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Databases - what is the most challenging aspect of teaching them?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by gupster85, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. gupster85

    gupster85 New commenter

    Hi, I'm a PGCE student who is currently researching the difficulty of teaching databases at secondary school but particularly at A Level.

    I would appreciate some feedback regarding what you think the most challenging or problematic areas of teaching databases at A Level are and why?

    Much obliged!!!
     
  2. gupster85

    gupster85 New commenter

    Hi, I'm a PGCE student who is currently researching the difficulty of teaching databases at secondary school but particularly at A Level.

    I would appreciate some feedback regarding what you think the most challenging or problematic areas of teaching databases at A Level are and why?

    Much obliged!!!
     
  3. Normalisation from my experience. Because it's hard to put into a familiar context. Oh, and younger students find the word 'query' challenging. Apparently it sounds hilarious.
     
  4. I agree, normalisation. Never had that reaction to 'query' though!
     
  5. I bought that normalisation booklet.
    Imho, it was poorly written, dull and useless ****.
    Depends what you like, I suppose.
     
  6. Xericist

    Xericist New commenter

    Like everything else, it's how, rather than what you teach. Having struggled for years to make them more appealing I shifted away from dull stuff like stock control and went for topics like DVD or Games rentals (they all do this now so they can relate easily to what you are doing. Music is another one that works well. All three have enough different data types to make it meaningful, and you can grab/maintain attention by using images on data entry forms.
     
  7. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    Some advice for you all. There's plenty of books out there about how people with fantastic memories achieve world record memory feats. It's done by creating fantastic visions of memorable journeys that contain outlandish scenarios that make there "memories" easier to recall. The bottom line is that the triggers work if the scenes are far fetched and this works incredibly well with building databases. If you want to do games hiring then be my guest, but it's dull, but teachers hiring a range of gorish devices to mutilate their students with work so much better. The more incredible the scenario the more interesting it is for the kids. After all every dbase project is pretty much going to be "someone" hiring "something", and with the scenario I outlined above you can easily go many multi table if you want to record which teacher attacked which kid too. Other ideas are easy enough to come up with if you can think "leftfield"
     
  8. Yup.
    Drug and Gun supplies and Escort Agency for me every time.
    Should I put my 'Igor's Escorts' worksheets in the resources section?
     
  9. Please do! I've got staff training coming up and it would be a welcome change .....
     
  10. Normalisation.
    I know a lot have already said it and just thought I'd agree. People think in "batches" of data rather than in "structures" of data so it is very hard to get across both the why and the how of normalisation.
     
  11. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    I find it strange that people try to avoid teaching databases. For me, they are the fundamental thing in ICT - most students use them every day, be it their mobile phone address book, Wikipedia or Facebook.
    When it comes to normalisation, I think that most moderately-able students can see that you use entities/tables to represent things - e.g. in a library database, there are tables for people and books - but they struggle more with the tables that are relationships rather than physical objects - e.g. the loan or accession table.
     

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