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Final Year Dissertation - help required please

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by mandyscullion, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. Hi all,
    I am currently undertaking my Final Year Project @ Bournemouth University, some of you may have completed my questionnaire that I posted on here a few weeks ago regarding the current A Level in ICT.
    I would like to gain a better understanding of what you all think about the proposed plans for the new A Level specification that has been proposed by Gove. Are there any government planned training courses for ICT teachers? Are your schools planning to help retrain teachers? What do you think about teaching a specialist subject such as Computer Science? Do you think you'll be able to deliver a more technical course? Do you think a more computer science course will benefit students more than the current A Level courses? Is it unfair to ask pupils who are not particularly good at Maths to undertake such a technical subject?
    Any thoughts or information you have would be very much appreciated!
    Please note: Any information or comments given may be used as part of my final report, although no names will be used, everything will remain anonymous.
    Thank you in advance for helping me!
  2. SageDerby

    SageDerby New commenter

    Wasn't aware that Gove was proposing a new A-level spec.
    No problem - I've been teaching it for 30 years. Your post reads as if you are not aware that Computing/Computer Science A-level has been around since the late 1970s, pre-dating A-level ICT/IT by some 20 years.
    As I have already written Computing is a CURRENT A-level!!!! We insist that students have at least a C in GCSE Maths to take it, though I would like to make it a B.

  3. Thanks for your comments, you have made a few things much clearer! What I had read about the proposed changes, I had made an assumption that they included A Level, my mistake.
    Thankfully my research is not dependant on the curriculum changes, I was simply going to mention what had been said by Gove in my report and I was looking to get a few thoughts from teachers regarding their feelings on ICT changes, as I know there is a lot of divided opinions out there.
    I haven't been able to find any solid material on the new changes, I'm presuming that is because nothing has been decided upon as of yet? Do either of you know when they will be producing something concrete?
    One thing that does bother me though, and this is why I chose to look at ICT A Level for my project is that many schools do not offer Computing/Computer Science at A Level, so pupils wanting to do a degree in Computing have to sit through 2 years of pointless ICT lessons that are not helping prepare them for undertaking a degree in a Computing related subject, all because the University entry requirements, require them to have at least ICT A Level.
    If ICT is preparing students for a more business related course at Univeristy, then why is Computer Science/Computing not offered at every school? Surely every pupil should be given the same chance to succeed? And if schools don't have specialised teachers to teach Computing then why is the government not doing more to help? Why are pupils being the ones to suffer because the government can't sort itself out?
    As you can tell this is an area that I am passionate about, purely because I was made sit through 2 years of disgustingly boring ICT lessons, only to find out that everything I had done was of absolutely no benefit to me at University, unlike some of my peers who went to College and undertaken B TEC qualifications had already the basic fundamentals in programming, networking etc..I think that all schools should offer the same subjects to all pupils, its not fair that some are being let down by the education system.
  4. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    Not aware there is any change planned for the near future / No
    You don't have to do ICT to do a computing degree, there is no requirement from any Uni for this to be the case, you would be better off with maths anyway.
    Computing is not offered because not enough people can teach it. Offering it to all is foolish, unless you have kids who are predisposed and have done some coding in their own time, then a lot of kids drop out or can't do it. Because it is in the main boring to those who have not already discovered that they enjoy it. And because it is boring ;) It's not a goverment issue in the slightest. Pupils who take the subject and the school who have let them do it without vetting them first are the ones who suffer. Most kids will not thank you for exposing them to coding anyway, lots of people on here has vested interests or an enjoyment of the subject, that is not the case for the vast majority. As I said it's boring, a little bit of code enables little to happen on the screen, that's why kids are bored by it in the majority.
    Glad you enjoyed the subject, but don't think your views will be universally held. I tried it, it's boring, but of course I am envious of those who do enjoy it, they have better logical skills than me, but they are also more boring ;)
    Did I mention it's boring?
  5. Ha..I'm getting the slight impression that think programming is boring? I did
    find it boring in my first 2 years at uni (purely because I felt stupid for not being able to grasp it) until I went out on my placement
    year and actually saw it being put into practice, then suddenly it all
    made sense and now I enjoy it.
    Don't get me wrong I know it is
    not for everyone, but I think pupils should be given the chance to at
    least try it and make up their own mind, instead of being thrown in at
    the deep end at University where they drop out during their first year and have just
    wasted thousands on a degree that they weren't cut out for...but if they
    had of been exposed to some coding (and i'm talking basic coding here)
    then they would be able to make a more informed decision about their
    future. Not everyone is cut out for Maths or good at English, but they
    don't have a choice at school, it should be the same, in my opinion, for
    Computing (not ICT).
    I don't fully agree that pupils would find it boring or be opposed to trying it, as part of my research I conducted a survey of 1st year pupils at University and all of them said they would have liked to have done some sort of development at School level instead of what they did do (they all undertook A Level and GCSE ICT).
    Pupils live on their iPhones/Blackberries and are obsessed with Facebook/Twitter, so why not show them that programming can be fun, teach them to build basic websites, build mobile apps, build games...I know I would have much more preferred that, than creating 100+ page reports, filled with nothing but screenshots, that is not teaching anything to the student...and it cannot be remotely interesting for the teacher either!
    If ICT teachers don't want to learn programming then surely they would be better suited teaching another subject? That is a controversial statement, I know, but I can't imagine why anyone would want to teach ICT, whether they have a passion for IT or not, frankly because it is so dull. I know I have a tainted view of ICT and because I found it dull I imagine that teachers will too, but I would quite like to hear some reasonings for actually wanting to teach ICT as it currently stands, because I can't imagine it to be mentally stimulating or rewarding for the teacher.
  6. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    Phones/social networking does not equal programming, building websites is not programming, building mobile apps is bloody difficult and way beyond most kids at KS3/4, even google app inventor needs a lot of tweaking as I currently here to stop the thing crashing, building games - now we do that scratch, gamemaker you now that sort of thing. Now I work in an all boys grammar - the sort of place that computing should be intrinsic, they like scratch, 1/3 of them like gamemaker, less than 1/10 enjoyed the VB we did to make Powerpoint self marking quiz. Sure there is 5-10% of the kids that would get into it, but my priority is the 90-95% who, guess what, find it boring. Sure chuck a whole world of tools at them early doors in KS3 via your vle for programming, I have year 7 kids (only 2 or 3) who are building apps with stencylworks for example, but they do it in their own time, and that's where it should remain, unless you hand pick kids to take a course at KS4. The majority are interested in and more importantly can handle ICT.

    Erm I don't want to learn it because it bores me and because it IS another subject, I teach ICT because I am suited to teaching ICT, I don't teach computing because I am not suited to it. Just because you can program does not make you a teacher of ICT.
  7. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    Of course they would have said that, they opted to doing a computing degree, that's got to be less than 1% of the number in their age group that left school last year, what would the other 99% have said to that question?
  8. Mandy
    I'm not going to say much but I hope you have looked here: http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/
    You might find more of what you are looking for.

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