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General Chat Thread, The Michael Gove BETT Speech in General; Originally Posted by pcstru Digital literacy is basic use of a computer to do word processing, spreadsheet, presentations, use the ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Digital literacy is basic use of a computer to do word processing, spreadsheet, presentations, use the internet etc. We find that not all students coming into secondary have good skills in this area and they are required across the curriculum. DL is distinct from 'computing' (how IT works technically) and 'Information Technology' (making IT work for people).
    So you mean 'technologically proficient' then? Stupid buzzwords. Nothing to do with Literacy. Grumble grumble.

    Basically it - like so many other things - have been given a fancy-sounding but completely inaccurate name.

    I'll agree to the importance of knowing how to craft a document, build an automatically-updating spreadsheet and create a presentation. But after 3 years of doing it in secondary school, you should know enough. Dump it once you hit GCSE years and then start with programming. Teaching a 5-year-old programming is near-useless. Even if you dumb it down to very simple levels there's much better use of their time. Too many kids are leaving primary school struggling to read or write. Let's make sure they fully understand their own native language before we try and teach them another - programming or otherwise.

    Coding and programming are damn strong skills and we do need more people with the ability to do it. He may be a prat, but he's right on that point. But the implementation, I feel, is the wrong approach.
    Last edited by Garacesh; 22nd January 2014 at 03:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norphy View Post
    Why? Aside from the odd bit of scripting, coding isn't a part of my job.
    Tying pieces of technology together (for example google apps to our MIS via our AD domain). Automating frequent tasks for users and administrators. Providing bespoke functionality on various websites. Maintenance of the existing spaghetti. Slicing and dicing and presenting data in interesting ways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishCustard View Post
    @TechMonkey - that's basically my feelings on getting children coding - it's unlikely to do harm, so why not? Kids may well not discover coding on their own, even if they'd love it if given the chance. Logical debugging/troubleshooting skills are another great transferable that you can get through learning to code.

    Just because Gove is generally a prat doesn't mean that he can't have some good ideas.
    Coding is not main stream and it never will be. The danger is that there are only so many teaching hours in a week. What will this be at the expense of? PE? Less maths or english? Science?

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    There are already dedicated hours in the primary curriculum for ICT, I would assume it'd use those?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garacesh View Post
    So you mean 'technologically proficient' then? Stupid buzzwords. Nothing to do with Literacy. Grumble grumble.

    Basically it - like so many other things - have been given a fancy-sounding but completely inaccurate name.
    IT has always been in competition with the cosmetic industry for making up new words or appropriating existing ones. "Digital Literacy" IMO is better than "Technologically proficient" but I'm not going to argue semantics.
    I'll agree to the importance of knowing how to craft a document, build an automatically-updating spreadsheet and create a presentation. But after 3 years of doing it in secondary school, you should know enough. Dump it once you hit GCSE years and then start with programming. Teaching a 5-year-old programming is near-useless. Even if you dumb it down to very simple levels there's much better use of their time. Too many kids are leaving primary school struggling to read or write. Let's make sure they fully understand their own native language before we try and teach them another - programming or otherwise.

    Coding and programming are damn strong skills and we do need more people with the ability to do it. He may be a prat, but he's right on that point. But the implementation, I feel, is the wrong approach.
    I started coding when I was 11/12. The only reason I didn't start earlier was there simply wasn't the equipment available. There is no reason why children can't start at 5 with appropriate content. No one is talking about sticking a 5 year old in front of visual studio and knocking up a cross platform compiler in C++.

    I think the intention with "Digital Literacy" is that it can be picked up cross curriculum - it's not a subject of itself. Learn to work a word processor in English, a spreadsheet in maths and science and any subject should be able to build students internet research skills. Computing and Information Technology are distinct subjects and it can only be good that they are not burdened by a curriculum chock full of rather basic, boring skills. No wonder kids were being turned off IT in droves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garacesh View Post
    So you mean 'technologically proficient' then? Stupid buzzwords. Nothing to do with Literacy. Grumble grumble.

    Basically it - like so many other things - have been given a fancy-sounding but completely inaccurate name.

    I'll agree to the importance of knowing how to craft a document, build an automatically-updating spreadsheet and create a presentation. But after 3 years of doing it in secondary school, you should know enough. Dump it once you hit GCSE years and then start with programming. Teaching a 5-year-old programming is near-useless. Even if you dumb it down to very simple levels there's much better use of their time. Too many kids are leaving primary school struggling to read or write. Let's make sure they fully understand their own native language before we try and teach them another - programming or otherwise.

