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ICT in need of reform?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by turgid100, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. In the news today: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15923113
    Radio 4 yesterday: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b017lt4z/Today_28_11_2011/ (at around 52 minutes)
    It looks like the pace is gathering to kick GCSE ICT into touch. I guess any
    ICT teacher who can't program needs to start looking for an alternative
    career. Can't say I'm sad, though. ICT has been a bit rubbish for a long time now, not helped but exam boards' attitude to coursework (why is their excuse always 'OFQUAL said we had to do it this way'?)My guess is that KS3 ICT will stay, KS4 ICT will go, to be replaced with Computer Studies. Am I wrong, or is this where it was about 15 years ago?

  2. In the news today: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15923113
    Radio 4 yesterday: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b017lt4z/Today_28_11_2011/ (at around 52 minutes)
    It looks like the pace is gathering to kick GCSE ICT into touch. I guess any
    ICT teacher who can't program needs to start looking for an alternative
    career. Can't say I'm sad, though. ICT has been a bit rubbish for a long time now, not helped but exam boards' attitude to coursework (why is their excuse always 'OFQUAL said we had to do it this way'?)My guess is that KS3 ICT will stay, KS4 ICT will go, to be replaced with Computer Studies. Am I wrong, or is this where it was about 15 years ago?

  3. I think you are probably correct. From what I have read it looks as if the GCSE and A Level courses will probably be reformed to include a large degree of Computing

    I've had a very frank conversation with our SLT and explained that the days of ICT giving 2-4 grade C and above passes to GCSE students has passed. I've suggested we start to include Computing in our curriculum as of September, to avoid any shock to the system.
    I've had tacit agreement but will have to see if I have willing and able students before I begin. To be honest, if the pendulum does swing the other way and we see ICT drastically reformed, I won't be sad. I've seen outstanding Excel work from students in Maths, PowerPoints produced in History and beautifully laid out Publisher documents in English. I would be quite happy to spend the rest of my career teaching a little programming, logic and databases.
  4. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    My only worry is that I've seen plenty of bad ones, too.
    I must admit, I wouldn't. ICT and Computing is a broad subject - as much as the current ICT curriculum is a small corner of the overall discipline, so is programming. Even in ICT right now so much of the software goes underutilised (even PowerPoint has enormous power beyond presentations).
    We need them together so students actually start to explore what the software we have is capable of - for every adventurous student there's a dozen or more who play safe with the tools they're given. Above all, we need kids with transferrable skills, which is what we can get from bringing the two sides together.
  5. tonyuk

    tonyuk Occasional commenter

    would argue that there is a place for both programming and office software/multimedia. Not sure about ICT teachers that can not programme should be looking for a job but as the take up of programming will be small by very few students (as it always has been) then I think we can say we may be down to departments with one specialist!
  6. I think you've got it the wrong way round. KS3 and KS4 ICT will most certainly go as a statutory compulsory subject in the NC.
    However, I strongly feel there will continue to be a thriving uptake on a range of different Level 2 courses - OCR Nationals, the new revamped DIDA that will be relaunched in January, iMedia, GCSE ICT and GCSE Computing, etc
    But certainly the current is with GCSE, so you will be seeing more GCSE ICT and GCSE Computing in schools. Forget some of the idiots on this forum - there is NOT a Computing take over going on (where is the evidence? OCR's Computing GCSE pilot schools? Really?)
  7. Hi
    I experienced something interesting the other day. I teach music, ICT and EFL as specialist teacher at a small school in Switzerland (i.e. I have no class of my own). I had to cover for a sick collegue and her class have 1/2 hour homework period just before lunch. One of her pupils had a list of French vocab and suddenly 'flipped out' shouting "I'll never learn this!!!" and threw his list in the air. He happens to be in my ICT group once a week, so I said to him "Look for a freeware called 'Hot-Potatoes' which makes webquizzes and program your list into it. Try out your quiz a few times and you'll know your list by heart". Needless to say, he did that and knew the list when his French teacher tested him. He was as proud as hell.
    Now isn't this just what IT is all about? He's now modfifying the HTML in my class to change the look of his quizzes and is totally motivated.
    I'm lucky that I have the freedom to do this sort of thing. I gather that this sort of freedom is also the reason that Finnish schools always come top of the PISA list.
  8. I agree completely with this. I am all for more computing/programming in the subject, but it is idiotic to think we can just get rid of ICT. We cover graphic design, web design, web authoring (HTML/CSS/etc), designing for audience, movie making, data structuring (using databases), manipulation of data (using spreadsheets), finding, refining and organising data (searching the web), sound editing, e-safety, efficient use of ICT, presenting information (using powerpoint), gamer design, programming, animation, being organised using ICT (folders, email, task list apps, etc) and more. If we get rid of ICT, who is going to teach all that stuff? The answer is no-one. Other subjects won't teach it, or at least teach it properly.

