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ICT out, Computing in - Call to arms!

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by sydbarrett, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Ok, so the times are a changing. Hopefully, this will be a very positive step for our subject. Gove has actually said if we manage the transition from ICT to Computer Science well will be included in the E-Bacc. Our stock is on the rise but only if we rise to the challenge.
    ICT as we know is on the way out, from September we have freedom to craft a subject that will engage kids as well as being useful for them.
    It does raise a number of questions/discussion points as subject leaders.
    I know consultation is yet to begin but we need to grab this oppurtunity and run with it.
    1) Timescale - is anybody planning a complete overhaul for September, or a more long term staged implementation?
    2) Which aspects of the current ICT curriculum will you be keeping and which aspects will you be dumping.
    3) Which aspects of computing will you be bring in in? And in which years?
    4) Are there any Computing courses out there already which you think could slot in nicely?
    5) Raspberry Pi - thoughts?
    6) Training. Not all staff will have the skills required. Any suggestions on solving this? Do we think the government will help us at all on that?
    7) Consistency. If everyone goes off and does their own thing (especially without subject advisor meetings) how will maintain consistency?
    Lots of questions I know but I am eager to get a discussion going on this.
    We got a bit of kicking yesterday, "ICT lessons are boring" etc, but now we have the freedom we can fight back and prove we are the most important subject. We just need to make sure we do it correctly.
     
  2. Ok, so the times are a changing. Hopefully, this will be a very positive step for our subject. Gove has actually said if we manage the transition from ICT to Computer Science well will be included in the E-Bacc. Our stock is on the rise but only if we rise to the challenge.
    ICT as we know is on the way out, from September we have freedom to craft a subject that will engage kids as well as being useful for them.
    It does raise a number of questions/discussion points as subject leaders.
    I know consultation is yet to begin but we need to grab this oppurtunity and run with it.
    1) Timescale - is anybody planning a complete overhaul for September, or a more long term staged implementation?
    2) Which aspects of the current ICT curriculum will you be keeping and which aspects will you be dumping.
    3) Which aspects of computing will you be bring in in? And in which years?
    4) Are there any Computing courses out there already which you think could slot in nicely?
    5) Raspberry Pi - thoughts?
    6) Training. Not all staff will have the skills required. Any suggestions on solving this? Do we think the government will help us at all on that?
    7) Consistency. If everyone goes off and does their own thing (especially without subject advisor meetings) how will maintain consistency?
    Lots of questions I know but I am eager to get a discussion going on this.
    We got a bit of kicking yesterday, "ICT lessons are boring" etc, but now we have the freedom we can fight back and prove we are the most important subject. We just need to make sure we do it correctly.
     
  3. 1. We've been teaching Computing via HTML and CSS in Y8, Scratch, Alice, Gamemaker and Lightbot throughout KS3, Database concepts throughout KS3 (including a little MySQL thanks to SQLZoo), etc, etc. for a good while. We'll continue revamping units, shifting foci and generally adapting our KS3 as we always have.

    Equally, we've been offering GCSE Computing for 2 years and A Level Computing for longer than I've been here.


    2 & 3. See above.


    4. OCR GCSE Computing, OCR GCSE ICT with the Coding module instead of multimedia, AQA and WJEC A Level Computing, OCR Nationals has (I believe) some coding units, OCR iMedia has both game design and game creation units.


    5. Will be buying one for each member of my staff, a couple as prizes for an in-house programming competition and potentially one each for my GCSE/A Level Computing students (depends on numbers and budget). I like that kids will be able to carry them around, swap their entire OS at the swap of an SD card and that it's a nice little incentive. I'm not about to announce that it'll revolutionise Computing or ICT by itself, but I think it's a useful tool and the timing makes it clear that this isn't just an out-of-the-blue flash in the pan.


    6. I mentioned this elsewhere - CAS has been running online TeachShares once a month that you can watch (there is an archive of them somewhere though I don't have the link to hand) and they ran a GreenFoot 3 day sumer school in August that was excellent. The CAS Hubs are also offering a support network. More is good, but there is some stuff out there already.


    7. A fair concern, although I'd rather have uneven peaks that a universal plain.



    My really big drum to beat is that this isn't about ICT vs Computing, it's about educational opportunities under the 'faculty' of IT - Practical skills / digital literacy, creative use of ICT and Computer Studies / Computer Science. Not every pupil is about to suddenly become a programmer, but there's been a big gap for too long. This is an opportunity to make sure that all schools from KS1 to KS3 expose students to Computing (as well as digital literacy and creative ICT) and to make sure that all schools at KS4 are able to offer suitable opportunities for students who want to take Computing further. There are some obstacles to overcome, but having thought about it for 24 hours this is (once you get past the media soundbites and rhetoric) a Very Good Thing.
     
