Senior Management would love it if the kids all found it really easy and passed!


The current curriculum can be handled in a few weeks by a teaching assistant – and in some cases already is.


Again, I'd be interested to know what curriculum or course and also what results these kids are getting.  If you are talking about the National Curriculum for Key Stage 3, I teach Scratch for a term, and then we have Geocaching, Photoshop; Sketchup;  Storybird, etc etc. The teaching assistants I know have never even heard of these things (fair enough - they have to cover all subjects not just ICT) never mind teach them.


The evidence of CAS, Naace and anecdotes show that almost every ICT teacher knows this, even the teachers of other subjects who do it as cover lessons.


Now there's a can of worms . [anecdote alert!] Most teachers of other subjects have rubbish ICT skills, even though they are required to use ICT in their teaching. Most lack even the basics e.g. they use text boxes in Word instead of tables; can't make graphs; paste URLs from emails into the Google search box; think that the Web is the Internet.  I could go on. And outside of MS Office they are are screwed  - most of them have never seen a graphics package other than Paint for example.

Even teachers who should have these skills don't e.g. only six per cent of art teachers describe themselves as "very good at using software to edit and create images, videos and animations"*

So no, I don't think that  most teachers could teach a good ICT lesson anymore than I could teach History well just because I know when the Battle of Hastings was and had a lesson plan in front of me.

* The Nesta Next Gen report




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scep
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:24 pm

SteveDee said:


scep said:

"…and even under the constraints of the curriculum you can still break out of the MS Office mould…"

There are teachers that do exactly that, and then there are those that just stick to what is required "to keep the grades up" because that is ultimately how they are judged.


I agree and this is a big problem.


My son recently suggested that kids should be streamed on the basis of ability AND willingness to learn. Give me only classes where the kids are willing to learn and I might give it a bash!


I like his thinking [unfortunately you have just used the "S" word and are now banned from all schools throughout the land! ]

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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:25 pm

I imagine that writing a curriculum takes time.

I'm not surprised if the education system can't keep up with computer development.

Unlike most other subjects, what is relevant can change drastically almost overnight.

However, many of the principles remain the same.

YouTube tutorials written by amateurs and enthusiasts are often more informative, relevant and most importantly - ACCESSIBLE!

Many of the school/college learning resources are closed to the wider public.

I did a quick search for the word 'computer' on Cambridge University official YouTube page.  Nothing very useful on there to teach me about computers, or on their own website.  Did the same on MIT's website - nothing in the way of tutorials.

I've seen more useful videos made by 12 year olds on YouTube.

On the downside there's a lot of mis-information out there.  But it's a classic case of Encyclopia Brittanica vs Wikipedia.

The reality is that the old establishments are becoming less and less relevant.

When I was in school, computers were only just appearing on the scene, and I got the impression that most of the teachers were terrified, because suddenly the children knew more than the adults.

It's a real revolution.  But now those same students who were there at the dawn are the adults.  Perhaps it's time, not to be anti-establishment, but to start building a new establishment and cut away the dead wood.

rajn
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:49 pm

Check out MIT's openCourseware , One can even obtain certificates for taking its online courses as well.

http://chronicle.com/article/M.....to/130121/

Its all Free Learning ..

Jaseman
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:04 pm

Well that sounds good.  It's not starting till the Spring though.

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SteveDee
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:26 pm

Jaseman said:-

"...I imagine that writing a curriculum takes time..."

Although I have a son doing GCSE exams at the moment, and I work part-time in a school, I've lost the plot as to what a "curriculum" actually represents. But I expect scep can explain it (if he is still talking to me after using the word: "$tre@med").

Schools seem to choose which exam boards they use (e.g. AQA, Edexcel) and so children in a given area may take different exams depending upon the school they attend (does that sound right?).

Anyway, I was just reading the pdf on this OCR GCSE Computing page: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualific.....computing/

...which looks like the kind of course I think my son should be doing.

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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:19 pm

Something is very wrong when experience of Microsoft Office is seen as ICT.  Office is useful if you want to be a secretary,or work in marketing (though brush up on other IT skills).  I expect my IT staff to be able to use Office because it is useful if they need to write or present anything.  Driving is also useful to get between offices.  Is that ICT too?

