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General Chat Thread, "ICT Poor in Secondary Schools" - Ofsted in General; BBC News - ICT poor in secondary schools, Ofsted says Inspectors said teachers lacked the expertise and confidence to teach ...
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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    "ICT Poor in Secondary Schools" - Ofsted

    BBC News - ICT poor in secondary schools, Ofsted says

    Inspectors said teachers lacked the expertise and confidence to teach more demanding topics properly.

    The report said areas such as databases and programming were poorly taught, with some pupils making more progress outside lessons than in them.
    Everybody's piling on at the moment aren't they? Poor ICT staff...


    For my part, I think it's a combination of factors - firstly, that the curriculum is updated so slowly and monolithically, which may work well for Maths and History, but isn't so great for ICT. Secondly, there is a certain sentiment in some schools that ICT is an easy subject to teach, and if you can use Word you can teach the subject. I'm not saying this is true everywhere and certainly the teachers at my current place are very capable, but I know of a staff member at my last place who was constantly applying to be an ICT instructor but couldn't work out that the printer wasn't working because it wasn't turned on. Unfortunately the curriculum doesn't help here, being as focused on Office as it is. Fixing the curriculum (and stopping it from just being the companion to Business Studies, as it was sold to me ten years ago) will shake out these pretenders, although it'll be a painful few years.

    Or, y'know, leave ICT as it is and make it core, and run an optional Computer Science GCSE alongside it to provide a challenge. I will keep mentioning this until the government notice my brilliant plan and actually gold-plate my pension like they keep reckoning they've done already.

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    Objectively assessing the ICT Teachers ability to teach ICT (based on helpdesk logs, grasp of subject, enthusiasm for the area and evidence of self-study/improvement, aptitude for critical thinking) before timetabling them to teach ICT would go a long way towards fixing the problem.

    Oh and when a student is superseding your knowledge in every way, use them as a resource.
    Last edited by pete; 14th December 2011 at 09:32 AM.

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    Students seem to spend hours and hours working on databases in Access, then never using it again in their entire lives. I can see how some form of database work can help, but there are other core aspects that seem to be severely lacking (e.g. we'll make a poster - let's use Powerpoint!)

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    Thats because most schools teach little more than office skills. On the occasion when teachers try to be adventurous, its usually a mundane control or web design unit - but if they were to engage students at 10% of the level that most of them work at when playing xbox games then we might get somewhere.
    Students find it boring, dont really get what we are trying to teach them and forget as soon as they walk out of the door.
    They love Google Sketchup as it triggers their neural zones, and they progress rapidly to some quite complex stuff.
    We need to start teaching the actual computer science stuff, in an engaging and interesting way. When I think of what I was doing at secondary student age, and how excited I was and how much I learnt 30 years ago, we should have moved on so much further. Instead we have regressed into teaching what whichever education minister of the time thinks students should know (and Gov didnt even include it in what students should know until he was heavily prompted)
    For me the rot set in when it started to be called ICT, and even IT - we need to reclaim the digital curriculum!

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    Yes. So many of the weaker ICT teachers just use MSOffice because that is all they understand; it does virtually nothing to help understanding of ICT - except train an army of unemployable secretaries for the typing pool who don't have the transferable skills necessary to do anything else.

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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    Interesting and correct article, some good posts too.

    It's a matter of factors, ICT is becoming much more complex - its no longer about how to just insert table, use formula etc. It is about much more detailed creations with office and thats just for starters. I believe we was one of the adequate schools and trust me when I say we are fixing that.

    Game Making software, Movie Maker, Lego maker, Audacity and with Frog coming we are hoping it does some major changes to learning in ICT. We do believe we should be an ICT Specialist school with our system size/usage and the head of ICT is working on that. She also knows the ICT Staff need to be on board, we do still get some silly requests but I do think some change is occuring staff wise *hush hush*.

    After Frog is completely up and running our next step is Secure GateWay to enable students to remote in and access our software/computers from Home - again another thing to help. Although I will agree the first step is making sure the ICT Staff are more up-to-date with knowledge when it comes to teaching but I in my opinion that is only the first step to fixing the problem.

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    Hi

    The truth is what ever they are taught 5 years down the road if they dont use it, it will be out of date and they cannot use it.

    I spent hundreds of hours programing as a kid and have never used it in my working life. I am a network manager now and dont need programing. What is needed is real life skills that they need to get and hold down a job. Then for the more specialised more specialist training.

