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So, no ict at all in the EBac?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by mossonbrick, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. I could have, and genuinely feel the diet of ICT our school gives pupils from Y7 to Y13 is sufficient to warrant a place on the eBac. We could go down the route of "x could be learnt with no in school training", but heck, I could pick up Michel Thomas' French CD's and learn the language to GCSE level - it doesn't mean French should be off the curriculum, the CD in fact just scratches the surface of the language.
    Just because pupils are more ICT literate, more engaged and pick up ICT easier does not mean our subject is worth less. The problem is many schools haven't moved on from Curriculum 2000 and feel this level of knowledge is enough for our pupils. It isn't, it's too basic and rewriting the curriculum in line with current standards of learning ensures pupils still feel challenged to achieve in hte classroom.
  2. No ICT in the EBac? Good. Why? Because lo and behold, suddenly ICT isn't going to be compulsory at KS4 for us (as it has been in the past) because 5A*-C+EM isn't going to be the main metric. Which is excellent because it means no more desperate pushing and shoving every single low-ability/low-motivation kid through the horrors of OCR National Unit 1. Now, we'll get the students that actually want to study ICT, and I can expand the qualifications offered, both at KS4 and (with the time released) at KS5.
  3. I'm not sure it's the issue of whether ICT is in the E-bac that is the main issue per say, but the impact that it is having in some schools. For example, at our school the curriculum is being restructured to phase out KS3 ICT and start teaching a GCSE in year 7. This suggestion was so offensive and preposterous to me that I essentially tendered my resignation.
    The value of discrete ICT taught by subject specialists in engaging and interesting ways cannot by overestimated. Our curriculum currently includes scratch programming (which teaches control systems and logic/problem solving) - one of the most popular modules at KS3, data handling which although traditionally dull was a popular module whereby pupils got to record real data from a field trip and find out how to analyse it. IT also includes photo editing and video editing, skills which many colleagues are not able to use in their personal/professional life and would find invaluable. There are modules that teach business documentation and website design too. The E-safety module is invaluable and protects/informs students in a high-impact way that will help to safeguard them in their future. Perhaps much of this could be taught in a cross-curricular way, which is essentially what is being done by the ICT department, e.g. in discrete ICT lessons but in a way that shows the relevance to all their other subjects and taught by subject experts. In all too many cases, where ICT is taught by non-subject specialists, many of the key elements and traditional problem solving skills are missed out. ICT is all about giving the pupils exposure to what can be done and how to find out how to do it. ICT reinforces much of the curriculum and improves the work of pupils in many subjects. It is enjoyable, engaging and an invaluable life skill that all too many professionals and academics lack these days. There are too many people who simply muddle by with ICT and find it a frustrating tool, often because they do not know how to use it.
    I came into this profession because I valued the subject of ICT and what it gives at KS3 level to pupils in terms of long lasting skills for life. Take this away and revert to teaching just office skills and you might as many people say remove ICT from the curriculum. ICT is about skills and innovation but it is also about learning what can be done, how to do it and how to apply it to all the other subjects and situations in life.
    At GCSE level, there are many arguments towards many different courses, but few can doubt the value of expert, focused skills in things such as web-site design, flash programming, video and sound editing. These are many skills that simply build on and consolidate the KS3 curriculum. I am not convinced that there is any ICT related course at KS4 that is suited to the needs of all pupils or that would warrant a place in the E-bac, but the future of our industry will be threatened if we stop teaching ICT in schools and rely on colleagues who will essentially teach their own version of ICT as is practical to their subject because this will naturally degrade over time instead of having the investment of ICT experts to renew, update and refresh the subject knowledge and curriculum in schools. We need to find a way forward that adds value to the curriculum and doesn't let ICT die as a subject. Additionally, at some point much of the history of computing and how things work at a base level in binary will be lost if it isn't taught! We will be in a position where people forget where computing came from or how things actually work because they have "evolved" to such a high level that we no longer care. This could ultimately lead to such a lack of knowledge and skills that the entire IT industry will debase due to a lack of people will any foundation in the subject.
  4. colwynexile

    colwynexile Occasional commenter

    Well provided your Head doesn't run a curriculum review, finding that your Dept is now overstaffed as you no longer teach every kid upto Yr 11, and makes some of you redundant to implement budget cuts, leading to the rest of the dept simply running as fast as you can to cover the ground you were originally on.
    What would be more likely is for schools to drop OCR all together and force low-ability/low-motivation kids through the horror of controlled assessment because quite simply the 5 A*-C + E&M will still be in place, it's just that it's going to be 5 A*-C + E&M&MFL&Hums&Sci. So wave bye-bye to tech, PE, music, drama, Eng Lit, Art & Design as the focus shifts to the main concerns, with ICT being shoe-horned into science category as a compromise.
  5. I think you mistake what Gove say's as opposed to what his true aims are. This is about reducing the quality of education and saving money! No ICT - No expensive computers more money for the doublespeak 'Free Schools.'
  6. Fair point, but having said that, judging from the options forms about 75% of the current Y9 cohort want to carry on with one of the ICT options. With the expansion of KS4/5 options plus Functional Skills delivery for Diploma students, we'll actually have a bigger teaching load than this year. .
  7. Why the surprise? There is clearly no place for ICT in a 19th Century Curriculum. It is not the absence of ICT we should be most concerned with. The profession needs to flex its muscles over the 'new' curriculum, and assert its influence....something that has failed to happen in the past.

