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winkleink
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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:45 pm


I was reading the TechRadar article on Raspberry Pi and it uses the following Royal Society quote to explain computer teaching in schools.

"we appear to have succeeded in making many people comfortable with using the technology that we find around us, but this seems to have been at the expense of failing to provide a deeper understanding of the rigorous academic subject of computer science."

Kind of long winded so I got to thinking and as I like to work by example I thought an analogy woudl be a good way to explain the purpose of the Raspberry Pi.

So, for me:
if woodwork was thought the same way computers is thought the classes would be all about how to sit on chairs and sleep in beds. Raspberry Pi is about teaching to make chairs and beds.

Have you a better way of explaining the way computers is thought in schools and how the Raspberry Pi initiative (not just the device) is hoping to change it.

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SN
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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:42 pm

Cars is another good analogy

We all know how to drive them

But no-one knows how to build one or repair one from composite bits or make it do more interesting things - unless you're a restorer or garage mechanic

Or Movies - we all will sit and watch a good movie, but have no clue how to create one, except as far as waving our Smartphones around at concerts and wotnot capturing random blurred moving pictures
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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:47 pm

One I thought of a while ago…

"If Maths lessons were taught the way ICT lessons are currently taught they would consist of learning how to enter 58008 into your calculator and turn it upside-down"

OK, so thats more about the current state of ICT rather than what the Raspberry Pi is about...

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:00 pm

oo oo

"If PE was taught the same way ICT is, it would be about sitting and watching sport on TV, the Raspberry Pi is about getting up and playing the game."

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:35 pm

ICT lessons are like trying to teach someone to brew great ale by giving them a can of Fosters.

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:41 pm

During an interview Eben had with ITV the reporter made a good analogy:

It is like being able to read but not to write.

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:07 pm

ICT lessons nowadays are all about databases, excel, or publisher. How that is going to help someone who wishes to pursue a career in computer science or just as a hobby is completely beyond me...

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:14 pm

Toby said:


ICT lessons are like trying to teach someone to brew great ale by giving them a can of Fosters.


ha ha, I like that one.

I think (wrt reading vs writing) it is very much like being taught to read but not write, but it goes further than that.  In literature lessons you read a range of books, by a variety of authors, you are taught to analyse them, compare them, understand the different styles of writing etc.  You write short essays about them, you write your own stories to demonstrate an understanding of the mechanisms and styles involved in telling a tale, of communicating.

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:22 pm

ICT is like climbing a mountain by being carried on the shoulders of a Sherpa.  You go at his pace, take the route he chooses, and at the end of it all you've not really achieved anything yourself.  You have memories and photographs, but not bragging rights.

Raspberry Pi lets you develop your mental fitness, so you can learn to climb the mountain yourself.  You can choose a more interesting route to solve a problem or even go in an entirely new direction, and at the end you get to say "this is MY work".
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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:58 pm

Good game  - I want to play! Can someone tell me which school's ICT Scheme of Work we are basing this on, because I'm really keen to get started!

I know that you've all read the UK DfE's statutory programme of study for ICT plus various of Schemes of work, and perhaps even talked to actual ICT teachers (because it would be impossible to make these analogies and comparisons otherwise) - so a link to the school's site or their SoW would be really helpful, thanks!  (It's hard  to believe, I know, but I have heard (shocking!) that some people's understanding of teaching in general, and teaching of ICT in particular, comes via the Daily Mail et al. I know for a fact that the free thinkers on these forums would not find that remotely acceptable.)

Cheers!

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:01 pm

Gert said:


During an interview Eben had with ITV the reporter made a good analogy:

It is like being able to read but not to write.



+1

I think that one says it best.

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:19 pm

truan said:


Toby said:


ICT lessons are like trying to teach someone to brew great ale by giving them a can of Fosters.


ha ha, I like that one.


Huh! I missed out there, I didn't really get to study brewing properly until Uni!

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:11 am

clive. said:


Good game  - I want to play! Can someone tell me which school's ICT Scheme of Work we are basing this on, because I'm really keen to get started!

I know that you've all read the UK DfE's statutory programme of study for ICT plus various of Schemes of work, and perhaps even talked to actual ICT teachers (because it would be impossible to make these analogies and comparisons otherwise) - so a link to the school's site or their SoW would be really helpful, thanks!  (It's hard  to believe, I know, but I have heard (shocking!) that some people's understanding of teaching in general, and teaching of ICT in particular, comes via the Daily Mail et al. I know for a fact that the free thinkers on these forums would not find that remotely acceptable.)