  4. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    1) Timescale - is anybody planning a complete overhaul for September, or a more long term staged implementation?
    Yes, big overhaul from September. KS3 will be much changed, I'm still working on what exactly it will cover but it will certainly have a number of progrmaming elements. Another change will be on understand how things work rather than just making them work - so for instance in a web creation module, rather than analysing user needs, designing the site on paper, etc, then making in Dreamweaver we may instead spend that time looking at the HTML code, doing some basic creation in Notepad before moving onto Dreamweaver. I can also see some introduction of javascript or even server side scripting at a basic level - that in itslef will necessitate covering why a web server is needed, etc. The challenge will be what NOT to include in the limited time!
    At KS4, I think things will progress much slower. We already have one group doing GCSE Computing, I suspect this may expand to 2 or even 3 in September, but the majority will still be doing an ICT based course. We'll have to see what the exam boards come up with.
    2) Which aspects of the current ICT curriculum will you be keeping and which aspects will you be dumping.
    As much as Mr Gove rubbished them, I'll certainly still be keeping the coverage of spreadsheets and databases, computing without databases in particular is unthinkable. I'll be dropping as much of the system lifecycle paper work as I can, anything to do with Powerpoint (except maybe a Multimedia unit on creating something more complex) and certainly anything that starts off "make a poster of..."
    3) Which aspects of computing will you be bring in in? And in which years?
    Toughy - as I said before, the question is what to leave out - I think programming in some form is the main thing to introduce. We do this already (in a fashion) using Scratch but the challenege will be to move the department from thinking of this as a nice fluflfy animation tool to actually using the variables, loops, etc that are in there. I think we can do this in Year 7, then move to other tools - perhaps Javascript, VBA, Small Basic, etc, there's plenty of choice!
    4) Are there any Computing courses out there already which you think could slot in nicely?
    The OCR GCSE Computing course is brilliant, I'm running a pilot group this year and teaching is is honestly the highlight of my week. Other than that, the OCR GCSE ICT includes an optional coding module, and the new OCR Nationals (now called Cambridge Nationals) alos include a programming module. I don't work for OCR, promise! Other boards will doubtless catch up.
    5) Raspberry Pi - thoughts?
    A nice toy, not sure I'll make much use of it in my school (parents are generally reasonably well off and most students have access to a computer at home anyway), could be good for getting around network restrictions, showing off other operating systems, etc.
    6) Training. Not all staff will have the skills required. Any suggestions on solving this? Do we think the government will help us at all on that?
    Big problem this - at a recent exam board meeting, this was specifically asked for and the board said they would only provide training for their own qualification, not general computing topics such as programming. I think there's a big gap in the market here for a school to start providing a "turn your ICT teacher into a Computing teacher" type course.
    7) Consistency. If everyone goes off and does their own thing (especially without subject advisor meetings) how will maintain consistency?
    Why do we need consistency? If I teach my students to progrma using VBA, you use Java and someone else uses Smallbasic, what's the problem? Whichever new GCSE courses appear will sort out the content to be covered, as will so set the goalposts. I believe the "do what you want" approach is only for a limited time anyway, by 2014 there will be some sort of guidance, based on what Gove has seen in schools. I think it's up to us to get the ball rolling and show what can be delivered so this turns into a success.
     
  5. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    I really do not get this whole ICT is dead thing that is thrown up on thread after thread after thread.
    I have been through Mr Gove's speech as many of you will have done. All I see him saying is do what you want, drop the existing PoS and I would like you to consider chucking more computing into your schemes of work. There is no compulsion to do anything at all. I am also struggling to get my head around why people on here and within ivory towers equate ICT as boring and computing as exciting and ground breaking. Either subject can be fabulous and either subject can be as dull as ditchwater, depends on the people delivering it and the stuff they create. As for the content of computing outlined by Mr Gove, well it's not exactly demanding is it, I mean "simple 2d animations in scratch by 11 year olds", personally I think 11 year olds could handle the odd game and also point out to Mr Gove that Flash, Drawplus or Fireworks would do 2d animation better than scratch anwyay.
    However, and I know there's gonna be a backlash on me here, but you really need to think something through here. We are all becoming academies step by step and that gives your head freedom to deliver pretty much what they want within their curriculum. That means your department and your jobs will live or die by your grades and don't kid yourself otherwise. I'd be damn certain that I could deliver those grades via a computing medium over ICT if you decide to tread this path. A couple of threads on here already suggest that might be a very precarious path to take. As we learn in ICT specs, I'd go for a "pilot" switch rather than "direct" if I were you, and I'd make it a bloody small pilot too.
     
