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OCR GCSE Computing

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by emma2710, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. Is anyone doing the pilot? How are you finding it? What are the resources like?

    Thinking of doing it next year as an option...
  2. our school is on the pilot. one class of mixed/higher-end ability students. I'm glad i signed up into the pilot because i believe that computer science should have a home in pre-college eduction and lets not forget that computing is a rigourous and respected subject (there are no arguments about it like 'mickey mouse' ICT). I think it will work very well as an option for the right kind of higher ability/tech interested/mathematically strong kids, be careful who you aim it at.
    Personally, I'm finding it very time consuming creating the resources for teaching- there are no resources off-the-shelf. OCR have provided an outline scheme of work which is helpful, and there's some subject content on the teach-ict site, and various other groups supporting computer science in education. although my time invested in lesson planning is significant; the effort invested is rewarding personally and so far the students have responded positively to my lessons.
    If were to give you one piece of advice: do not offer Computing unless you or your colleagues have a programming background. wider, you cannot teach or deliver this course without having depth and breadth in your technical understanding and subject knowledge (this is NOT ICT - anyone can teach ICT - fewer can teach computing). yourchoice of programming language will be personal choice. i personally dont think you can go wrong with java or C# (or perhaps VB).
    Planning for Computing and delivering computing is certainly not an easy option for any department to make. If you feel prepared and up for it - offer - it will be kudos and perhaps you'll stand out from the crowds of schools merely doing "ICT".
    Our country needs more techies, software engineers and computer science graduates, so its well overdue this offer at GCSE level.
  3. Computing GCSE is an excellent choice for the right pupils. It might not make you popular at school though. It is hard relative to the raft of dumbed down qualifications so your pupils will have to be well-motivated and work hard, and membership of a top set Maths group would be one indicator. For those whose IQs are open to debate, I would suggest OCR Nationals is the right choice. You can fail, but to do that you have to be in Australia for the entire course. It is very very very easy to get a Pass (my alsatian has 4 GCSEs at Pass level), but with a biit of work (not much) students can easily get a Merit worth 4 GCSEs - great for SMT and league tables.
  4. Is that the one that you complete module 1 and 21? I'm a SEN teacher and support a year 10 pupil who is studying (if you can call it that) for OCR module 1 and 21. All I can say that it's a sham!
    There is no teaching or learning, the pupils just copy what the teacher has put in the shared drive. I thought that as teachers we were supposed to inspire young people? not turn them into young adults who can't think for themselves.
    Apologies to you if you do teach properly but at this high school which specialises in IT it's a joke. And in this school no one fails! They got 100% passes in their GCSE's.
    What's going wrong with education?
  5. Back on track, ignoring uninformed whingers...
    We're hoping to introduce the Computing GCSE next year as an option. Given that we've done AS/A2 for years I'm sure that it should be quite straightforward. It's strange that OCR are the only one offering it though.
  6. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    Nice name "je suis fou". Bravo, tu est vachement fou.
    Anyway, back to Computing - I'm taking part in the trial, just trying to get started up now with a very small bunch of kids who have opted for it after showing interest in an extra-curricular programming club. I've taught AS / A2 Computing for years and come from a Computer Science background, so I'm not worried at all by the technical challenges.
    I am slightly concerned though that it seems, well, quite tough for a GCSE level course, or is that just me? There doesn't appear to be a massive gulf between what I teach the sixth formers and what I'll be teaching the year 9s, certainly not in practical programming terms. Or am I making it too complex?
  7. I'm sure that you are thinking of the wrong course. What you describe sounds like an OCR national.
  8. I largely agree with Tayberry above. I'm enjoying it, but working hard to produce resources. I'm using some of the Teach ICT stuff as well as making various bits and bobs of my own (will be sticking them on Mukoku when I get a spare 5 minutes - promise). I have quite a mixed ability group and was pretty worried when I first saw the class list, but they're engaging well. The programming is starting to come along, although the big difference between the 'naturals' and the others is in the way they tackle problems. "How do I add a health system?" is a not uncommon question and I'm finding it a teeny bit frustrating that I keep having to get them to break it down and try and solve the problem themselves rather than getting me to give them 'the answer'.