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    I teach ICT in Primary (and do support as well) so cant comment from a first hand experience, but can comment from second hand experience as my daughter is currently doing GCSE's and even before that I can say at hers I'm not impressed with the level they teach her at. Alot of my primary kids can do already what they do and it seems alot of just teaching to get evidence for the exam rather than teaching for a proper purpose (same age old acorn of teaching to the test I'm afraid). They seem to have spent alot of time creating website buttons in Fireworks, nice but hardly practical. Now what the problem is I dont know, is it teachers taking a very easy way out of teaching a subject or a course that does not lend itself to the real world use of ICT? Suppose I've asked more questions than commented, but hey ho! (or should that have been Ho Ho!)

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    the full report is here: Ofsted | File Downloading Centre

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricki View Post
    Hi

    The truth is what ever they are taught 5 years down the road if they dont use it, it will be out of date and they cannot use it.

    I spent hundreds of hours programing as a kid and have never used it in my working life. I am a network manager now and dont need programing. What is needed is real life skills that they need to get and hold down a job. Then for the more specialised more specialist training.
    The basic concepts of file management, window management, word processing, spreadsheets, databases haven't changed in 30 years at the level pupils use. DTP and graphics have changed more, unless you're using MS Publisher, which seems stuck in about 1992.

    Also I'm often programming as a network manager, writing scripts to automate my job so I can spend more time reading edugeek

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    CAM
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    These are the skills that should be taught in secondary as essentials:

    - Office skills: Pretty essential, already taught if a bit too much in some schools. Going beyond the basics are helpful though, it wasn't until I started working as a data manager that I picked up on thing like mail merge or text-to-columns.

    - Programming Fundamentals: Something simple, none of this mollycoddling. Let them get in there with the code and get their hands dirty. Later on in their IT development, introduce another language and demonstrate how skills learned in the first can translate to the new one.

    - Security: I understand E-Safety is already taught in schools. Some of the technical aspects for security like CHMOD permissions and input sanitisation would useful as would non-technical factors like social engineering. They would really help with application development in a more connected world.

    There are some games out there that would work wonders too but implementation would be tricky and time-wasting is a factor. I challenge you to make some christmas lights in Terraria.

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    didn't have computers at school when I was there (1974-1979). Have done programming in a wide range of languages and don't feel cheated by not having had the opportunity to do programming at school. Would have liked electronics to have been available as a subject though.

    56 pages in the Ofsted report and only 1 mention of a school technician. 3 mentions for procurement (no, a shopping list isn't an ICT Development Plan). Excellent that there is good support for meeting the training needs of teachers and teaching assistants. Technicians don't appear to be on the Ofsted agenda.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdoyle View Post
    Excellent that there is good support for meeting the training needs of teachers and teaching assistants. Technicians don't appear to be on the Ofsted agenda.
    we are seldom on the school agenda where training is concerned so no reason why Ofsted should be any different, I suppose..

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    Quote Originally Posted by pinemarten View Post
    we are seldom on the school agenda where training is concerned so no reason why Ofsted should be any different, I suppose..
    there is a definite irony that the group highlighting the 'problem' are part of the problem.

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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    These are the skills that should be taught in secondary as essentials:

    - Office skills: Pretty essential, already taught if a bit too much in some schools. Going beyond the basics are helpful though, it wasn't until I started working as a data manager that I picked up on thing like mail merge or text-to-columns.

    - Programming Fundamentals: Something simple, none of this mollycoddling. Let them get in there with the code and get their hands dirty. Later on in their IT development, introduce another language and demonstrate how skills learned in the first can translate to the new one.

    - Security: I understand E-Safety is already taught in schools. Some of the technical aspects for security like CHMOD permissions and input sanitisation would useful as would non-technical factors like social engineering. They would really help with application development in a more connected world.

    There are some games out there that would work wonders too but implementation would be tricky and time-wasting is a factor. I challenge you to make some christmas lights in Terraria.
    Some useful stuff there, in the end teaching the kids is about preparing them for the "possibilities" I had nothing to do with History so far yet I did it in my Year 10/11 same for WoodWorking (I didnt even do IT). I wish I had the chance to cover as much as possible, you never really know what your going to do when you grow up.

    The History/Woodworking though taught me basic skills and some common knowledge, even with French I thought it was an utter waste of time and technically would be now for me but I really wish I paid more attention learning another language. At least the woodworking taught me you can not simply build something without considering the foundation first and planning.

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