Cheers!


Personally, my opinion is based on having two children currently finishing off their GCSE ICT courses (and a wife who is a teacher).  They have done some amazing things over the past 5 years, such as produce powerpoint slides, write business emails and use MS Movie Maker to make short YouTube clips.  In my opinion none of what they have undertaken in ICT belongs in its own subject, it is the kind of technology usage that belongs in every other lesson, or, at most, in a 'general studies' section.

Teaching kids how to write a 'business' email does not belong in a technology course, it belongs in (imo) english language, that is where the 'communication' part of ICT belongs.  As far as the 'information' components - compiling results of surveys in excel or access - we did the equivalent of that in Maths (statistics) or even Geography (when studying things like population).

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:14 am

Lynbarn said:


truan said:


Toby said:


ICT lessons are like trying to teach someone to brew great ale by giving them a can of Fosters.


ha ha, I like that one.


Huh! I missed out there, I didn't really get to study brewing properly until Uni!


Prior to GCSEs our school ran 'Rural Studies', part of which was growing stuff in an allotment, the next step was making your own wine.. strictly for parental consumption of course

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:14 am

I have never read the UK DFE's "statutory program" but I do have a daughter who recently completed GCSE ICT at a good school with recognition for computing.

She has used computers from the age of 3 and had her own Apple laptop for several years and is very smart.  However, I had a school report that, while every other subject was good, ICT was U (uncomplete/fail) with an expected grade of A*.

Her poor grade was due to fact that she was bored in ICT because it was mainly "data entry".  Following this report she spent one week of hard work (lunchtimes and after school) and raised her grade to A.  The fact that she could raise her grade to A after a week of spare time work is scary.

Whatever the "guidelines", the situation in the classroom is certainly not good.

As for an analogy  - using the Raspberry PI is like learning to play a musical instrument rather than listen to downloads.

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:47 am

Gert said:


During an interview Eben had with ITV the reporter made a good analogy:

It is like being able to read but not to write.


Yeah that was the one I heard too which I liked too.

Things like making movies and building cars, not everyone could or needs to do that, but technology is so embedded (in both senses) in todays world, having generations of children who can only use it but not make it i(or even start to understand it) is scary.

The similar one I heard was difference between driving a car or sitting in the passenger seat, ...how often would you let a hitch-hikers blindfold you and drive you to where ever they wanted? [ok..some people my enjoy such things...but still]

The scary thing is, we invite 1000s of unknown drivers to drive our computers and gadgets everyday without even thinking.
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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:58 pm

My daughter did GCSE Geography. One thing they taught her to do was to put in lots of pretty pie-charts and bar-graphs and such like. Content appeared to be unimportant, just so long as it was pretty. Seems to be the same as ICT, which is "never mind the content, use powerpoint to make it pretty"

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:09 pm

Bonus marks for animated powerpoint...double bouns marks for swooshing sounds too.
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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:21 pm


how often would you let a hitch-hikers blindfold you and drive you to where ever they wanted?


Every time I drive through Glasgow, I get lost.

One time I got lost it was because a hitch-hiker was directing me not the way I wanted to go, but the way that led past his front door. So yes, other than actually giving up my seat, I've done that. Whether I'd do it again is anther matter

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:42 pm

Burngate said:


My daughter did GCSE Geography. One thing they taught her to do was to put in lots of pretty pie-charts and bar-graphs and such like. Content appeared to be unimportant, just so long as it was pretty. Seems to be the same as ICT, which is "never mind the content, use powerpoint to make it pretty"


Haha, I remember this from my own geography GCSE in 1996, you've jogged a latent memory!  Whatever it was, it had to have a graph.  All but the tecchiest students were still doing them by hand at this point, but Power point's influence was obviously creeping in even 16 years ago.

The "Read but can't write" analogy is beautiful;  concise and accurate.

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:21 pm

tomyates said:

ICT lessons nowadays are all about databases, excel, or publisher.

They're not. The media perpetuates this straw man because their reporters haven't actually been inside a school for thirty years.
How that is going to help someone who wishes to pursue a career in computer science or just as a hobby is completely beyond me...

