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IT News Thread, UK ICT Classes Should be Overhauled in Other News; According to this article by The Register, UK ICT subjects are now no longer reflecting the requirments of the skills ...
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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    UK ICT Classes Should be Overhauled

    According to this article by The Register, UK ICT subjects are now no longer reflecting the requirments of the skills industry requires as they are (for the most part) being taught what they already know.

    ICT classes in school should be binned ? IT biz body ? The Register

    I think this is something many on here have been saying for quite some time.

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    WithoutMotive's Avatar
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    However, when leaving school, kids should be damn good at PowerPoint and Access
    Other than that, I think they'd get quite a shock when they get into the real world.

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    Problem is they aren't good at Access & yeah they can put a slide show together but can't present. Here normalisation isn't a part of the criteria so they aren't taught it, relationships don't matter and proper queries aren't touched. So not only are they not learning databases properly they don't learn how to use Access properly either.

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    WithoutMotive's Avatar
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    Very true.

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    Gatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WithoutMotive View Post
    However, when leaving school, kids should be damn good at PowerPoint and Access
    No, they will be damned good at pressing CTRL+C then CTRL+V....

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    UK ICT subjects are now no longer reflecting the requirments of the skills industry requires
    The skills that industry say they require should have no bearing on schools' curriculum. From that article: "Our member companies tell us that they often have to spend considerable time up-skilling employees". Industry is always going to have to provide training ("up-skilling"?) to keep people up to date - knowledge is transitory, people need to be constantly using knowledge and skills or they'll forget. Never mind what industry says they want, what industry actually wants is people who can learn quickly - people who get the idea that they will be life-long learners.

    I agree with the main point of the article, which seems to be that there should be greater emphasis on STEM subjects. However, I don't think Computing / Computer Science should be an option at GCSE, and should be seen as a vocational subject at A-level. Computing isn't real science, it's too easy, and a computing GCSE just provides an excuse for people to avoid doing proper maths.

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    webman's Avatar
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    The problem, I think, is finding teachers competent enough in "real computing" to able to teach it.

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    Gibbo's Avatar
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    I learnt Wordwise and Interword for two years on BBC Micros at school. A fat lot of good that did me! Same with PASCAL and LOGO, although I use the latter to demo robotics to our IT Club.

    Although saying that, despite the program changing it did teach me the basics common to any word processor, so the application shouldn't matter. Which is why I have a real bug in my bonnet as to why MS Office should be the preferred application and others can't get a look in.

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    soapyfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webman View Post
    The problem, I think, is finding teachers competent enough in "real computing" to able to teach it.
    I think that is exactly the issue really

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    This has been discussed a lot today on the CAS mailing list - an attention grabbing headline.

    The author of the report is also a member of CAS and has responded.

    Gareth

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    I'm certain my views on this subject have been well echoed by other posters but I saw this and couldn't resist adding my tuppenceworth to the discussion.

    In my opinion, the teaching of ICT in secondary schools is woefully inadequate. There tends to be a fatal dichotomy of ability as far as teachers are concerned.

    Having done a PGCE myself I have seen this in practice.

    On the one had you have very passionate, committed teachers with a very high degree of technological competency. On the other you have teachers drafted in from other subjects with little or no technological knowledge, competency or even passion for the subject that teach IT because they know roughly how to use Office.

    This is very poor and inadequate. When I went to school ICT was a dreadful subject comprised of making lego trucks go through gates and learning how to use MS paint. But with the way we are becoming more and more immersed in technology in our daily lives, learning how to use MS Word is no longer appropriate. Most school children know the fundamentals of using Office programs before they get to secondary school. The structure of writing letters and presenting power point presentations is not the responsibility of ICT departments. This should be taught as part of the english language curriculum!

    The way I see it, young people should be taught the basics of hardware maintenance and basic networking. They should be taught to build, install and configure a PC and connect it to a simple network. Some have argued that pupils should be taught programming languages but I disagree as there are too many to choose from and from a practical perspective you can't teach them all. I certainly believe that knowledge of the types of programming languages and what they are used for would be an advantage as it gives pupils an insight into HOW the programs they use are constructed and how they work, and so learning ABOUT programming languages should definitely be on the curriculum.

    I feel that pupils should be taught basic html to help them understand how the WWW works and how sites are constructed, and an overview of network infrastructure is essential. A student should be taught about the role of domain controllers, AD servers, SQL servers, exchange servers, etc and how they interact in a business environment. It would help if these were taught from a 'function' perspective rather than 'form' so the focus is on the function of the servers rather than the specific operating systems, as again different businesses prefer different software and a student should be able to understand these regardless of 'brand name'.

