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Death by Scratch

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by RickRubin, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. I just had to join up when I saw the Scratch threads...

    I'm getting worried the more I see Computing take over. I support that. But so many teachers / schools are in danger of going from Death By PowerPoint to Death By Scratch. And that sounds like some sort of contagious disease.

    I see some schools have work schemes that include Scratch in every year, and that on top of kids doing it in primary school. I've taught Scratch and the initial enthusiasm of the classes is not maintained by the majority of students. It's fine for your usual club-attending-nerds but really, how far can we take it with mixed ability groups?

    Computing is a great subject and the theory should be taught in a variety of ways. Avoid Death By Scratch!!
  2. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    You're right - we don't want to overdo it, but at the same time you can't get good at anything without practising it.

    I also think that we need to be more focussed and prescriptive, like proper subjects, instead of the old "just let them get on with it" project-based ICT approach of old.

    Scratch will be popular, though, because of the requirement in the new National Curriculum to learn two languages - it's an easy second choice that won't lead to students getting confused between two sets of syntax.
  3. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    It also depends upon how its used. Are they learning to follow instruction or to program?
  4. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    I think that's another argument in favour of the lots-of-short-tasks approach. If you do a long, game-style projects, you're only writing one program, and repetition is the key to learning.

    In Maths, there's a big debate about whether you're teaching it so that students understand it, or just so that they can do it. I used to think, "Well, they need to understand it, obviously!", but in the last year or so I've come around to the view that, actually, students need to be able to do it, and they'll come to understand it in their own time.

    My thinking is, therefore, that if you do enough examples then some of it will sink in. Doing the opposite certainly hasn't worked for ICT - I've said before that I've met students with Distinctions in DiDA who can't add two numbers together in spreadsheet.

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