Even something like html is now virtually useless on its own.  You need to master php,css, Microsoft SQL, MySQL and, for Microsoft houses, php.net and Sharepoint should not be forgotten.  Are you teaching all those?

Communcations?  Analogue and digital telephony, switched and routed networks, wifi.  Any of those?

IT infrastructure.  Windows 7, Linux, Windows Server, VMWare, Citrix?  None of those?

Software development.  Visual Basic, C++, C#?

Of course, schools cannot do all of this but a simple, decent BASIC programming course (try BBC BASIC which can still run on Windows) is a great start.  Why not an introduction to servers, networks, email systems?  Why not learn to build a few?  Demo licences are easily downloaded.

As long as people can making the direct connection between tools like Word Processors and IT then we can look forward to a growing insignificance on the world stage.  R Pi offers a cheap way to get proper IT back into schools (where you are going to have to do some meaningful work to get it going, starting with learning Linux) but we need to shift our mind set as well.  I know there are some great ICT people out there in schools (I have met some).  Let's push them to the front and really see what we can achieve.

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scep
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:33 pm

gregtaylor said:


Even something like html is now virtually useless on its own.  You need to master php,css, Microsoft SQL, MySQL and, for Microsoft houses, php.net and Sharepoint should not be forgotten.  Are you teaching all those?

Communcations?  Analogue and digital telephony, switched and routed networks, wifi.  Any of those?

IT infrastructure.  Windows 7, Linux, Windows Server, VMWare, Citrix?  None of those?

Software development.  Visual Basic, C++, C#?


The short answer to the above is:

a) Teachers cannot teach whatever they want to teach.

b) Teaching is the least of it - targets and assessment are the killer.

c) The average teacher puts in a 50+ hour week. Only 1/3 of this is teaching - the rest is marking; reporting; preparing; planning; dealing with problems, admin etc.

d) Where's all of this software and hardware coming from? Who's going to install and maintain it?

d)  Mixed ability classes of 30 pupils; a reading age range of 6 to 18; maybe four will have a statement (special needs, behavioural, emotional issues etc etc). The lesson before someone went round the room and pulled all of the space bars off the keyboards. Teaching analogue telephony suddenly doesn't seem that much fun any more.

I could go on

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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:35 pm

SteveDee said:

Anyway, I was just reading the pdf on this OCR GCSE Computing page: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualific.....computing/
...which looks like the kind of course I think my son should be doing.


I would take some small issues with what's on that specification.

Nibbles?


Explain how the computer distinguishes between instructions and data?? 

Understand the components of a relational database, such as tables, forms, queries, reports and modules.  Hmm I wouldn't say reports and forms are necessarily part of a RDBMS.

But generally I think the programming part is OK, although it isn't going to challenge the keen kids much.  Twenty hours isn't all that much for the programming project.  I think I would put in something about distinguishing between unit tests and functional tests.

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scep
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:48 pm

SteveDee said:


Schools seem to choose which exam boards they use (e.g. AQA, Edexcel) and so children in a given area may take different exams depending upon the school they attend (does that sound right?).


The curriculum covers what each subject must (legally) teach at each Key Stage*  and the assessment criteria.

Within those frameworks you can make your own 'courses'. At KS3 these are typically written by the subject teachers and are called schemes of work. This is the broad outline and you then write lesson plans and develop resources to teach that SoW.

At KS4 and KS5 these are written by the exam boards, because they will be assessing them and awarding qualifications, and they are called specifications. However, within the exam board specification you can still write your own schemes of work, lesson plans and resources and teach that content how you want to.

There are seven exam boards the UK IIRC, the four main ones are: EdExcel; OCR; WJEC; AQA. They all offer a GCSE in ICT for example, but the content and delivery and assessment of each will be different. Only OCR currently offer GCSE Computing (though EdExcel are developing one for September 2012).

Hope that clears things up!

*KS3 = 11-16 years old (year 7,8,9) ; KS4 = 15-16 (GCSE etc) ; KS5 = 16-18 (A level etc)

p.s. I love streaming!

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scep
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Re: Finally someone's doing something

Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:55 pm

andyl said:


I would take some small issues with what's on that specification.


It's easy to look at a GCSE specification in isolation and be hypercritical but seeing as this has only just come out of pilot and you couldn't even do a GCSE in Computing two years ago (and this is still the only one) then I'll cut them some slack

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