    If you are stuck teaching Office skills then that is your fault. The NC doesn't specify Office - it talks about skills, competencies and abilities. You can teach those skills and competencies in a wide variety of ways. It is the teacher's fault if Office is all that is being taught.

    Another flaw with the "Office is evil" attitude is that Office is a good medium to teach skills. We get kids creating presentations in PowerPoint not to teach PowerPoint but to teach how to present information effectively. If we decided to use new software then the entire time would be spent on the new software and not on the transferable skills of how to present information effectively.

    It isn't hard to make a relevant, engaging, challenging and exciting ICT curriculum.
  9. I have long been a proponent of Computing in the curriculum - that's problem solving, computational thinking, coding, looking at hardware, learning about HTML and CSS as the structure of web pages, etc.

    Of course this shouldn't replace all of the stuff that is done now, and most of my Y7s don't understand basic things like how to use folders to organise work, the difference between Save and Save As... and why saving pictures by copying and pasting into Word is a truly awful idea. So there is clearly a need to teach basic skills.

    In addition to that, I love teaching the creative stuff - image editing. video editing, audio editing, design, layout...

    The problem is that the basic skills / Office Studies curriculum has been in place for years, much of the creative stuff has been pushing forward for the last 5 or 6 years at least but the Computing stuff has been largely ignored. For that reason, the Computing stuff needs a push. Kids are not exposed to Computing at all in the vast majority of schools and that is an awful statement to make.

    One big proviso regarding that though - look at the spec of ANY KS4 ICT qualification. If you don't put lots of Office in at KS3 then you're making a rod for your own back once you reach the results driven KS4 and KS5. If we can improve the curriculum at KS3 then this puts pressure to at least improve the KS4 and 5 qualifications - and then we're making progress.
  10. This is my own on-going argument with management:
    Me: "Students are bored stupid by GCSE and ICT. They learn practically nothing new in the practical and the theory does not interest them."
    Them: "But you get good grades. We would be crazy to drop a subject that keeps students in-school."
    Me: "But they hate ICT."
    Them: "The numbers suggest otherwise. If they hate it, why are they doing it?"
    Me: "Compare my grades to Mrs Jones" (the other ICT teacher). "Compare uptake in the years when they know they will get me, to the years they will get her. I don't want to boast, but they might be coming for the sake of having me as a teacher."
    Them: "What are you doing that attracts them?"
    Me: "Largely ignoring the spec as much as possible; teaching stuff they and I enjoy so they can say I PROGRAMMED on their UCAS application for COMPUTING which is what they want to do; going beyond the spec when I do need to look at it; cramming like hell for a month before the exam."
    Them: "So students go to your class, because they enjoy what you teach. You have a track record of getting good grades out of weak students and extending the better ones. You have a strategy to overcome weak content in the spec and this boosts numbers. We really do not see a problem here."
    Me: "Students want Computing, Unis want Computing; parents want Computing. Please name one student whose place in Uni in the past decade has depended on a qualification called 'ICT'"
    Them: "Go away and stop bothering us, while we plan a way to introduce GCSE shoe-lace tying to boost the grades."

