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IT News Thread, Researchers discover GCSE ICT Lessons are boring (news at 11). in Other News; BBC News - School ICT lessons a 'turn-off', says Royal Society <flamebait> I mean, who wouldn't want to sit through ...
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    Researchers discover GCSE ICT Lessons are boring (news at 11).

    BBC News - School ICT lessons a 'turn-off', says Royal Society

    <flamebait>
    I mean, who wouldn't want to sit through 3 years of being taught by a PE Teacher how to use Microsoft Office?
    </flamebait>

    (Yes, I know there are good ICT teachers out there, but I also know there's a lot of people who shouldn't be teaching it at all).

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    "Later on in the program, we'll talk to a team of researchers from Cambridge who have published the results of a 10-year study that concluded the sky is blue."

    Seriously, GCSE ICT lessons were dull 15 years ago, and I don't see anything fundamentally different about them now. The teachers aren't the problem, it's the utterly unambitious curriculum that's to blame.

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    I hated IT lessons at school so much (15 years ago too), unbelievably dull. Don't seem so boring now, but I'm not sure what skills they're supposed to be gaining from it - using Design mode in Dreamweaver is not that handy. Same with A-Level - they seem to spend most of their time using MS Access.

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    jumpinjamez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    "
    Seriously, GCSE ICT lessons were dull 15 years ago, and I don't see anything fundamentally different about them now. The teachers aren't the problem, it's the utterly unambitious curriculum that's to blame.
    This is very true my only it experience at school was word processing on Amstrad green screens. I thought all children were "digital natives" now why do they need to learn MS office by not just PE teachers but alot of IT teachers do not have an IT background.

    I can see some ipads(or any other device that is in vouge) for all pupils to make IT "cool" :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gibbo View Post
    My IT lessons included programming (Basic, Pascal and Assembler) and messing with robots.
    ^ this. The option to use a BBC Micro and a turtle to draw cartoon genitalia when the teacher wasn't looking inspired me to investigate computers in primary school.

    That's pretty damning. What I was learning *mumble* years ago in Primary School was more inspiring than what they're teaching at GCSE level today.

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    NikChillin's Avatar
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    I suppose it has nothing to do with the recent survey that said that computer science graduates had the highest unemployment rate amongst all graduates!

    BBC News - &#039;One in 10&#039; UK graduates unemployed

    Our school is moving towards ICT being taught in other subjects, ie; maths teach Excel etc and IT specialising in Computing.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gibbo View Post
    There are entire modules in creating folders and shortcuts. That's bad enough but then the kids have to write up a document showing how they did it!

    My IT lessons included programming (Basic, Pascal and Assembler) and messing with robots.
    Mine too. I did Computer Science in the mid 80's and it was a great course that engage everyone who took it.
    We (as a site collectively) have been saying for years that the standard ICT curriculaum is nothing short of shocking. In my (school) days the course would have been called 'Office Skills' and would have been open to girls only! I recall a conversation about the ICT curriculum with a very senior ICT person in Lancashire schools about 7 years back where I bemoaned that lack of any real skills or engagement that ICT as a subject in UK schools had. The reply was a little shocking, and not to mention disheartening. It was 'It's not about teachign skills, but learnign, showing processes and teh ability to retain information'. In short, it was not about technology, but about teaching and learning. What gets taught in UK classrooms bears little or no relevence to what skills are needed in the real world of IT. In fact, there is a huge disconnect between the skills gained in high school, through to college and then onto university leaving many struggling or failing at each step. We can see it here where recent graduates (even in IT related subjects) come on to ask 'So what skills and qualifications do I really need to get a job in IT?'
    Now, to my mind, it would not take a lot of effort to re-work a curriculum to include modules that would engage and push interested pupils to further themselves in IT. How about basic networking? Scripting and programming? A module on basic web site creation and hosting? Computer assembly and repair? These would (to my mind at least) be far more benificial and engaging that learning Office Suite x for 5 years. There is, however, on BIG problem. Teachers. Or more particularly, a lack of qualified and experianced teachers who could acutally do this. Even at graduate level they would not have many of these skills. Let's face it, it takes us, as IT professionals, many, many years to train ourselves up to these tasks, and constant revision and upgrading of our personal abilities to stay current in our field. I sometime think doctors have it easy. Nobody redesigns the heart, liver, bones and blood every 3 years and expects you to learn them again (let alone get re-certified on them) often at your own expense and time. I know that is a vast over simplifcation, so my apologies to any real doctors or medical staff who may read this!
    What it comes down to is this. Industry and school leavers need one set of skills and schools are failing to provide it, or at least the introduction to it. Hmm. I can feel an editorial coming on.