    It'll be interesting after Christmas when we move form Scratch to Python and then tackle the research unit after Easter (going for the low level programming option).
  9. I'm to am struggling with the level of depth the students need to know.
    Was about to teach the processor to students after half term and was gearing up to get them to X, Y and Z then at a recent Computing course in London discovered the students just need to know that the processor fetches data from an input or memory, processes it and outputs it.
    I have decided to give them all a copy of the course spec. Have created an A5 booklet of the A451 section and spent a lesson discussing with them how to use it so they can decide if they feel confident in a particular area, if not they need to ask and we can spend more time on it.
    Am enjoying it so far but it is taking a long time to prepare resources for these lessons. Have managed to get hold of some old computers that the technicians have said they will set up with a basic Windows XP OS and dual boot until Ubuntu (just so they can be ware of a different OS). I will get them to install antivirus, firewall etc software and then defrag and system check the PC and write up what they have done, what it did/allowed for.
    Today I had students in groups of three finding out about either magnetic, optical or solid state storage. Research the different aspects and as a group create a detailed document that explains the different storage technologies. They had fun (used loosely!) seeing how long it took to save a file to a floppy drive compared to a USB
    Next week we are going to have an end of term millionaire themed test using some special Qwizdom remotes where they all answer questions and their response appears on the board.
    Does this seem to be along the right lines/not enough/too much ???
    Are people teaching this alone? How are you dividing up your lessons between programming and theory? Being way down in the South West it is difficult getting to meetings to discuss this!
  10. dsmuk: sounds like you are doing a stellar job. like some of your ideas on what you've done.
    To reiterate the concerns of the previous posts, the gulf between GCSE and A-level actually seems rather slim. I've found myself using a collection of A-level text books as a starting point for resource development and the final GCSE lesson resources i could easily use for a-level lessons. I have been really worried i'm making it too difficult, but i keep reading over the spec, and coming to the conclusion - no. I'm covering the content of the spec in a reasonable way.
    I've perhaps - a tad flippantly - told my class that Computing is one of the toughest GCSEs in school. I'm now firmly coming to the conclusion that may be true!
    It is still pilot so perhaps OCR may review the level of challenge but i'm going to be controversial and say it should remain this rigourous. Thats what makes it special and i believe that our students sometimes need serious challenges to get stuck into. In a culture of dumbed down and 'no risk', have we all been too shy of 'difficult' in recent years, perhaps? Long live difficult Computing GCSE.
  11. There's an open meeting on the OCR GCSE in Newbury on Nov 11, run by local teachers as part of the Computing At School working group: http://thamesvalleyhub3.eventbrite.com to register.
  12. I am not at all clear why anyone would want to subject their pupils to a computing gcse. The ocr as computing course is certainlt no more difficult than the gcse and of course, there are no controlled coursework tasks in as computing. I guess ocr had a lot of trouble dumbing down the gcse course as the a level computing course got the dumbing down treatment last year. A strange educational world we live in now. Forget the gcse. Do the as course. It will also raise numbers taking the full a level.
  13. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    @McDiploma: Not sure what world you're living in but when our students do AS/A2 courses we're trying to get the majority of them the results they need for a higher ed place. Therefore early AS/A2s are not a viable route. Early completion is not favourably looked upon by many Unis who want to see all three done in one exam season - that's the feedback we're getting.
    Also the timescale required to complete an AS is greater than a GCSE and therefore wouldn't fit into the timetable.

  14. "we're trying to get the majority of them the results they need for a higher ed place" Sorry, my mistake. At our school, we try to teach courses because it is good for pupils' needs, educates them, stretches and challenges them and helps them onto whatever path they want to walk along next.
    "Early completion is not favourably looked upon by many Unis who want to see all three done in one exam season" Interesting point of view. Which universities in particular please? Our experience is that universities like to see pupils stretched and challenged at an appropriate standard. The very dumbed down courses like GCSEs and Nationals are too low for most of our KS4 pupils now. The AS is actually just about right for KS4, and not just in Computing.
    I agree with your comments about timescales, but with the right pupils, and the lack of those silly coursework tasks, it is possible.
    We start the AS Computing course in June in Year 9. They then have about 2 hours a week until the end of Year 11. It is do-able. Many pupils then go on to do Computing A Level in Year 12. They then go on to do a further 3 full A Levels at the end of year 13. OCR, for all their (many) faults, did a good job with the new A Level Computing specification, and the old one was pretty good too. I have some sympathy with them with this pilot course in GCSE Computing. It seems like a good idea, but because the A Level has been so dumbed down, it is difficult to see how the GCSE can fit in.
    Nope. My advice: forget the GCSE Computing. Do the AS Computing. It's a lot more meaningful for students.
  15. colwynexile

    colwynexile Occasional commenter

    OK, who are you, and what have you done with the real MyMouse?
    Almost complementary towards OCR? See, master criminals always make one mistake and this was yours. So, how much is the ransom for? And would that be in used notes?
  16. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    I'll be the first to say what everyone's thinking - there is absolutely no way that AS Computing can work with a Y9 group, not unless it's a very small group of particularly gifted and talented students and even then, only if they expect D and E grades. It certainly wouldn't work in 90%+ of the secondary schools in this country, so please don't state it as if every other ICT teacher not doing it is somehow doing their students a disservice.
    McDiploma, which GCSE level ICT qualifications do you actually like?
  17. I used to work in an all boys grammar school with students who enjoyed Computing.

    Even in the 6th form good results where hard to come by.

    I come out in cold sweats imagining it with Year 9 pupils.

    Sounds like someone has had something put in their milk again and coming up with spurious nonsense!
  18. The idea of delivering Computing GCSE to year 9s is rather silly. I dont think anyone on the pilot is doing such a thing, surely? but to question the point of computing at GCSE level is simply a nonsense and comes from a badly informed position. Computer science at KS4 is most certainly required and is a refreshing addition to the jaded 'ict scene'. Also....It has been said many times by many school leaders that those who offer AS level in KS4 and doing it more for their own egos rather than truly thinking about students' learning and progression. I suppose its ok with schools with a 6th form and the progression is managed in-house, but what about those areas and authorities where students leave for the local college? Students can be told that their school based AS levels don't count due to different boards and many practical reasons. As always this forum is a mix of the divine and the bulls**t.
  19. colwynexile

    colwynexile Occasional commenter

    For those curious as to the disappearance of McDiploma, I fear my last post may have scared his kidnapper off as all we got instead of a ransom note was a withered tail. AS with Yr 9? Liking (to some extent) an OCR syllabus? No way was that the furry one!
  20. It is nice to see a level of debate - but let us keep it professional!
    All the qualifications mentioned are produced rigourously by exam boards and as professionals we deliver them with the same rigour as outlined in the specifications and syllabii.
    May I also suggest that you all join the Computing At School group which is part of BCS.
    Then we can collaborate on and encourage the development of courses appropriate to the needs of students.

    Malcolm Steven Gray

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