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e-petition to force programming into schools

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by ZaphodFJ, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. Complete the petition, here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/15081
    It says:

    <h1>Teach our kids to code</h1>


    Responsible department: Department for Education



    Start teaching coding as a part of the
    curriculum in Yr 5. If it can be introduced as a part of the central
    curriculum in Year 5, then by the time those kids are drawn up through
    the education system, there would be far less of a disparity between the
    sexes &ndash; and maybe even an increased number of young people with an
    ability to manipulate open data, relate to code and challenge each other
    to design and build the digital products that we have not even begun to
    imagine. Year 8 is too late, we are losing the female coders and we
    need this generation to help us code a better country.




     
  2. Complete the petition, here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/15081
    It says:

    <h1>Teach our kids to code</h1>


    Responsible department: Department for Education



    Start teaching coding as a part of the
    curriculum in Yr 5. If it can be introduced as a part of the central
    curriculum in Year 5, then by the time those kids are drawn up through
    the education system, there would be far less of a disparity between the
    sexes &ndash; and maybe even an increased number of young people with an
    ability to manipulate open data, relate to code and challenge each other
    to design and build the digital products that we have not even begun to
    imagine. Year 8 is too late, we are losing the female coders and we
    need this generation to help us code a better country.




     
  3. Who do you think is going to have the aptitude to teach this in year 5, out of interest?
     
  4. JM6699

    JM6699 New commenter

    ...or at most secondary schools.
     
  5. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    The problem is that anyone can get on a ict pgce, lets just call it office practice.
     
  6. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    Fine by me if you want to call it office practice, as 10 times as many kids in my classes are likely to use the office suite regularly during their careers rather than decide to embark on a career tinkering with java, C etc...
     
  7. If we're going to call it Office practice we could at least teach them how to do it properly.

     
  8. Deary me Auti; now you're floundering - a silly statement like this is all you can manage?
    Like djp, I would rather teach skills to kids knowing that they will use them every day rather than programming skills which they will only use if they move to India or which ever other 3rd World dumping ground such Work will be done in.
     
  9. I think we're at risk of putting training before education. I've lost track of how many times I've made the argument that I've never needed to summarise the rise of the Third Reich, explain the fundamentals of coastal erosion, actually speak German, prove that plants contain chlorophyl or any number of other things.


    I have needed to understand the things I'm reading, appreciate the difference between evidence and proof, make myself clearly understood to others and solve problems. I'll admit I'm biased, but programming is actually a very useful skill beyond the direct applications in terms of being a code monkey.
     
  10. If teachers are taught properly,they can do it. Until a generation ago, Trigonometry was standard in Primary schools and the kidscould do it because nobody told them it was difficult.
    If the teachers feel they cannot do it, there's no reason why (in PS) the curriculum cannot be compressed for a few days and specialists come in. This happens with RE and music sometimes, among others.
    At secondary level, get rid of the appalling MS Office GCSEs. The ICT teachers might like to teach something of substance.
     
  11. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    As much as I'd like to see some more programming on the curriculum, it's not something I'd put my name to.
    Programming is a specialist and somewhat niche skill - there are many schools (I work in one...) where the majority of the students just wouldn't be able to cope with the demands of programming and that's because typing skills or even English are enough of a challenge for them.
    Too many students tap Caps Lock on and off at the start of the sentence - has no one introduced them to the shift key? Some kids tap away with a single finger - what about typing skills? There are too many students that lack in the basic competencies before we even hit programming.
    And as much as I'd love to break out of the MS Office trap, it's what most people need. Spreadsheets and letters are useful to nearly everyone, and while more creative tasks do offer useful learning skills (research, planning and testing), our students' use of computers is much more prosaic.
    I think we do hide coding too much. But equally, it's a skill that's only suitable for certain schools.
     
  12. ..... where the majority of the students just wouldn't be able to cope with the demands of programming.
    Programming is all about problem solving and is a great tool for helping to develop kids' logical thinking. Some kids would get little out it. Most would given half a chance - I've seen it. At a basic, intro level, even primary school kids can cope with Scratch. I have seen really good work from low ability secondary school pupils and Scratch but anyone above low ability can also produce excellent stuff. Move on to Alice, GameMaker, Greenfoot and Google mobile apps and you can capture and engage them. Throw in Kinect programming with Greenfoot and you have them all hooked - my lot certainly were after playing about with their Kinect programs today.
    The problem is not the pupils. Surprise surprise but it is the army of ICT teachers who don't understand OO and certainly can't teach it. They are limited to office skills and OCR National certificates, mainly to hide their own weaknesses. If I'm more generous, there is little support or training available to ICT teachers, but we have always been expected to teach ourselves new skills and if we can't, we shouldn't be in Computing.
    There are enough teachers who can program and I think there is enough at the moment who are making a real effort to promote computing in schools (despite the office and nationals teachers best efforts to keep the subject as dumbed down as possible).
     
  13. Agree 100%. If we reduce the curriculum solely to things that are going to be of direct use to the majority, then virtually all of English and Maths goes for a start.

     
  14. Doesn't this apply to virtually the entire curriculum ? When I was a rookie I had everyone doing stuff in BBC BASIC - components, sort of, modification, adding in simple things, by no means building whole programs but they got the basic idea. Must be easier these days with component type programming (as you do for Windows Forms in John's beloved VB6 !)
    The problem is the comparability of the output if anything. A "game" produced from these things is quite primitive compared to an XBOX. (OTOH, they seem to like simple flash games)

     
  15. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    I'd certainly love to give some of it a crack at some point - I've toyed with scratch, but due to technical constraints never been able to use it with a class. Even in my current school I've got one or two G&T kids into simple ActionScript in OCR Nationals unit 4.
    When I look at the classes I deal with, there are too many that get bored of nearly anything if they do it for more than one lesson (with the possible exception of PowerPoint, but moving on...), and even me trying to get PowerPoint games design on to the curriculum was shot down in the face of training the students for OCR Nationals (Elements of which I do quite like).
    Eventually I would like to try Scratch as the "low risk" option - I'm a pessimist on most things, hence my reticence with what I have to work with. But I must admit I'm more of a hardware geek than a code monkey, too [​IMG] .

     
  16. This thread should be on the Computing forum.
    Code and programming is not ICT, never has been, never will be.
     
  17. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    If only the two could be so neatly divorced, eh? Can't we all just be friends?
    (or a little inter-discipline tolerance?)
     
  18. Except of course, when it is:
    http://www.ocr.org.uk/download/units/ocr_14972_unit_nationals_16.pdf
    http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/gce/ict/app_ict_noticeboard.php?id=04&prev=04
    and so on.....

     
  19. OCR/RSA qualifications would at least manage to teach office applications in depth, which most ICT GCSEs do not.
    C/Java would teach analytical thinking skils, which most ICT GCSEs do not. Nomatter what you do for a living, the ability to think through a solution to a complex problem is important.
    There are great teachers who go beyond the spec and add to their students' experience. However, Saying GCSE ICT delivers appropriate skills in depth is like saying painting-by-numbers is worth an A* in an Art GCSE.
     

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