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Crowdsourcing the Curriculum

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by Tosha, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    Quite simple really, only train people who know something about it. I couldn't become a french teacher but any clown can get on an i(c)t pgce.
  2. Ok so we have to start with what we have in schools - those developments take time and we need to equip ALL teachers, whatever their background, in order to give learners everywhere a fair chance. So what resources are best going to support EVERYONE to deliver this new curriculum?
  3. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    It isn't possible, programming is like painting, some have an eye for it some don't.
  4. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    As I said, I could not deliver French nor would I be expected to. Why have IT students been short changed? I don't think you understand how different the subjects are, computing is highly academic, ICT is the the work of a clerk.
  5. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    I teach OO principles, patterns and UML in the it department I run. Students aret gradually exposed to these concepts from ks3 on. A graduate of 'whatever' that can use Microsoft Office can not possibly give students that education, as I can not speak French, Spanish, Yourbu or Mandarin. Who would employ me as a languages teacher?
    IT will fail if this is not realised. Maybe the goverment want it to in all but the most selective schools.
  6. Well, there aren't any :(
    Too much of what is done now is, well, rubbish. Playing about with Powerpoint. One needs quality schemes of work, ideally created for both Open Source and common Commercial Software (e.g. LibreOffice and Word, cross platform Programming tools etc.) to deal with the various components.
    Not sure what these are. I've always split it in my head into something like ; Office skills, Presentation and Media production skills ; Programming, Control and Electronics
    Is this too much for one subject ? Is there a case for (say) Office skills, Computing being seperate subjects (as used to be the case) and the Media stuff being part merged into Media Studies, Drama, Art ?
    My personal POV has always been that we need some sort of panel including real teachers and various representatives of the industries to hack out exactly what we are going to teach and why before we actually think about how to teach it.
    There's a lot of talk about programming, which isn't as inaccessible as people like to claim, but we can't just draft that onto the current curriculum , there's too much wrong. You could argue that after the trashing of "ICT" by GNVQ, OCR and similar it really needs abandoning.

  7. Yes, but you can say the same about reading and writing. It's about levels and varying approach. Don't teach everyone Python script - teach different systems, graphical programming, modifying already working programs, building up programs from components, even going as far as things like "Games Factory" or SEUCK.
    What I find is that there is a certain level where people struggle with abstraction. Print "Hello World", no problem, but A=C+1 ..... I suspect they have similar problems with algebra. Years ago I wrote a BASIC interpreter (was BBC B time) where the numbers and boxes were on screen and values literally moved about from box to box to calculator ; helped a bit but not much. I think this is the stumbling block.
    This doesn't mean they can't do component programming, or modifying programs that work, or something akin to VB6 where you drag and drop and have very simple events.
  8. Didn't they teach grammar and punctuation as part of your degree ? Or how to use paragraphs ?
    How are you going to create Android apps ? Android SDK ? Cross compiler ?
    Or are you (my money be on this one) using one of those sites that churns them out automatically with minimal real input, using Java as the porting tool ?

  9. johnblack

    johnblack New commenter

    How much money do you have, cause I fink I can afford grammar lessons now! Xx
  10. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    I don't have any and this is my point I can extend the curriculum to meet the needs of the students as through a combination of education and working in a Software House. We expect other subjects to have expert teachers, why not IT/Computing?
    Programming languages do not mean a jot, a well rounded Computing teacher will teach the higher order skills. Non experts teaching Computing will be kids copying syntax, IMO.
  11. I agree - and yes, it's the higher order thinking skills that are important - not the individual language. Whilst in an ideal world we would suddenly wave a magic wand and have the perfect number of exprienced experts, the fact is we have a range of teachers with a range of experiences.... and we need to support them beyond copying syntax so that they are able to come closer to the well-rounded experience that we all agree the learners deserve.
  12. Personally I'm very supportive of a somewhat wiki/crowd sourced approach to the curriculum. How many different teachers were required to rewrite level descriptors to make them suitable for their students, with no mechanism to share this work back in to the centre?
    There was no mechanism to suggest that the "boolean search" standard teaching units were/are a bit of an odd place to introduce anything like boolean logic. Oh look I've used a not to reduce my page hits from 54 Billion to just 500 Million, all the while producing a search that could quite possibly have excluded the best content.
    I can't agree (without some seriously rigorous evidence contrary to my own position) that such thinking is totally innate/cannot be learnt. Whilst I
    agree there is opportunity for absolute creativity, studying and
    experiencing the past norms is and has been a feature of most schools of
    Art/Philosophy/Science/Maths etc. How is Computer Science different in
    that regard?
    As for this thread, I love that thinking skills is being suggested as a
    focus, programming (a bit like algebra) has the art of problem
    generalisation at its core. Such skills are likely to be valuable well
    beyond the assignments/products of the course/subject.