  6. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Rasberry Pi - worth noting that according to their website the initial production run will be exposed circuit boards only, with no outer casing. This will be sold a bit later as an accessory. Makes for a rather fragile device in a school environment.

    I'm not in a position to influence any school's ICT curriculum as I only work supply, but what I would say is that my favourite years spent in a roomful of computers were when I wasn't expected to use MS Office and had a free hand at developing digital multimedia in KS3.

    My gut feeling for KS3 would be to put the creation of a multimedia website at the core of the learning activity and delve into aspects of coding (amongst other things) as required, maybe starting with HTML then moving on later to CSS and possibly a bit of Javascript tweaking. Obviously additional activities like Scratch, Control etc could be incorporated into the scheme, but I wouldn't want to loses sight of video and audio editing, or animation. Anything but Word, Publisher, and bloody bleeding Powerpoint.
     
  7. Yes, perhaps there are more pressing issues, but what should it be called? I don't think it's Computer Science - in my experience (all at university) Computer Science is highly mathematical, and so it's misleading to use it as a subject name. Anything wrong with using the A-Level term perhaps - 'Computing'?
     
  8. That?s a very interesting point ? to paraphrase: you?re saying that as Computing is intellectually tougher that there?s a risk, job wise, here? But surely that?s akin to saying the easier the subject, the better the grades, the safer the job?
     
  9. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    Well said. I was thinking the same thing and re-read his speech 2-3 times as all the cries of shock and calamity on here made it sound like it was something much more scary and groundbreaking.
     
  10. scruffycat

    scruffycat New commenter

    Yes the pragmatist in me is with djp. My conversation on results with the head is always about one thing only and that is results. Unless we fully free up the curriculum and the accountability regime we can never mirror the success of the finnish system. Pasi Sahlberg makes some powerful points about cherry picking parts of their success story (listen to him Mr Gove)
    On a pragmatic note & accountability slant how will the predicted grades for Computing be generated? Will it use the vast data collected over years (there is none) use IT predictors, be allowed to set your own using mathematics predictors?
    The issue is not the course/content/knowledge, it is always our accountability culture and I fear that ain't going to change under the current regime despite the freeing up mantra that has been blurted out using sound bites and a general lack of clarity.
    Recommend watching Pasi Sahlberg on youtube. Book not yet out in UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/278-9630245-6720735?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Finnish+Lessons%3A+What+Can+the+World+Learn+from+Educational+Change+in+Finland%3F+%28Series+on+School+Reform%29+%28The+Series+on+School+Reform%29+%5BPaperback%5D+
     
  11. http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/index.php?id=teachshares
     
  12. Forgive me, I'm just catching up on this 'story'. Will it affect lower Key Stages? Or just from High School up ?

    One think that has always struck me; when do we teach kids to type? I learned a very, very long time ago on a manual typewriter, and I know how difficult it is to learn to type properly.

    I get so frustrated when some teachers moan to the kids "Is that all you have done?" particularly in Key Stage 2. But they have not been taught to type! It is a long and tortuous process.

    We expect kids to be able to type newspaper reports, stories and poems by Year 5, without actually teaching them how.

    The first thing ANY child should learn properly is how to type - then the rest should follow!
     
  13. LinW2010

    LinW2010 New commenter

    Well I've looked at what they say they would like kids to be doing, and I've looked at our KS3 curriculum, which I'm in the process of overhauling, and a lot of what they want to bring in is stuff we're starting to do anyway - we do scratch and gamemaker, which both lead to programming skills, logicator for control, which again leads to programming skills, an awareness unit which looks at how computers work and the effect they have had on society, we'll probably bring more technical skills into web design, but there's plenty of multimedia in there, and creativity, and trying to build up the technical skills in spreadsheets and databases, with a focus on creating and not just using...
    So really the proposed changes are just backing up the decisions we've already made in the ICT curriculum. And it was all put together within the existing framework.
    In fact, how do you teach sequencing without using something like Scratch or Logicator anyway?
     
  14. We may see a rerun of what happened with the early home computers, viz. a side industry in add ons ?
    I still like the idea of a 4 way split (not necessarily equal) between multimedia creation, office skills, programming and control/electronics.
    Possibly a sub split in multimedia between document type production and audio/video work.
     
