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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:23 pm

ictdad said:


Her poor grade was due to fact that she was bored in ICT because it was mainly "data entry".


Odd. Usually kids get poor grades because they haven't done what the exam board asks of them. What exam board is it? There are no GCSEs in ICT that I know of that  involve data entry in any quantity. At most putting, say,  30 records in a database so you can do some queries and mail merges, nothing more.


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.


This is a criticism of GCSEs in general, not ICT. I mentor underachieving pupils and I see this in all subjects. It's usually because they've done most of the work but it does not meet the marking spec. A few hours to shape it to spec and hey presto, U to A* in a few easy lessons! (Though yes, a bright pupil could get a good mark in coursework from scratch in a week or two for most subjects if they wanted. Welcome to Education UK 2012. )

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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:23 pm

clive. said:


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.


Ah yeah, balls I forgot about that (remembering now the ICT test my wife had to pass to qualify)

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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:44 pm

When I went to school 100 years ago in the US there was a "Business" track that taught typing, basic accounting, shorthand, etc.  There was also a "science" track for math, physics, etc.  People could pick and choose among the courses so, for example, many college bound students took typing because they knew they would have to write papers in college that would have to be typed.

In my mind it seems clear that USING computers, MS Word, Excel, etc belong in a vocational or "Business" track.  Programming belongs in a separate area such as a computer club or perhaps in basic math to teach students how to program a rpi to graph equations - a useful and relatively simple programming task to get started.

I am retired but I plan to teach a linux and then a python class in the local high school. The class would be after school as part of a computer "club".  I will need the cooperation of the school but I think they will be happy to have me   Students will have to buy their own rpi which they should be able to do for under $200 or much less if they have a TV or monitor they can use.   I feel any UK or US student who is really interested would be able to scrape up the money for a rpi.  Asking the student to put "skin into the game" sorts out the ones that are really interested from those who are just trying to kill time, find a new boy friend or girl friend, get out of the house, etc. etc.

Changing the curriculum is hard and, while I think the Foundation should pursue it, I don't think it is the place to start.  Starting a computer club, either with the schools blessing or not, is easy and will attract those students who would most profit from a rpi.  Just my two cents or pence as the case may be.

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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:58 pm

nile said:


Changing the curriculum is hard and, while I think the Foundation should pursue it, I don't think it is the place to start.  Starting a computer club, either with the schools blessing or not, is easy and will attract those students who would most profit from a rpi.  Just my two cents or pence as the case may be.


That's a good point.

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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:49 pm

What they really ought to do is to make sure that Raspberry Pis are banned from all schools.  That will immediately make them the most desirable accessory for any teenager.

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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:01 pm

What clive says is absolutely correct:

"Usually kids get poor grades because they haven"t done what the exam board asks of them"

However, the real question is – why has a bright student lost interest? It could be that the amount of "data entry" involved was several times higher than some people assume.

If this is a "criticism of GCSEs in general" then that was not my intention – I was only referring to ICT.

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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:14 pm

peterpi said:


What they really ought to do is to make sure that Raspberry Pis are banned from all schools.  That will immediately make them the most desirable accessory for any teenager.


Ha ha, I like that idea

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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:44 pm

ictdad said:


However, the real question is – why has a bright student lost interest?


The ICT GCSEs have been shockingly awful and mundane for years - I mean, just horrible and soul destroying. The new  batch are better, but I still don't think that they challenge the most able pupils and the skills stuff is still rather pedestrian. But they're trying at least (remember - GCSEs are less to do with giving people useful, permanent, real world skills in any subject than they are about results.)


If this is a "criticism of GCSEs in general" then that was not my intention – I was only referring to ICT.


I was pointing up the fact that you can knock poorly graded coursework - in nearly any subject - into shape in a week or two, as long as you work to the specification (i.e. you do what the teacher tells you). ICT is no different from, say history, English or chemistry in this respect.

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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:47 pm

SN said:


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


Me. If anyone wants to pick my brain, feel free.

Briefly: ICT teaching is in a bad place – for lots of reasons – but is generally getting better I think. It still needs a kick up the bum though. And an image change, starting with the name.

Computing and computational thinking has been completely ignored for far too long and should be taught from year 1. (Yes – that's five year-olds. ) But that doesn't mean that we should throw the baby out with the bathwater. ICT and Computing are very different things, they are not alternatives.

