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General Chat Thread, An EduGeek 'Free' School - What would you do? in General; I see that the info on 'free' schools is now available on the DfE website with the first schools due ...
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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    An EduGeek 'Free' School - What would you do?

    I see that the info on 'free' schools is now available on the DfE website with the first schools due to open in September 2011 (Free Schools - The Department for Education).
    Now, as an excersise in planning, let's take up a theoretical example of an 'EduGeek' school. The focus of the school would (obviously) be in teaching real world IT skills to secondary age children. Now, what would those skills be? how many teachers with what experience would we require? The schools in the UK are the most advanced and IT equipped in the industrialised world, but (IMHO) largely wasted as the skills they teach do not refelect the skills that industry would require from techology courses being run there. Pupils we all know often voice their frustration about the lack of courses that actually teach them IT\computer skills that they know they will need. So how would you do it better?

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    As a start I would devolve the teaching of word processing to English and spreadsheets\databases to maths. Perhaps even include a 'consumer technologies' course to teach various skills such as device integration\configuration, file conversion and a basic understanding of how new technologies work and fit into our daily lives.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Oh, and courses will be cross platform!!

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    powdarrmonkey (25th October 2010)

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    Touch-typing, first and foremost.

    Business Studies would have to involve how to spec, cost and write a business case for a new project. Ideally as a committee and, if there's enough money available, actually implemented on the network where appropriate/possible. Obviously this would probably be restricted to the higher level students, or even run as a competition each year.

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    Touch typing. Microsoft digital literacy certification which covers security, privacy, all office apps, basics, internet etc. Touch typing, file conversion and formatting. Best programs for the job, and teach them about open source alternatives as well

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    CAM
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    Home Economics: how to make a decent cup of coffee.

    I suppose the boring admin clerk side of IT (Word, Powerpoint, etc) could go to other subjects but how much time would it take up? And would the Exam Boards be happy with it? Always leave room for some real IT classes though showing the technical side of it. However, would scripting and server management really be necessary for Key Stage 3?

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    Home Economics: how to make a decent cup of coffee.

    I suppose the boring admin clerk side of IT (Word, Powerpoint, etc) could go to other subjects but how much time would it take up? And would the Exam Boards be happy with it? Always leave room for some real IT classes though showing the technical side of it. However, would scripting and server management really be necessary for Key Stage 3?
    These new schools will be academies, which are publicly funded independent schools, free from local authority control. They will enjoy the same freedoms as traditional academies, which include setting their own pay and conditions for staff, freedom from following the National Curriculum and the ability to change the lengths of their terms and school days. All Free Schools will be accountable like other state schools via inspections and tests.
    You get a LOT of freedom being a free school.

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    Whitelisting the web - only approved sites........

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    I think the best school ingrain ICT in other subjects, it's all cross curricular. So yes lots of WP, Presentations and DTP in English, French, German, History, RE and Geography. Excel and basic programming Maths. How about just doing away with ICT lessons all together? And definitely outlaw GCSE Business Studies as too many seem to think "Business Studies=ICT".

    If there are to be ICT lessons at all then I think they should take the form of...."write an essay (using any WP) about the differences between Mac's and PC's", "Give a presentation with projected slides on the components of a modern computer", Lessons based around installing an OS in to a VM and then networking the VM's on a VLAN, Upgrading Ram/Graphics/etc, File system/WIMP/OS design theory, etc.

    I'd like to see the day were every pupil as an iPad style device connecting them to the VLE, MIS (timetables, etc), e-mail and calendars, Internet (wikipedis, etc) in every lesson.

    I think a good VLE and use of quality Flash/Powerpoint/etc media should be central to a modern schools way of working. The teacher should use a laptop connected to a projector to present a lesson from content held on the VLE that the pupil can also view in class on their iPad and access anytime from home.

  11. 2 Thanks to tmcd35:

    CyberNerd (25th October 2010), Hollie1985 (25th October 2010)

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    Each pupil gets a laptop, but it has no O/S on it. They have to install Linux From Scratch, connect it to the school network and install all required software themselves. Give them ownership and responsibility for the laptop, it breaks they fix it with supervision from the ICT technicians.
    Don't abandon ICT lessons, but teach some usefull stuff like building and repairing PC's, networking, programming etc.

  13. Thanks to teejay from:

    MNHughes (4th February 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesb View Post
    Business Studies would have to involve how to spec, cost and write a business case for a new project. Ideally as a committee...
    My free school would teach people to make their own decisions and not rely on committees at all. If we're talking about the real world then we need to get people beyond this childish obsession with committees. No-one in business makes decisions via a committee. They make decisions themselves because that's what they're paid to do.

    (Sorry jamesb, my gripe is with committees, not with you)

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    Quote Originally Posted by timzim View Post
    My free school would teach people to make their own decisions and not rely on committees at all. If we're talking about the real world then we need to get people beyond this childish obsession with committees. No-one in business makes decisions via a committee. They make decisions themselves because that's what they're paid to do.

    (Sorry jamesb, my gripe is with committees, not with you)
    I agree with your gripe, but I thought we were meant to be teaching practical skills? Most of them aren't going to walk straight into a senior position where they can simply make their own decisions. Teaching them that would be handy, but it'll be more effectively useful for most to know how an actual meeting where these proposals are discussed would work.

    Of course, this is assuming that you're training them as general technical staff rather than public sector technical staff.

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    The problem is not committees ... it is making sure people understand the hierarchies do exist for a good reason and you have to accept that others will make decisions that you have to live with. If the decision making body is a committee ... then fine ... as long as they actually make decisions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    If there are to be ICT lessons at all then I think they should take the form of...."write an essay (using any WP) about the differences between Mac's and PC's", "Give a presentation with projected slides on the components of a modern computer", Lessons based around installing an OS in to a VM and then networking the VM's on a VLAN, Upgrading Ram/Graphics/etc, File system/WIMP/OS design theory, etc.
    And just how much use do you think this will be to the majority of students? How many of them will be looking to take these skills out in the real world?

    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    I think a good VLE and use of quality Flash/Powerpoint/etc media should be central to a modern schools way of working. The teacher should use a laptop connected to a projector to present a lesson from content held on the VLE that the pupil can also view in class on their iPad and access anytime from home.
    If the presentation is being displayed via a projector, why do they need to use an ipad device to view it as well?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    If the decision making body is a committee ... then fine ... as long as they actually make decisions.
    A committee that actually makes decisions - in my experience in that's an oxymoron...

  19. Thanks to timzim from:

    Hollie1985 (25th October 2010)

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