    Who are the people on the National Curriculum Review Panel? I know none of them. Most of them have an Acedemies background...indeed this seems to be the qualification for member ship.
    The issue is surely about how and where ICT is used, and how it can be used to engage kids and overcome barriers to learning, not solely that of the ICT curriculum. What employers say they need are creative people, and ICT has the power to encourage and develop creatiivity .
  8. Hi all,
    sorry to enter this late, but I'm struck by the significant split between people who still think ICT is about software skills and those who see the underlying, transferrable skills that can be gained.
    I am reminded of the concept of digital natives (Prensky) and the idea of Digital Literacy... many of you are quite right in saying that kids often can pick up skills from a CD or a couple of days of intensive tutoring. If that's all ICT courses have to offer, we might as well give up now.
    The concept of the digital native, i.e. a child who can pick up and do almost anything they want with technology, is incomplete. They can often acheive what they already know they want to acheive, but can see no further. It's as useful a model as the speaking native - we grow up learning to speak, but does this mean that teachers can add nothing in terms of debating skills, presentation, vocabulary, conversation skills...
    The difference a well-taught and well-planned ICT curricuulm offers is often reflected in the number of kids taking up further study, as evidence in some posts in this forum.
    • Project management,
    • communication skills (formal and informal) and netiquette,
    • aspects of design for screen and print,
    • research skills and evaluation of sources,
    • presentation skills,
    • collaborative working methods,
    • Multimedia and cross-media integration of messages,
    • and good old problem solving... not mention programming skills
    I could go on, but hopefully you get the picture. These are clearly skills that are in-demand in industry (and in school), and its up to ICT teachers to get out of the ruts they are stuck in and do something interesting (I speak as an ex-local authority advisor and ICT HoD, currently ICT / elearning consultant).
    Sometimes ICT teachers and exam boards are their own worst enemies. ICT teachers have been known to complain about the limitations caused by ICT exams and curricula. However, the KS3 and 4 Nat Curricula in ICT are so vague in their prescription that you could teach pretty much anything if you put some effort and imagintation into it.
    Exam boards have also been frightened into creating specs that satisfy an apparent need for an army of spreadsheet and WP experts (or more specifically, Excel and Word experts). Who asked for this? And why, when OCR / DIDA attempted to do something different, did they allow the quals to become so devalued when measured against GCSE that Ofsted come down hard on schools that offer them?
    Working towards exams / coursework / controlled assessments through contextualised projects that draw on a range of integrated skills, and develop critical understanding of media and applications alongside esafety and studies of 'impacts on society' is a more motivating, interesting and long-term useful approach.
    We need a curriculm that sets high standards, and teachers that are prepared to develop their own higher-order critical and thinking skills.
    It's time to take the initiative back, and make ICT vibrant and important again... check out the work of FutureLab, Enquiring Minds (a collaboration with Microsoft), Heppell.net, BFI and a plethora of other exciting, innovative organisations.
    Read about the possibilities, discover how other schools manage to make ICT engaging and then do it yourself; you'll feel so much more positive about getting up in the morning!
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    I'm looking to start a GTP in this subject area
    because I have worked in the industry for over 10 years now. From what I've
    seen on this forum so far, there has been little about ICT as a discipline and
    almost all about ICT being part of something else or preparation for

    While both of these are perfectly acceptable there is
    a third reason for this subject to have an equal level of respect from the
    profession. ICT is an enormously diverse subject area and is becoming
    increasingly so every day. How many students would want to continue studying
    English if we taught them that all it was about was how to construct
    sentances? How many students would follow Maths if they thought that the
    subject was limited to adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing? What
    makes these subjects so fascinating to students are all of the many ideas that
    are presented.

    And there is another reason that students should
    study this subject. the last 10 years have shown us some of the many dangers
    that children face in the modern world. Facebook bullying has cost lives.
    Abusers have an all new medium to access children in ways that the police have
    difficulty tracking.

    It is so easy to write ICT off as as useless subject.
    Especially with the popularity of the OCR courses. Yet we all appreciate how
    vital a role ICT has in 21st century living. As a society we are recognising
    the need to train the elderly a basic level of ICT so that they can continue to
    live their lives. Why should we forsake our children the same privilege?
    Admittedly, I have, as yet, no experience in the teaching profession so perhaps this comment has no weight but there is a reason why one must pass an ICT test to attain QTS status. Perhaps it is because it is necessary...
  10. This is so true.