  13. Personally I think this is nonsense.
    OO principles, yes, the idea that there is an enclosed object with messages/commands/whatever, fine.
    Patterns ? What, let's say the simplest is the Singleton. Why would you teach this pattern ? (Plus they are not known as "OO Patterns" but "Design Patterns" universally.
    UML ? Really.

  14. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    Did I say oo patterns? don't thonk so.
    Can't say I teach to all but to some. I introduce year 11's to User cases when writing requirements and planning, scenarios in yr 12/13 as part of IB. t encapsilation, polymorhism and inheritence to 12/13. Importance of low coupling and high cohesion. Usually MVC pattern but any that are relevant.

    My point is that not all can access this but as I have understanding of the subject I can provide this challenge to those that would benefit from it.

    I teach in a grammar school
  15. Fine, but I thought KS3 started in Year 7.
  16. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    We have kids in yr 7 and 8 that are quite advanced, of course this is not every kid but it is good to have a teacher that can extend those students in and out of class.
  17. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    For me, UML and the like are fine for A level or other specific courses, but we're in danger of getting businessy and vocational again, and when students find it hard, we'll be back to PowerPoint again.
    The concepts taught need to be generalised and transferrable. For example, I teach a KS3 three girl who isn't really interested in ICT. We were doing some control work and talking about algorithms, and I asked her to describe how to sort things. I then described a bubble sort, and asked her what she thought - she could see straight away that it was inefficient, especially if the numbers were in reverse order.
    She was so intrigued by the idea that you have to be very specific when you program something that she started to ask loads of questions about how computers could "learn", and I described game trees to her. Again, she was fascinated.
    Sorting algorithms and game trees are the sorts of things that are taught on computing courses, but they are actually quite accessible to younger students, and aren't that difficult to teach. Similarly, I suspect that some "decision maths" ideas, like shortest circuits and routing, could be introduced at KS3. Thinking about algorithms, critical paths and efficiency are really just organisational skills that could be applied to anything.
    These are the sorts of things that I see as being part of a new computing curriculum for schools, rather than very specific programming techniques or methods for modelling business transactions.
  18. Higher level thinking skills AREN'T necessarily innate - they can be encouraged, nurtured, developed given the right learning experiences, I agree! And creative approaches support that.... though yes, we will always need those concrete norms/skills/baseline understanding as foundations to build on - artists/philosophers/scientists/mathematicians can be more creative in their approaches if they know some of the "rules" or principles in their field to start off with.... and no, computing/IT/digital literacy aren't different in that - but by focusing on thinking/problem solving/transferrable skills, don't we then take the learning to a much more valuable level? SO it's not really an either/or (or not/and!) situation - more a case of deciding the balance and emphasis - and empowering those who are more comfortable sticking with fact learning to encourage greater creativity with their learners?
  19. Really exciting thoughts Jan. I also love and agree with the idea that decision maths, efficency and generalising a problem can grab attention at KS3. Anyone interested in just how fast KS3 students can be at applying Computer Science concepts with little formal instruction could try some student team work via lightbot/lightbot 2. A 20yo Comp Science student "Coolio Niato" (great name) has made a very neat computing puzzle game, nearly every student/team seems to really enjoy beating these puzzles. The level of inter team questions and discussion can sometimes be inspirational...

  20. It's absolutely fabulous to hear that! And I have known lower KS2 students who, when I have just shown them Scratch and said "I know it can do ...... but we need to figure out how to do it......", have figured out how to programme the the sprites themselves (often to do things more complex than I would ever have anticipated that they were capable of) - a bit of encouragement and support, not putting "glass ceilings" on what learners are able to achieve, and open ended learning opportunities can give our learners wings!

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