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    p858snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gibbo View Post
    There are entire modules in creating folders and shortcuts. That's bad enough but then the kids have to write up a document showing how they did it!

    My IT lessons included programming (Basic, Pascal and Assembler) and messing with robots.
    In my Dip in Info Tech (Network Eng.) you have to do "Install a Software App." as a pre-req for some of the units, And yes, the name describes exactly what needs to be done to deemed component. This isn't even a requirement for the lower qualifications such as the Certificate 2 or Certificate 3, Although I guess it's somewhat more thrilling than creating a shortcut.

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    Its a shame they cant practice what they learnt in their user areas. A mess.

    Boring it maybe, but these essentails are needed.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    I did GCSE DIDA. I really hated it. All we did is do spreadsheets for 2 years. I wish i had picked something else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    ^ this. The option to use a BBC Micro and a turtle to draw cartoon genitalia when the teacher wasn't looking inspired me to investigate computers in primary school.

    That's pretty damning. What I was learning *mumble* years ago in Primary School was more inspiring than what they're teaching at GCSE level today.
    So true. We had the turtle in my primary school, and the control module we did in DT (programming a model elevator) in Year 8 was far more interesting than anything we did in IT at secondary.

    Although control is part of the syllabus, a lot of schools half-ass it these days by using tedious simulation software instead of the real thing. This is partly because it's cheaper, but partly a teacher issue. The ICT teacher in my school admitted to me that she hates teaching control because she doesn't understand it - and this is someone who is actually a pretty good ICT teacher compared with others I've worked with. Meanwhile, our Geography teacher runs an out-of-hours Robotics Club using Lego Mindstorms, that he had to beg to get money for. The mind boggles.

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    DIDA or CIDA which ever one it was - It was terrible! *yawns*

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    Many I.T. teachers shouldn't be teaching I.T. full stop. In my limited time and knowledge of schools I would say at least 70% - 80% had no working knowledge of I.C.T. which says something about the state of the curriculum and whats being taught.

    One example in the school I worked as was an EX p.e. teaching teaching I.T. People see it as an easy subject. Teachers who got a 2:2 in business studies teaching and not knowing anything about I.T. Its a joke. So many times I was bought into classrooms for basic errors (ok the teachers should be teaching) but some of the things could have been sorted in a second. e.g. A cable has fallen out of computer - teacher goes over and puts it back in. Surely an I.T. teacher would know how to plug a cable in? Nope.

    Another issue with I.T. is that the area is so vast as is the medical profession. You have specialist Wee/poo doctors (W/e you call them), you have heart doctors. In my current job in a bank we have DBAs, we have project managers, we have implementation managers, we have UAT teams, we have coders, we have admins, we have network admins all under the roof of technology. The area is vast. Its going to be difficult to teach this to kids. They need a foundation/generalized course that is all with the opportunity to go further indepth at a more advanced level (specialize) if teacher/child deems fit. This can be advanced at a later stage when they have the choice to do A-Levels/ degree etc.

    Most kiddies doing I.T. at GCSE won't go on to work in I.T. and many do and will need the Office Suite skills of outlook, excel, word, power-point and so on. A serious look needs to go into the curriculum and the people teaching it. Are things going to change? Doubt it.
    Last edited by Jiser; 23rd September 2010 at 04:09 PM.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    I made it halfway though an AVCE in ICT at college, persevering with the first year on the promise that the second year would be a lot more advanced. At the induction for the second year, we were told the most advanced thing we would be doing was building a machine... not wanting to waste a year aiming towards a slightly more difficult than average jigsaw puzzle, I left.

    I do wonder though how GCSE ICT lessons could be made more interesting? I mean, how do you set an ICT curriculum? The subject is so immensely broad, I just don't know what would make a good general course. Personally I think GCSE level ought to be more like the AVCE was when I was at college, with modules in different technologys with a project to demonstrate understanding and with enough freedom to make it interesting (I made a guitar tuition program in powerpoint...)

    Oh, and on a side note, for my GCSE ICT project I wrote some maths tuition software in VB complete with CHM help files. My mate designed a Wolves fan site in frontpage (using design mode of course). He got an A, I got a B.

    My ICT teacher was actually a retired Science teacher who insisted on double clicking links in web pages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    Oh, and on a side note, for my GCSE ICT project I wrote some maths tuition software in VB complete with CHM help files. My mate designed a Wolves fan site in frontpage (using design mode of course). He got an A, I got a B.

    My ICT teacher was actually a retired Science teacher who insisted on double clicking links in web pages.
    Exactly!! Says it all just there.

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