  15. In answer to your question, David, ICT is not intrinsically boring. It is just in many places it is very very badly taught. Reams and reams of Powerpoint, Publisher and Web Design, usually following the same work over and over again.
    When I taught Comp Studies GCSE/16+/OLevel at what would now be KS4 it contained a fair amount of what would be considered ICT, albeit it was far less graphical (because we had BBC Micros and the like), but it was still word processor, databases, spreadsheet etc.Even did some very basic animation and audio work.
    The problem is the "Computing" part of ICT (programming, control, electronics) has been pushed out partly because teachers can't do it and partly because of cheapo GCSEs, and been replaced by "Communications" which is usually waffle.
    Because "the people who deliver it" generally have no skills in the more technical stuff it has been abandoned in favour of things they can do ; endless Powerpoints on Theme Parks.

     
  16. Personal views (and not representative of any formed body or employer):


    1) Timescale - no idea, no changes proposed for me at this time


    2) Currently teaching GCSE/AS/A2 Computing (GCSE is in its first year), BTec (Levels 2 & 3) and ECDL (in place of mandatory GCSE ICT). No changes as yet but expect to see more kids doing Computing next year. In first (and current) intake approx 25% of 400 Yr10s taking Computing. Expect percentage to increase next year?


    3) All of it - already in place and seems to be doing well. Been providing A level Computing for several years.


    4) Not currently relevant.. be nice to see what the competing exam boards provide though. iGCSE??


    5) Raspberry Pi - nice idea but not sure how it will work. Can be a tricky language and still need device support to get it u and running - maybe a steep learning curve for the kids to get some great output? Do we suffer from iTunes app store envy and expect full on 3d gaming in the first year??


    6) Training - i have an idea for this but still at consideration stage. Could be a winner.


    7) Consistency - needs some sort of working body to oversee this in concert with ofsted / DfE.


    I think it's a great opportunity but as usual with this sort of thing - it's all up to the individual. I'd like to see HTML(5), CSS (2/3), Javascript and the like pushed as it is swiftly becoming a potential standard for animation and online publishing. Good one to watch and also a good one for the kids to then go on to earn from in their spare time and take on to uni etc.
     
  17. I took Computer Science at university and it's interesting to see just how much of what was taught at uni is now transferring down to school ages (Databases / web design / coding) but i may be showing my age here!


    I don't think we should name this Computer Science - for me that includes subjects such as Advanced Calculus (groan - and i like maths!), Image Processing (designing software to track objects in images mainly), Artificial Intelligence (nuff said), Distributed Processing (complicated theory for 3 months - how we mocked the idea of multi-core processors at the time) and Neural Networks (don't get me started)


    As with many things, it's all in the name - if it sounds hard, people will think it's hard. How about 'Computer Studies' which could cover all bases (and ills) - this could cover hardware/maintenance, design(y) stuff, communications/networking/theory of t'internet and programming


    Thoughts?
     
  18. clickschool

    clickschool New commenter

    Indeed. It would be nice if people read what Mr Gove actually said.
     
  19. ARRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHH.

    He we go again , another 10 years of drifting. Anyone who is qualified and experienced knows the following:


    ICT is not a subject, its a tool.


    Computing is a very narrow subject that does not hold much appeal for the masses.


    "Computing" skills generally require a pretty high academic level ( oh the joy of doing binary arithmetic in A level Computer science)


    Exam boards have not got a clue about computing ( they never did when they started with the first O level which I did over 30 years ago and they are still scratching around rewriting the same dull old stuff and strangling the topic to death.


    I have (and still do) interwoven HTML, CSS, Javascript, Gamemaker, VBA, macros, bit level hardware and a hundred other computer related things into my ICT lessons but the reality is real Computing is very difficult to deliver in KS3 classes of 30 plus students.


    The real solution would be to actually have the whole school deliver ict as a tool to improve their subjects with highly skilled ICT TAs to up the skill level and push the creativity and productivity.


    At KS 4 there needs to be certification of each computer / ict skill to allow student to develop their specialism, some will be programmers, some will be systems engineers, some will be UI analysts, even a few will be hardware nerds. The list goes on and on and can never he covered in a single syllabus.


    God knows what will come of these changes, it could be brilliant but I have almost no faith in Gove steering anything.
     
  20. And there was me thinking that binary arithmetic was fairly straightforward once you got the principles? The class seemed to understand it after me trying my best to baffle them


    With regard to varied qualifications - it might be worth taking a look at the Level 3 BTec spec - you can combine different units to produce networking / web / programming focused courses... just a shame about the rubbish mandatory 'communications' units that revolve around endless multi-sided a4 reports
     

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