    As much as I would like a non-brand-specific curriculum in the interests of maintaining an 'impartial' viewpoint, in reality we know this won't happen and that pupils will most likely be taught microsoft technologies. Therefore rather than a pupil coming out with a worthless GCSE in Powerpoint, perhaps schools ought to look at industry recognised qualifications such as the CompTIA A+ - many entry level IT positions consider this qualification to be either essential or at least desirable and it would at least give our school leavers something to work with when looking for a job. Because it's an industry standard, this qualification would also weed out a lot of the dumbing down of our GCSE qualifications - if a pupil fails the exam they fail the exam. None of this 'E-Grade' business. Pass or Fail. Obviously there should be some 'achievement' to show what level of competency they have achieved (perhaps some sort of NVQ?), but as far as I'm concerned, if the subject is taught properly there should be no reason why these students cannot pass the most basic of entry-level IT qualifications.

    Of course we all know that you can 'cheat' on these exams by coaching for the exact questions (there are forums out there that will tell you exactly which set of questions is currently in use), but then isn't this happening in our schools anyway? If there were wide reform in ICT Teaching this practice wouldn't much matter anyway as the subject would be taught in it's entirety anyway.

    Those are just a few of my thoughts anyway. I know that if I'd been presented with the guts of a PC and some instruction on how to put them together I would have found ICT FAR more useful and relevant.

    A.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    I suppose moving towards a 'how things work' ICT curriculum could be a good idea, especially as the practical aspects of this are easy to demonstrate, especially in the early years of a high school education. After all, isn't that how all subjects start. maths, English, RE are all about how numbers, words and religions work with more emphisis on the correct manipulation of the learned facts coming later. I do disagree somewhat about not teaching programming, but it would have to take a nation and curriculum wide standardisation of what language and to what level to make that work as I agree there are simply too many to currently choose from.
    The entire world is IT centric now, and to ignore this huge factor in all of our daily lives and how it affects us all would be a wasted opportunity given the levels of IT that UK schools currently enjoy in the classroom. Even my 4 year old son knows how to open a web browser and type in what he's looking for (spelling apart!). When he's secondary age I shudder to think how competant he'll be with computing, but I think word processing will be something he'd been doing for quite some time by then.
    ICT As a subject is important, it just needs re-working to make itself more relevant I feel, but then we'd need more skilled IT teachers as well, as the the current knowlageable and IT literate IT teaching staff currently in schools are a little thin on the ground, which is a whole other issue.
    Last edited by Dos_Box; 24th October 2011 at 03:07 PM.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    ICT As a subject is important, it just needs re-working to make itself more relevant I feel, but then we'd need more skilled IT teachers as well, as the the current knowlageable and IT literate IT teaching staff currently in schools are a little thin on the ground, which is a whole other issue.
    I agree.

    Looking at 'old-technology', handwriting is taught as a discreet subject in primary school, but not in secondaries. It is assumed that by age 11 most children have grasped the concept of forming letters on paper. Only those with SEN would be continue with handwriting lessons at that age.

    In secondary school, students are taught how to use and develop the concepts they learned in primary school. Handwriting is a tool, not a subject. What you learn is how to use the words you form with handwriting in, and as a part of, different contexts, subjects and languages.

    The same should apply to IT. Learn the basic skills, how to use a computer, in primary school. In secondary school, learn how to use the computer in, and as a part of, different contexts, subjects and languages.

    This, however, doesn't mean that 'programming' skills shouldn't be taught in secondary school. Those with an interest in developing their IT knowledge by learining web design or coding should still have the opportunity in KS4/5

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    One of the things that amuses me is the number of people, even on EduGeek, that confuse teachers who have done Computing at uni and want to teach Computing and teachers who are not computing specialists but are fantastic at using IT, those who are fantastic teaching with IT, those who help students / pupils learn though IT and those who teach ICT.

    They can all be regarded as separate groups but with a lot of cross-over. Some of the best ICT teachers I have come across are those from non-ICT subject backgrounds but have fallen into teaching it because they have a passion for it.

    ICT as a subject is important but why the heck are people still talking about it in isolation of everything else? Oh, because that is the way exam groups want it to be so they can chop things into assessable chunks that they can charge you for. Forget thinking about ICT as a subject purely at KS4 & KS5. If you ignore the use of it across the curriculum then of course you are going to have problems with there being gaps in knowledge and skills.

    As for the relationship with computing ... it is fine for an industry group to moan about the poor ICT courses turning folk going on to do computing, but that is like saying that poor maths courses mean folk do not want to study philosophy ... and poor English courses mean folk don't want to study Drama.

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    One of the things that amuses me is the number of people, even on EduGeek, that confuse teachers who have done Computing at uni and want to teach Computing and teachers who are not computing specialists but are fantastic at using IT, those who are fantastic teaching with IT, those who help students / pupils learn though IT and those who teach ICT.
    You would be suprised how many student PGCE teachers come through my department with degrees in Comp Sci but no clue how to teach. Yes we try and train them but most of them are doing the PGCE course 'just in case' they do not get a real computing job. Makes my blood boil. As someone who has completed an 'educaiton degree' a BEd I don't feel the PGCE students have enough 'theory of education' taught to them on their respective courses.

    That said I am now doing a BSc in Computer Science with the OU, but it is a labour of love.

    Gareth

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