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IT News Thread, UK Schools not providing the right IT skills in Other News; There is an article on tonights Newsnight (10/10/11) on BBC2 with the UK games industry complaining that pupils are not ...
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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    UK Schools not providing the right IT skills

    There is an article on tonights Newsnight (10/10/11) on BBC2 with the UK games industry complaining that pupils are not being given the correct skills required for 'real world' IT work. Looks interesting. More here: BBC News - Can the UK raise its game?

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    See this sort of thing annoys me, as it takes a small statistic. Look at schools where I have worked, I worked hard to get the right provision of ICT taught there, not just your standard Excel or Powerpoint, but proper indepth using VLookup and If functions in Excel, proper SQL queries in access, as well as using Delphi and teaching PASCAL to year 11's. Gives them additional skills that are sought after.

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    See this sort of thing annoys me, as it takes a small statistic. Look at schools where I have worked, I worked hard to get the right provision of ICT taught there, not just your standard Excel or Powerpoint, but proper indepth using VLookup and If functions in Excel, proper SQL queries in access, as well as using Delphi and teaching PASCAL to year 11's. Gives them additional skills that are sought after.
    I agree. The pupils they chose were not the best. In addition I didn't like the point that most ICT Teachers do not have relevant degrees. I do not have an ICT/Computing degree but it doesn't make me less able - yet this is the impression I got. Maybe the full film will be a bit better.

    Gareth

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    Maybe but I dont hold out much hope to be honest. There is always a heavy slant on these things to get their point across.

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    Maybe but I dont hold out much hope to be honest. There is always a heavy slant on these things to get their point across.
    You should join CAS. David Braben (who is on there this evening) is a member. His aims are clear and good. I'm all for more coding in schools.

    GJE

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    mattx's Avatar
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    Right, here goes - I have not seen the bit on the program as at the moment I'm:

    A: Drinking a beer
    B: Got my head in a powershell cookbook

    But from my experience working in a school for 7 years and being an ICT link Gov for 10 years I have to say the crap they teach the kids is frightening. Sometimes not even the basics are taught - example the ICT teacher of a school I knew though he would be clever and jump straight in to teach the kids Macro Stuff in Excel. No formal grounding from the bottom, no explanation of how code is produced, compiled etc. Nothing on other languages which do other elements, scripting etc - nothing. Just straight in, nothing on explaining algorithms or anything like that. Needless to say 3/4s of the class were bored, did not understand and had no interest.
    And all of this was to try and impress the parents as it was an open day. Have to laugh.

    You know what ? The more I type, the more I don't care anymore so I'm going to stop now.

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    I bet if we edugeekers put together the IT curriculum for GCSE, then there would be more interest in the younger generation. The stuff I "Learnt" at college was stuff I already knew and picked up from books and the smattering of internet usage I was allowed at school / library / home.

    Nowadays if the kids had focus, they could become the next Steve Jobs / Bill Gates / Mark Zuckerberg just through the skills learnt in IT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    I bet if we edugeekers put together the IT curriculum for GCSE, then there would be more interest in the younger generation. The stuff I "Learnt" at college was stuff I already knew and picked up from books and the smattering of internet usage I was allowed at school / library / home.

    Nowadays if the kids had focus, they could become the next Steve Jobs / Bill Gates / Mark Zuckerberg just through the skills learnt in IT.
    Are you saying that importing a picture into word, setting up football tables in Excel and making a death by powerpoint is not going to get them anywhere in life.......?

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    Yes, yes I am.

    I hate the crap that these kids churn out, and I tell them (when i teach) that if they read from the slide its a fail (unless pointing out specific statistics pertaining to their subject), if they produce anything that doesn't use IF/VLookup/Count/Countif functions on excel, its a fail. Things that are useful skills I don't mind but the crap taught (which is by no means the teachers fault) is not worth the GCSE they are given. My nephew who is 5 can use excel to do football tables or count up columns already. He will be well ahead of the game when he gets to high school.

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    mattx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    Yes, yes I am.

    I hate the crap that these kids churn out, and I tell them (when i teach) that if they read from the slide its a fail (unless pointing out specific statistics pertaining to their subject), if they produce anything that doesn't use IF/VLookup/Count/Countif functions on excel, its a fail. Things that are useful skills I don't mind but the crap taught (which is by no means the teachers fault) is not worth the GCSE they are given. My nephew who is 5 can use excel to do football tables or count up columns already. He will be well ahead of the game when he gets to high school.
    I have a theory [ and remember I'm a thicko ] - that if you can train a kids brain quite young to understand and work with conditional statements, loops, variables etc you will then have a good base of starting to do something constructive.
    However, I also have a theory of starting at the bottom and going through a step by step guide and not jumping straight into complex routines - so when I mean at the bottom I mean, basic language, perhaps dark basic and maybe even a bit of batch stuff too.
    Anyway, I'm no teacher but thats what I would do.

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    I felt the article had many quite valid points, but when they interviewed Ed Vaisey at the end I was almost shouting at the TV. In short he was wanting 'industry' to come into schools to teach unspecified I.T. skills. He wanted to encourage the self teaching of IT skills (at home and in the kids own time with no school support). It was almost as if the govt has placed both fingers in it's ears and gone 'la la la, we're not listening'.
    It paticularly narked me when Vaisey was going on about how in the 80's all the kids taught themselves programming with no help from the schools.
    NO WE DIDN'T!! I took Computer Studies in high school (programming etc) as did many others to add to the knowledge we were aquiring in our own time.
    Anyway, I'll stop there, but if you missed it I'm sure it will be on the iPlayer later, and if you get angry easy then please ensure you are not holding a laptop or other valuble object or you may feel like launching it during the interview stage of the article.

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    I think we do need to look at the wider context here and take all these 'schools fail children' stories with a pinch of salt.

    If all you listen to is industry spokesmen, you'd be hard pushed to find any industry that kids are being prepared for by schools. The CBI has an annual rant about school leavers not even being able to write or add up. I'm sure it can't be long before McDonalds says schools aren't teaching children the right skills to put lettuce on a bun.

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    When looking at applicants for an ICT Technician's position I generally disregard anything that has GCSE, BTEC and ICT in the course title, they're worthless to us, I look for evidence of skills through their personal statement, ongoing professional development, and qualifications like a good level of English both as a grade and demonstrated in the CV and covering letter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    I bet if we edugeekers put together the IT curriculum for GCSE, then there would be more interest in the younger generation. The stuff I "Learnt" at college was stuff I already knew and picked up from books and the smattering of internet usage I was allowed at school / library / home.

    Nowadays if the kids had focus, they could become the next Steve Jobs / Bill Gates / Mark Zuckerberg just through the skills learnt in IT.
    My first summester of Uni was covering ground that I had learnt when I was eight or so from a C64 manual, nothing in formal education here in this farming outpost even came close to real computer science and throughout I only met one teacher that had a clue who was restrained by the curriculum to teach modern typing.



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