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Moving from Design and Technology to ICT and Computer Science

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by Bonnie23, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter


    This might be a bit of an unusual one. I'm having some career ideas at the moment and ideally I would love to stay in teaching but I'm looking at different options; one of them being subject changes.

    Without getting into all of the details about why; I'm very interested in changing from D&T to ICT. I don't believe this change would be easy and I'm not trying to get out of the hard work teaching comes with; it's always going to be there.

    I've always found computers easy to work with, I have a good knowledge of them (not saying I could build one but I would love to try!). I can write websites, form databases and searches, easy use of the internet, word, publisher, powerpoint. In Design and Technology I have taught programming before.

    I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions? Would it be too much to change the subject? Has anyone ever made a subject change in teaching (regardless of the subjects) and how did you find it?

    I'm also looking at teaching in Scotland if anyone has any advice on that.

    Thanks for any help in advance!
  2. gigaswitch1

    gigaswitch1 Occasional commenter

    ICT as a subject and GCSE is dead, but you already have the skills to teach ICT and depending if the school has kept ICT or changed to Computing, you can do it now. Computing is a different subject and you are in the same position as many ICT teachers have been . The theory takes time to get your head round, but can be done, it is the programming you need to start with. Pick a language, probably Python and start learning, as you are learning think about the logic to complete math's problems and create working programs. Look at the GCSE NEA's and when you can complete them or have an idea how to complete them, you are ready for GCSE.
    Sir_Kev and SLouise91 like this.
  3. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    I started off teaching Science and then moved to Computer Science. It is doable but can take three or four years to be comfortable teaching it confidently and to a point where you can spot students' errors at a glance. Agree with the above post. Pick a couple of languages and start working through online tutorials, solving as many problems as you can. Keep notes, build up great problem solving worksheets. Get organised so you can use the best of what you learn for teaching later on. YouTube is a good source but there are many free online tutorials now. Get brilliant in Scratch, BASIC, VisualBasic, Python, Assembler and JavaScript and you will be ready. Join CAS and use their largely free resources.

    Meanwhile! print off the OCR Computer Science GCSE spec and work through the theory, make notes, pretend you have to teach a topic and build up notes, worksheets for each topic, then move to A Level, which is much harder.

    Start applying when you feel you are ready. Diving in to the deep end isn't a bad way of doing it but there will be little time for building up skills and knowledge whilst trying to teach full-time, so lay the ground work first. Find a school where the department is supportive, not full of moaning ex-ICT teachers dreaming about the return of ICT.

    Prepare to have a nervous breakdown. Get divorced now if you are married as you won't have time to maintain a relationship. Be prepared to have no social life, working 60 hours a day doing many tasks that have little bearing on teaching Computer Science, a poor salary, try to get a job in a grammar or independent school or better still, work abroad. Be prepared for the stress of teaching a very difficult subject to large, mixed ability classes with some kids who are constantly disruptive.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
    Sir_Kev and wanet like this.
  4. paullong

    paullong New commenter

    It really depends on whether you think you can understand the topics that need to be taught in the specifications and whether you can deliver the topics.

    Imagine if someone said "I do quite a lot of DIY at home so I think I could teach D&T". I'm not a D&T expert so I don't know what the specification is involved, but you will obviously know and therefore know whether somebody who says that would likely be capable of D&T. Then apply that thinking to Computing.

    As a teacher, it's possible to teach any subject and people move subjects quite often. Having taught programming before will be a big help. It's probably far too late for this year, but ask your school if you could teach a class of Computing for a year.
    T0nyGT and SLouise91 like this.
  5. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    Have a look at my curriculum map (there's a link on that page) - see how many of the things you know and how they link together. There are also presentations on that page to explain any of the things you might not have come across before.

    I wouldn't worry too much about Python - if you've taught programming before then just teach the same language. Python appeared out of nowhere (in schools) and was somehow sold to people who'd done no programming before, but reading the GCSE Computing groups in Facebook, I get the feeling that the tide is turning against it.

    I'm not keen on CAS, either in principle or practise, but there are also plenty of Computing resources in the TES and OCR also provide some for GCSE. I wouldn't bother buying any.
    Sir_Kev and SLouise91 like this.
  6. Sir_Kev

    Sir_Kev New commenter

    Sounds to me like you are already making the necessary moves forward. It can be daughting facing the challenges of moving from what comes to us as second nature to something that is new and shiny. Teachers are a bit like the Borg from Star Trek we are always adapting to new attacks; changes in funding criteria, changing awarding bodies and modifications to the syllabus we taught the previous year and somehow we still manage to survive. So I have every faith that you be OK just trust yourself!
  7. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    I would also recommend against Python. There are just too many things that Python can't do that have to be understood in various specifications.
    wanet likes this.
  8. gnulinux

    gnulinux Occasional commenter

  9. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    Those lists are about industry, and this one in particular is about "big data". We aren't here to provide students with vocational training to allow them to work in the software industry, we're here to provide generic thinking and problem-solving skills for all students.

    However, if they do choose to move into software, it's likely that they'll be using something other than Python (as most of my programmer friends have barely even heard of it), and the fact that it's so unlike most other languages - in terms of syntax, how FOR loops work, lack of arrays, constants, static variables, etc. (and a decent way of making a form-based application) - make it less suitable for beginners in my opinion.

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