And whilst ICT shouldn't just mean teaching word processing/spreadsheets/data handling/DTP, I'd argue that these are essential things to learn. My own school's curriculum also includes stuff like geocaching (in the woods) with Garmins; making games in Scratch; stop motion animation; photo editing etc etc. We have even been known to make PowerPoints – Petcha Kutcha style of course

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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:20 pm

clive. said:


And whilst ICT shouldn't just mean teaching word processing/spreadsheets/data handling/DTP, I'd argue that these are essential things to learn.


THIS.  I can't stress this enough. I may not be a teacher, but I think clive is completely correct. I do work in IT, and I use spreadsheets everyday. Just like the list of programming languages I know is, excel is another tool in my toolkit.

I have some pretty decent models of what kit we need based on client requirements. Could I have written them in perl/python/java/C/whatever? Yes. Could I have, in a timely manner, gotten it to the point we can send it to the cusomer so they can see why I am making reccomendations I am? no.

This isn't CS, it isn't IT, but it's still something that needs taught, just like the other two.

edit: apperently proofreading is not a tool in my toolkit. added a missing word -_-

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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:45 pm

Teaching of computing has always been fairly crap - I was taught when it still part of the maths department, and the only people allowed to enroll on the course were those that got over 80% in an 'aptitude test' (which was mostly stuff about recognising sequences.. I easily got 100% but apparently not everyone did).

The teacher was totally out of his depth, and regularly asked for help from the pupils.. but at least he had the humility to admit it and we had fun.  Mostly playing Frak... I learned *nothing* from those lessons - having learned it all myself playing at home (OTOH he did give us the space to learn at our own pace, even giving us access to the School's IBM terminal, which had been unceremoniously dumped in his office when nobody else knew what to do with it..).

At college we learned about databases on drum storage, how punched cards worked (although by then nobody had any working punch card readers) and read text books where there were pictures of a 'typical computer' that hadn't made sense for 20 years.  We didn't learn C because it was 'too new' and they were convinced Ada was the language of the future.  This was in 1992.

So I don't really hold out much hope for *good* teaching of computing, no matter what noises the politicians may be making.

What needs to happen with the Pi is what happened to people of my generation.  Get them into the hands of the kids, stand back and watch magic happen.  It'll help if there's a bunch of games and stuff to get them interested.  The teachers won't be able to keep up.. but good teachers find ways around that.

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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:29 pm

TonyHoyle said:



So I don't really hold out much hope for *good* teaching of computing, no matter what noises the politicians may be making.


I agree! My A-level Computing pupils get above school average grades every year, with one or two going usually on to Oxbridge, and I just can't work out why! I suspect that their form tutor is secretly training them up in floating point numbers, recursion and the Halting Problem. If I catch her, there'll be hell to pay, I can tell you ;P

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

Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:47 pm

Analogy. Expensive hardware, free software and free tutorials went into a pub in 1978. 34 years later hardware bought its first round and changed its name.

Its going to change the world. I love it.

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

Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:36 pm


What needs to happen with the Pi is what happened to people of my generation.  Get them into the hands of the kids, stand back and watch magic happen.  It'll help if there's a bunch of games and stuff to get them interested.  The teachers won't be able to keep up.. but good teachers find ways around that.


Interesting.  If you watch Eben speaking at Beeb@30 he mentions showing kids a few Raspberry Pis and rather than going through the curriculum on how to program the kids were more interesting in adapting the snake code.   The kids didn't want to step away from the computer in case another kid got in there.

This is what I expect a lot of us here would like to see.  Excitement and passion for computers. (Not sure if it's computing or ICT) I grew up in Ireland, but now in the UK wit my own kids so I really care about teaching in schools.

Let the kids at it and give then enough to raise their curiosity then let them off.

Maybe have an annual competition where they can showcase their achievements.
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Re: Analogy for what the Raspberry Pi is trying to achieve

Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:50 am

"Annual competition" is such a pre Web 2.0 / Social Web concept. Kids are coming out with hundreds of apps for Apple iOS and Android devices every _day_ now. Commercial tech hardware product lifecycles, from concept to product sales cessation are now typically 18 months! Anything that is on a timeline longer than months is already in the dustbin of history. If we don"t recognize this time dilation, we"ll never get on kids" wavelength, and will seem even more irrelevant to them than we already do.

There are over 100,000 unique products in an average national chain retail store today, with a turnover of 10,000 new products replacing old products per year, and increasing. Life is in the fast lane nowadays and, like it or not, it"s only going to accelerate from here, with today"s kids already living it at the consumer level. Our challenge is to educate them to where they can compete as product and service creators at such speeds.
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close! :D
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In theory, theory & practice are the same - in practice, they aren't!!!

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