    Coding and programming are damn strong skills and we do need more people with the ability to do it. He may be a prat, but he's right on that point. But the implementation, I feel, is the wrong approach.
    If you teach English in isolation, you won't teach English. Teaching other subjects is very important at all ages.

    Teaching programming is a very good idea, as it teaches logical thinking, diagnostics and deductive reasoning.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeekyPete View Post
    Coding is not main stream and it never will be. The danger is that there are only so many teaching hours in a week. What will this be at the expense of? PE? Less maths or english? Science?
    ICT. The subject that has been on the curriculum for a couple of decades. Its a replacement for it - as ICT was a required subject up until Sept 2012. Why does it need to be in isolation though? Why can't it be integrated into other subjects?
    Last edited by localzuk; 22nd January 2014 at 04:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeekyPete View Post
    Coding is not main stream and it never will be. The danger is that there are only so many teaching hours in a week. What will this be at the expense of? PE? Less maths or english? Science?
    Who says it is main stream? Is Art, Food Tech, Music, Languages, and any other of the subjects students learn main stream & who decides that? So why do anything but the core 3? Going to extremes why spend so much time on science when 99% of the kids won't be scientists? & why at the expense, are you saying it is a waste of time learning something other than those subjects? Surely anything that broadens a students mind, vocabulary, skills and horizons is worthwhile and should be made time for.

    To me this comes back to the the fact that the whole current teaching philosophy is wrong and misguided, that we have these ringfenced times where you get pumped with information about this subject, then we close that little box and go on to the next one with never the twain meeting.

    I'll agree to the importance of knowing how to craft a document, build an automatically-updating spreadsheet and create a presentation.
    This makes me weep! That is not IT!! That is office/presentation/business skills and teaching kids how to be happy little workers in a happy little cube.

    I would say that teaching a child how something works, how your input has repercussions, how errors can creep in to systems, how you can have control over something and make it do what you want (which is a very empowering skill to a small child) is a fantastic opportunity.

    I am gob smacked that on an IT technical forum we can not see the benefits of PROPER IT/computing teaching rather than the dreary watered down ICT.

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    WOOO PROGRAMMING

    Coming from a programmer, who was not really given any encouragement in school to "program", where I had to teach myself at home and have done since the age of 12 - it is about time that people realised that "IT" isnt Powerpoint, thats "Admin/Officey stuff" - IT is about creating and developing amazing experiences, which I do as a programmer and then combine that with my role as an IT Tech, I get to create amazing experiences for students, to benefit their learning.

    BUT - Most kids don't want to do programming in school, I was certainly the only one in my class who went above and beyond, its not for everyone - lots of people find it very boring but i love it.
    Last edited by SovietRussia; 22nd January 2014 at 04:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TechMonkey View Post
    This makes me weep! That is not IT!! That is office/presentation/business skills and teaching kids how to be happy little workers in a happy little cube.
    ^This^

    Here students study coding from (at least) Year 9 onwards, and have generally found it a challenging but far more interesting alternative to 'make a PowerPoint animation' and 'calculate these figures and make a chart' (like I did in my IT GCSE!).

    We should be training potential software developers, not restricting kids to the mindset of 'IT = Office'. How long do you think it will be before the 'cube worker' jobs are mostly automated away anyway?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishCustard View Post
    Just because Gove is generally a prat doesn't mean that he can't have some good ideas.

    It's such a poorly thought out idea though. Where are all these code-literate teachers to teach this new curriculum? Why would a computer science grad ever go on to do a PGCE? That career path would mean on average 8k less starting salary plus 1000x more stress in the job.

    My Mum is a maths teacher and she's been drafted in to teach the new computing curriculum at her school. The thing is, she gets stressed and frustrated if she has to do anything more technical than plugging a USB stick in. According to her, this is a common theme amongst all the schools in her LEA - there aren't enough teachers with knowledge of the subject to teach the subject and there seems to be no plans to train existing teachers up either.

    It's a great idea but, like a lot of things our government like to do, it's so poorly thought that I'd be suprised if this improves anything at all for most students.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sdrawkcab View Post
    It's such a poorly thought out idea though. Where are all these code-literate teachers to teach this new curriculum? Why would a computer science grad ever go on to do a PGCE? That career path would mean on average 8k less starting salary plus 1000x more stress in the job.