It won't. But then that's not the intention!

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:40 pm

from what people are posting in this thread.. it sounds like the analogy is more like..

raspberry pi is going to force people to become mechanics, even if they only want to drive a car.

there *is*  a place for teaching people to "drive" excel, power point without them having to learn more. and IMO suggesting that "other" subjects like geography are the place for that is highly hypocritical.

however, there should be some kind of exposure to something deeper, and more importantly opportunitiesto do things like learn to progam.

ict – for learning drive – basic computer user skills.

compsci – for putting together pcs, programming and the like – with lashings of rpi.

i know i"d have taken compsci > ict or possibly even both.

at school i had trouble picking subjects that engaged me and added more sciences and languages to keep me entertained.. the bbc micros were locked away in some kind of vault and only brought out around twice in the 5 years i was there from what i recall. (from 87->92). if there had been a computer class, or club i"d have been all over it.

then again with music – the music teacher looked down on me when i enquired about how/where to get piano lessons "i don"t think so". 20+ years later i'm doing it on my own (but with the guitar). so it does depend upon who's supporting it on the front-line.

i was interested in computers but didnt have opportunities to learn or properly engage with them other than as a user until i was older. its this kickstart into exploration and programming that i feel is important as im sure there were kids in a similar position to me who fell through the cracks and didnt get the opportunity i took when it arose.

so to me, the analogy of exposure to something otherwise unavailable at that age is more like that of being shown the way into pandora's box. like being shown behind the curtain that an oracle in ancient greece is actually a high priest controlled spectacle.
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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:57 pm

Are there any ICT teachers on this forum who can give us "the view from the coal face" as it were?

I gave up my School Governor's position a couple of years ago so I can't just go and ask the ICT Head of Dept anymore...
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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:00 pm

ArborealSeer said:


from what people are posting in this thread.. it sounds like the analogy is more like..

raspberry pi is going to force people to become mechanics, even if they only want to drive a car.

there *is*  a place for teaching people to "drive" excel, power point without them having to learn more. and IMO suggesting that "other" subjects like geography are the place for that is highly hypocritical.

however, there should be some kind of exposure to something deeper, and more importantly opportunities to do things like learn to progam.

at school i had trouble picking subjects that engaged me and added more sciences and languages to keep me entertained.. the bbc micros were locked away in some kind of vault and only brought out around twice in the 5 years i was there from what i recall. (from 87->92)

ict – for learning drive – basic computer user skills.

compsci – for putting together pcs, programming and the like – with lashings of rpi.

i know i"d have taken compsci > ict or possibly even both.

as a kid i like and was interested in computers but didn"t have opportunities to learn or properly engage with them other than as a user until i was older. its that that i feel is important as i"m sure there are kids in a similar position to me who fell through the cracks and didn"t get the opportunity i did.



I understand what you are saying with regards to not pushing into other subjects, which is why I said that perhaps it should be in with something equivalent to general studies.  My reasoning behind saying things like compiling spreadsheets, presentations, documents and emails should be in other subjects is because they are the modern equivalents of what I remember doing in those subjects.

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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:02 pm

truan said:


In my opinion none of what they have undertaken in ICT belongs in its own subject, it is the kind of technology usage that belongs in every other lesson, or, at most, in a "general studies" section.


Cross curricular ICT is a great idea (using ICT in other subjects is, in fact, a statutory requirement in all compulsory subjects (except PE ). The reason that cross curricular ICT as a replacement for dicrete ICT lessons is rarely seen is that it doesn't work. It doesn't work because most teachers do not have the necessary skills to teach it.

That's right – most teachers do not have very good ICT skills. Shocking, I know!  (If you think I'm overstating this, ask ten non-ICT teachers how to landscape only part of a document; or how to make a line graph in Excel; or how to add an adjustment layer in Photoshop; or what the Internet and Web are.)

You may be wondering why, generally, teachers are not much good at ICT when by law they have to pass the Training Agency's ICT skills test. Here's why. (Though in fairness the test still gives them better basic skills than most longer serving teachers, who do not have to demonstrate any level of competency. And often don't.).

Of course there may be good reasons for a teacher not learning new ICT skills: workload; lack of CPD (training); lack of support from departments or senior management; lack of resources etc etc.  But it still doesn't justify writing everything in Comic Sans. Or underlining. Now I've depressed myself

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