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Could Gove have actually done something right?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by brush75, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    I disagree, I'd say such things do have a useful end result though. While they may never be medics, they still need to have an understanding of how their body does/should work as part of monitoring their basic health.
    A topic like programming, though logically equivalent, does not generalise to everyday life particularly well.
    We need to ensure the curriculum evolves rather than suffers a revolution - In the rush to dump ICT we can forget some of the genuinely useful and generalisable skills that are present.
    The truth, as ever, lies somewhere in the middle...
     
  2. I have to say I am quite excited by the news. We've done most of the stuff Gove wants for several years, and the kids do love the challenge. However we've also had to include some rather tedious stuff just to get coverage of the POS. The freedom to now get rid of some topics and add others without worrying about the POS is fantastic.

    That said, there is a sad shock-value to much of the comment today. There seems to now be an assumption that ICT is boring and ICT teachers are bored (or boring) and even going as far as to name particular technologies as boring. That's as ridiculous as saying teaching art is boring because they use pencils, and they learned how to do that in primary school etc. A good teacher can make Powerpoint seem like wizardry, and have kids beaming, "I didn't know I could get it to do that," when they produce a professional-looking interactive presentation that few people would guess was created in Powerpoint. My own pet faves are hand-written HTML (kids getting excited about learning hex values by trial and error to get the desired colour) and spreadsheets (kids leaving the class talking about how "cool" spreadsheets are). I've also loved the way we manage to fit in things about the history of computers, which the kids are genuinely interested in.

    So a mixed message really. ICT, taught well, is not all boring. Kids do not know it all by Y7. Coding is not the holy grail for every child. But the freedom to choose what we want to include and what we want to scrap is, frankly, awesome.
     
  3. Hm. When I started the "games" we worked on weren't commercially viable either, and the children enjoyed working on them - but they were skeletons that were modified. Could be done much better with objects etc.
    "Games" fall into two categories - the modern PC type game which isn't possible to do (though you can do some interesting things with level design as a programming system) but also Flash/Phone games which are much simpler.

     
  4. Except they are not, have you ever programmed a phone game. Using the say windows phone tools which these days is XNA and C# or even more an iOS app using the xcode IDE, cocoa and objective C is a can of worms that only the brightest could tackle. The complexity of modern games is in both the physics and maths to make them work in any way we expect and the assets which requires an understanding of graphics, sound, UI design (sounds a bit like ICT).
    What we do have though is a wealth of resources, books and most important libraries and frameworks to help make things easier but whatever way you do it, making games is challenging.
     
  5. Coding, programming, apps design etc is one sector of the ICT industry. The ICT industry, and industry in general requires a wide range of ICT skills. Some schools are doing excellent work in multimedia, developing applications that use video, animation and sound. Do we throw this out in the pursuit of programmers?
    I?ve taught computer Science/Computing successfully at A level and recognise the relevance of programming skills as an element of a modern ICT curriculum, but to move wholesale to computer science throws out many good aspects of the present curriculum.
    Irrespective of the merits of the change, if Gove thinks schools can change any curriculum by September he?s on a different planet.
     
  6. Being out of our depth as teachers challenges and stretches us, that's for sure - but in this current technologically advanced time, we have the tools that enable collaborating and sharing with other teachers - and this means we potentially have the best and most effective support network to deal with these changes - the biggest staffroom in the world thanks to TES resources and other social media.
     
  7. BarryRiley

    BarryRiley New commenter

    The bit you say about developing apps is exactly what I have been thinking. It seems to me like Gove has been advised by people who are probably as obsessed with programming and computing as a lot of us are, yet who have no idea about the mindset and ability of the average 14 year old British child. Gove himself has obviously seem flashy graphics on an iPad and thought "well, it looks simple so it must be well within the grasp of a child".

    App development is something I would love to do with a double option group (6 lessons a week) of good ability bit for an hour a week with the average student it just wouldn't be viable. The only way it would work would be to make it so watered down and whistle-stop that it would miss its original intentions anyway.

    I hear a lot of talk about Scratch, and while I like the software it's hardly 'programming'. I don't even view it as much of a gateway to the type of programming you would need to do to create an app as making a cat move left to right is not going to transfer to the use of pointers and arrays in an hour a week
     
  8. BarryRiley

    BarryRiley New commenter

    Well yes it is much simpler, in the way that rocket science is much simpler than quantum physics. Flash games (and even more so non-flash mobile games) are incredibly difficult to programme even for the average amateur programmer never mind a secondary school student not at the top of the G&T list for computing
     
  9. I can sympathise with your point and before I'd properly tried it out, the abstraction in Scratch made me apprehensive to promote its use. However, now I think it's more useful to first teach the concepts of programming than any specific language, things like loops and variables, as this is transferable knowledge that makes learning any programming language easier. Also, teaching a specific language would raise the threat of teaching something that is out of date by the time the student reaches industry.
     
  10. programming != computer science
    more accurately
    computer science does not reduce to programming.
     
  11. I think networking is an important element to CS, yet it is not being mentioned at all. I think creating networks with year 8s would be fantastic.
     
  12. Agreed!
     
  13. Tried that - couldn't get the RJ45s to stick to the kids so went back to using cables :eek:)
     
  14. So oooooo...... (How) will you adapt your curriculum from Sept 2012? I am not going to pretend I'm a specialist, but I am not a novice either.
    Will you change KS3 or KS4 or both?
    KS3: thinking of keeping HTML, changing GameMaker module to Scratch, Will probably keep a Multimedia unit in there -quite like the idea of exploring the insides of a machine, think I'll still have to have someting on internet safety- but perhaps students can produce films /cartoons etc.I think we'll also get more of the students developing a presence on the VLE.
    I looked at the O2Learn site, particularly the materials for the phone app design competition that Michael Gove lauded in his speech, - there didn't seem to be any actual programming involved - it was just designing an app. - Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't expect that.
    We use Flowol for control and have used Logo in the past - are these two too antiquated to keep? - no money for additional software. Any ideas?
    KS4: We currently offer GCSE Business and Communication Systems - had a look at OCR's GCSE in Computing toaday - it looked interesting, but given the expert panel's Core and Foundation subjects have to be studied to 16 from September 2014 I doubt there will be time left for "options."
    I'm determined to make this work, but as I have free rein, don't want to end up with something unworkable.


     
  15. Think you've just hit the nail on the head. When I was learning to do PHP a (fair) few years back the eureka moment was when I grasped loops, variables, arrays etc... Once you know that in one language it is fairly easy to apply that to others.

    As you say teaching a specific language would mean there is the likelihood that it would be out of date by the time the student heads out for an opportunity at a company. Even now with students out of University we see students that are using out of date languages and the sad thing is it isn't really their fault.
     
  16. serverservant

    serverservant New commenter

    Interesting you should say that. Im about to enter a team in a regional school competition that involves designing an app for the IPhone/IPod - My team is made up of Year 9 and Year 10 Girls! They were the dead keen ones and one of them has already done some with XCode simulator in the past.
     

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