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Computing - Cambridge NAtionals Vs OCR Computing

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by Mr_G_ICT, May 3, 2012.

  1. Mr_G_ICT

    Mr_G_ICT New commenter

    OK,
    So we are coming to the end of our first cohort finishing the OCR COmputing GCSE, some sucesses, but overall, not.
    The other lead teacher for CGSE Computing is now looking at changing the course in order to:
    A) increase exam results
    b) Get more interest (year 1 we had 17, this year 11, next year 9)
    Then, the cambridge nationals came along, with the promise of Microsoft Certification, which may get more students interested and the idea that we can modularise the units to make it more interesting for the kids. I'm scared it may dumb down the subject (which is what i want to get away from)
    I'm suspicious and reticent. I'm getting my head around the OCR Computing and making it more interesting, however the interest in the school for ICT and computing is low. what do i do? what would you do?
     
  2. Mr_G_ICT

    Mr_G_ICT New commenter

    OK,
    So we are coming to the end of our first cohort finishing the OCR COmputing GCSE, some sucesses, but overall, not.
    The other lead teacher for CGSE Computing is now looking at changing the course in order to:
    A) increase exam results
    b) Get more interest (year 1 we had 17, this year 11, next year 9)
    Then, the cambridge nationals came along, with the promise of Microsoft Certification, which may get more students interested and the idea that we can modularise the units to make it more interesting for the kids. I'm scared it may dumb down the subject (which is what i want to get away from)
    I'm suspicious and reticent. I'm getting my head around the OCR Computing and making it more interesting, however the interest in the school for ICT and computing is low. what do i do? what would you do?
     
  3. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    I think it's difficult to say as we don't know you, your HoD, your school and your kids, but what you are experiencing is the opposite to me as our numbers go up year on year. But let's be honest it's KS3 that is the key. Hook them in at that stage and you will have the numbers filter through later on. As for the computing v ICT argument, I can't be bothered with it all, but if you ain't getting the numbers and pulling KS4 classes of 9 then frankly if I was your Headteacher I would be asking you to bin that soon as there's no way I can afford to support such small classes. Maybe you shoudl be doing some subtle surveys of your kids to find out what they want and where your issues lie to decide which path is best to bolster the uptake. I don't know how many you have at your place but just 9 suggests there is fundamental faws you need to address and you better look quick cos personally if I was at the top I would be culling your course as I couldn't justify a member of staff to just 9 kids
     
  4. I agree with DJP in that KS3 is the key. Our Computing numbers aren't what I want them to be, but I'm hoping that an after school computing club kicking off once the Y11 and Y13 have gone (and I have 30s to breathe) will help us get more numbers for next year.
     
  5. tonyuk

    tonyuk Occasional commenter

    If you look back through the threads there is a lot of thought that computing is still very niche and will never get the numbers of an ICT course. Be careful of Microsoft Cert and Nationals I went to a conference on this and the "stuff" pupils need to know to pass the nationals does not cover the exams for microsoft (well unless you teach over and above what is needed to pass the course).
     
  6. I think somewhat niche, rather than very niche. I'd be happy with 3x ICT classes, 2x Creative Media and 1x Computing (which is not far off where we are for next year). Looking at my computing class, about half a planning to carry it on and the other half may not do much programming again (or they might, who knows). I think that ICT *will* have a broader appeal at KS4 so it's best not to put your eggs in one basket. You could always offer 4 different KS4 courses to suite almost everybody... (last year I'm doing that, having spent the last fortnight fighting a losing battle against a pile of paperwork you wouldn't believe in this digital age).
     
  7. It is certainly true that many people seem to think there is a smaller market for Computing than ICT despite the fact numbers taking It related A-levels and Degrees have crashed since the introduction of ICT. The fact is kids have been forced to do ICT at KS4; they have never been obliged to do Computing. Only if you offer both subjects on a strictly voluntary basis can you make a comparison. I suspect that in my school the kids would ask "Who's teaching which course?" and make their choice on that basis....
     
  8. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    I think the Thread title is effectively a false dichotomy, in that why is there an OR in it? Why not both? The two appeal to very different students.
    We "lost" OCR Nationals as core for current Y9-Y10 and were forced into options. We ditched OCR Nationals and offered OCR Computing and EdExcel ICT.
    Computing has been running for 12 months already and numbers will be up to two large groups 20+ in each.
    ICT will have two large groups which I suspect is timetabling led rather than choice led.

    The ideal in my view would offer banded options:
    Top Band can opt for GCSE ICT and/or GCSE Computing. They'd also complete relevent Camb-Nats units during the courses.
    Lower Band Camb-Nationals ICT based or Camb-Nationals Compuing based. The Cambridge Nationals have some nice looking units to allow this combination to be offered.
     
  9. OCR Computing has been a difficult ride with my class of students.
    Basic problems - a lack of clarity on the depth/scope of subject knowledge, and unrealistic expectations in assessment making the bar too high at GCSE level.
    They haven't listened to their customer base, have had their head up their academic a****s rather than listening to centres.
    They get top marks for bring this into pilot two years ago, but they've certainly failed to get a grip on reasonable assessment and controlled assessment, and good students haven't attained in line with other subjects.
    I'm looking very closely at the development with other boards, and suggest others to as well. OCR need punishing with people voting with their feet.


     
  10. I hate to bang on, and if you've found it tough going then you've found it tough going.


    Personally, I've enjoyed the course, my class has enjoyed the course and most have done very well so far. I do have one academic student who is below the curve in Computing, but this is because he's very good at learning answers (which seems to have served him well in other subjects) and not so good at problem solving and thinking through problems.


    I've heard from and talked to teachers who have had both of our experiences, so I'm not suggesting that you're 'wrong', just trying to give a balanced view.
     
  11. wilkinss

    wilkinss New commenter

    Happy Hippy - what software are you using to deliver Computing. We are a bit behind you in delivery of this and our network is due for an upgrade in the Summer and always have issues with packages being built on it!! Our KS3 do wonders with Scratch and have looked at Microsoft Small Basics which is a bit bland.
    Would appreciate any feedback as want to offer two routes to our students one computing and one ICT.
    Thanks
     
  12. Any platform that will let you use variables, if statements, loops, arrays and file handling will do. We use Python (with IDLE), but others are using VB, Greenfoot, Javascript, various flavours of BASIC, YOUSRC (online tool) and you can always use ideone.com for pretty much any language.


    I would encourage most people to investigate Python if they don't have a lot to go on, but ultimately, it's more important to pick a platform that YOU like and feel comfortable with as that will lead to a better experience for the students.


    If you are looking at Python, then consider starting at Code Academy.
     
  13. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    We have been using small basic with year 9 - it has gone down well. it depends upon what you ask them to do with it.
     

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