  11. I don't see why ICT teachers who can't program should start looking for another career - as long as you have the inclination and enthusiasm why not learn to program? There are plenty of amazing resources out there to enable this. Start by joining the brilliant Computing at Schools Group, http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/, who organise lots of events to help teachers get into programming.
    I would also highly recommend http://www.teachingkidsprogramming.org/ for teachers who would like an introduction into computing and ideas of how to approach teaching it. This is a not for profit organisation run by a couple of enthusiastic Programmers from America - they came into our school and did a workshop during half term and it was amazing. All the videos for how to teach are on their site.
    I come from a computing background and did not have some of the advanced office and flash skills that I now do when I first came into teaching. ICT is a subject that is constantly evolving and picking up new skills along the way is par for the course if you want to teach effectively.
  12. Well I'm guessing that at least 2 of the above contributors are Mymouse.

    Add to that, the usual delusional CS bores who teach a subject that is numerically almost non-existent and you have the usual pointless anti-ICT piffle that you find in these silly threads.

    The arrogance that accompanies these 'contributions', 'I'm better than everyone else because I can programme' is risible.

    Get over it guys; business doesn't care, the World doesn't care and most importantly, your Head doesn't and he ain't going to, no matter what you tell yourselves.

    This must be the 105th pointless, time-wasting thread on this dull, ICT-teacher-hating topic and look, here we are, no-one teaches ICT any more and schools all across the country are adding Computer Studies, not.

    J. Brown.

    BSc Computer Science (and not up his own **** about it).
  13. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    It's not that Office, Media, Control etc. or anything else is evil, just that it is often done appallingly.

  14. colwynexile

    colwynexile Occasional commenter

    I did not know this!
    So he's REALLY CALLED 50 Jamaican Cents!
    Therefore in reality, according to current exchange rates he's really only half a cent US, not 50Cents US that everyone thinks he is.
    This will improve my street cred with the kids (LOL, LMAO, SOS, SWALK, yo mama etc)
    Oh, and a mention to the mods on the forum;
    1. What happened to the Edexcel Unit 7 exam thread - I put it up the Thurs, leave for a weekend, only to find vanished today.
    2. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, for the love of GOD!!!! Can we have a seperate Computing Studies forum? This will mean that all these 'specialist' teachers can then insult the rest of us 'luddites' behind our back without having our faces rubbed in it. I didn't do Computer Science in the 80's - I came from a family that couldn't afford a PC. I did other stuff! I came into teaching! I'm learning all this stuff now, in my own time, to boost myself. I don't need to be looked down on as a second class teacher - My SLT, Ofsted, and more importantly my kids don't think I am and at the end of the day that's all that really counts
  15. Actually you can put fibre optics down to us too. Charles Kao in the then STC labs over in Harlow back in the 60s.
  16. The problem that there is is that employers need to see that students are ICT competent. We are not pandering to the skills recently stated by Microsoft and Google. These companies want technical people, but this is for those students who want to follow that path and therefore there should be a computing and/or Computer Science option for them. Of the vast number of students that i have taught over the years there have been very few that are really capable users of Excel or Access which are mainrequirements in an office environment. Moreover, many will be ashamed to say that a lot of students cannot use Word correctly either. As such, there will still be a need for an ICT type exam. I am currently doing Functional skills with our year 10's, our year 11's were hopeless (see my comment earlier), and this would be a good way to show employers ICT competence over a small range of office applications. However, i would say that there was a need for more database use scenarios in this course. There is a question as to whether schools can adopt this course in KS3, but from my current experience some schools will need a suitable and full three year KS3 rather than do KS4 starting in year 9.
    Additionally, there is a real need in industry for Information Systems type people who are able to do the reasearch and analysis required when undertaking projects and who can liaise with systems developers. These people themselves do not necessarily have to be fully fledged programmers buut are aware of what is needed. The ICT GCSE and subsequent A levels will provide a grounding for this that a computer science qualification may not.
  17. Just noticed the comments about Office Software and Fitness for purpose and design: how many people get this wrong, badly wrong. I am not talking necessarily about students but staff!!!
    Anyway, as people have mentioned if you do not include office in KS3 then you will get poor results at KS4. You need to have a good well planned and executed KS3 SOW and engaging teachers who make teaching fun. Your/our job is to engage students and make them competent users of these technologies and to know about them and how they integrate into society. as one commentator has stated, you can use other software to get students to cover these topics. I have seen ICT used by other subject areas and to be honest it is dreadful. An understanding of design concepts there is not and as for eSafety is is severely lacking.

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