    My Mum is a maths teacher and she's been drafted in to teach the new computing curriculum at her school. The thing is, she gets stressed and frustrated if she has to do anything more technical than plugging a USB stick in. According to her, this is a common theme amongst all the schools in her LEA - there aren't enough teachers with knowledge of the subject to teach the subject and there seems to be no plans to train existing teachers up either.

    It's a great idea but, like a lot of things our government like to do, it's so poorly thought that I'd be suprised if this improves anything at all for most students.
    +1 this, most software devs can earn big bucks working for Google or corporate companies and not have the stress of teaching.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sdrawkcab View Post
    It's such a poorly thought out idea though. Where are all these code-literate teachers to teach this new curriculum? Why would a computer science grad ever go on to do a PGCE? That career path would mean on average 8k less starting salary plus 1000x more stress in the job.
    I don't believe it's true. We have had 4 students working on placements, even the best of them found it quite tough going getting a job. From an employers POV, graduates often lack domain knowledge, which can be almost as important as being a good programmer. And at least with a proper curriculum, it becomes an option. No one with any real passion for IT would want to teach a room full of students powerpoint year after year after year.
    It's a great idea but, like a lot of things our government like to do, it's so poorly thought that I'd be suprised if this improves anything at all for most students.
    I'd agree it's not going to be a quick fix, but having the ship pointing in the right direction is necessary, if you want to travel to the right destination.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sdrawkcab View Post
    It's such a poorly thought out idea though. Where are all these code-literate teachers to teach this new curriculum? Why would a computer science grad ever go on to do a PGCE? That career path would mean on average 8k less starting salary plus 1000x more stress in the job.

    My Mum is a maths teacher and she's been drafted in to teach the new computing curriculum at her school. The thing is, she gets stressed and frustrated if she has to do anything more technical than plugging a USB stick in. According to her, this is a common theme amongst all the schools in her LEA - there aren't enough teachers with knowledge of the subject to teach the subject and there seems to be no plans to train existing teachers up either.

    It's a great idea but, like a lot of things our government like to do, it's so poorly thought that I'd be suprised if this improves anything at all for most students.
    AH Ha!!! Now this is something to get behind and kick him up the arse about. In my opinion the idea is good and sound and should be encouraged. The implementation is the place it nearly always falls down. Like 20 years ago deciding that Business studies teachers would be good at teaching this new IT subject.

    I kind of like the idea of Maths being involved as it should have a strong hand in programming. May be she can offer logic problems for them to work on and then pass on to someone with the IT skills to help develop them into programs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TechMonkey View Post
    I am gob smacked that on an IT technical forum we can not see the benefits of PROPER IT/computing teaching rather than the dreary watered down ICT.
    My first post opened with it's not an either or...

    I maintain we need User skills, graphic design, office, data analysis, etc. Mr Gove was saying that we can somehow do away with that and all learn to code.
    No we can't, Proper IT needs to interface with the physical world. It needs real life applications and that happens where it collides with people. Users if you like. So no matter how much coding goes on you still need to teach people how to use the end result. OK You code, I do a little. How many people use your work? 1000? Coding needs to be taught, but for every coder there are a 1000 users. You can't replace good solid user training with coding, you need both. It's like teaching mechanics and hoping that somehow people will pick up on how to drive. Sure they'll know that pressing this makes you go faster and that slows you down. But that's not good driving.

    Glib comments about a telex machine don't really hold water when what he's proposing is a ZX81. Where you NEED to Code in order USE a computer. The vast majority of people should be isolated from coding. There are too people who are living proof that a little knowledge is dangerous. Teach it, please. It will atleast foster some understanding of the demands of programming and make all our lives a little easier. But it cannot replace user training.

    I have always maintained that no IT project is delivered until all the users are trained and know how to get the most out of the system. There is a parallel in education.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeekyPete View Post
    I maintain we need User skills, graphic design, office, data analysis, etc. Mr Gove was saying that we can somehow do away with that and all learn to code.
    No we can't, Proper IT needs to interface with the physical world. It needs real life applications and that happens where it collides with people. Users if you like. So no matter how much coding goes on you still need to teach people how to use the end result. OK You code, I do a little. How many people use your work? 1000? Coding needs to be taught, but for every coder there are a 1000 users. You can't replace good solid user training with coding, you need both. It's like teaching mechanics and hoping that somehow people will pick up on how to drive. Sure they'll know that pressing this makes you go faster and that slows you down. But that's not good driving.
    The proposal is in three parts. Other than "Digital Literacy" the coding under the umbrella of "Computing" the real life use of technology is called "Information Technology". It's not a matter of dropping one in favour of the other, both should be on offer (and students should understand the difference between them).

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