    I'm a software developer, a parent governor, and I've visited a lot of schools -- and talked to a lot of kids and teachers about ICT.

    In my experience there's WAY too much focus on *application* skills (learning PowerPoint) and research (using Wikipedia), and not enough core computer science.

    For example, my daughter told me this morning that in ICT classes at her school (a highly oversubscribed comprehensive in south London) they're making videos and (apart from the dubious value of doing this) they lose at least 15 minutes of every lesson because Windows Movie Maker keeps crashing.

    ICT teachers are under-qualified and, to be honest, often not very knowledgeable: I've never met an ICT teacher with degree-level computer qualifications or any professional experience. Computer science qualifications are also, increasingly, a crucial pre-requisite for getting the most desirable tech jobs -- and one thing the most successful techies have in common is that they all started from a very young age.

    The received wisdom is that computer science is irrevocably boring: mention algorithms and data structures and most people panic. This is like saying that arithmetic and algebra are dull, so we'd better not bother to teach them. In reality computer science is fundamental to understanding the modern world, in which computers are increasingly ubiquitous and dominant -- and teaching computer science can be as interesting (or dull!) as any other subject. There's lots of real hard science you could teach kids from Key Stage 2 or even earlier.

    People say that kids know more than we do, whereas in reality most kids know lots about Facebook, but nothing, really, about computers.

    We must make sure kids learn that computer systems are more than black boxes or amorphous 'clouds' over which they have no control.

    Teachers will need to sort this out on their own -- Michael Gove obviously doesn't get it!
  11. The main reason that Vocational ICT (OCR Nationals L2) is replacing traditional single award GCSE ICT is because it is much more relevant to the world of today.
    In my view we spent far too many years teaching students about spreadsheets and databases and this qualification gives you the opportunity to teach students about media rich technologies such as web authoring, using sound, video and animation. These are the things that the students get enthused about and when taught well lead to some really cracking lessons.
  12. What can I say.... I was web authoring in 1996 (lots of people were); teaching GCSEs with web authoring from 2002. Being using sound and video for years. Now "teaching" spreadsheets and databases as part of the compulsory unit 1 OCR national i.e. getting them to take screen shots of MS Excel and MS Access rather than preparing them for examinations on those topics, previoulsy required in addition to coursework. Remember, a really good lesson is one in which the students learn a lot....being lots of fun is a bonus.
  13. Hi, pleased to meet you. Degree-level (Comp Sci) qualified ICT teacher here. Well technically. I used to teach ICT, now focussing on Computing A-level in 6th form. ;)
    Got to agree with all the points you make. However, is ICT really this bad across the country? In my previous school, which I was at for 5 years, most of the ICT staff were highly qualified in ICT. I suppose this told in the fact that we taught GCSE and pushed the kids to gain rounded skills rather than just using office applications. Maybe that was just a good experience.
    Is the subject filled with non-specialists elsewhere? I can't imagine many other subjects were this would be acceptable.
  14. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    There are a lot of contradictions in this thread, aren't there?
    Although I don't support the view that the purpose of ICT is vocational training, I will make the point that the reason I would support the teaching of spreadsheet and databases over sound and graphics is that, essentially, spreadsheets and databases require the use of concepts that can be shared between similar applications.
    Sounds and graphics - which are essentially hobbies, so if we're talking about motivation, why don't we let kids brings bikes and skateboards to PE lessons? - mostly appear to be taught as software-specific training. I can see, though, if the emphasis is on, say, vector v. bitmap, midi v wave, lossy v. lossless compression, sampling rate, bit depth, etc., that teaching such things could be of benefit. But I meet students who have edited sounds in Audacity who don't realise that when they rip CDs to MP3, they're throwing away 90% of the data.
  15. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    Goodness me and there was me thinking that there was a lot more to the job than having subject knowledge and that I stopped learning at 20 when I left Uni.
  16. I was wondering if you'd clarify what you mean by 'we all know how little maths is in a maths gcse'?
  17. It amuses me when ICT teachers talk about teaching web design, Flash and video editing. Although there are a few which do this properly, most students will never touch on CSS, Action Script or have any knowledge of what a codec is or the difference between 1080i and 720p.
    I'm now seriously considering a focus on Scratch, Pygame and some database and spreadsheet work at ks3 leading into a GCSE in computing at ks4 and then computing at a-level. At least that way I might be providing some real transferable skills to the majority and preparing the few for industry and secondary education.
    With the focus off ICT at the moment as a soft-subject that can boost results, now is the time for us to remodel the curriculum in a way that we see fit.
  18. You are so, so right.
  19. It's astonishing how many 'contributions' on this thread are from people I've never seen or heard of before who have a total of less than 10 total posts.

    It's almost as if a sock-troll is trying to sustain the whole thing by making multiple posts using multiple ids.

    Nah, never on this forum.
  20. Not to diminish modelling or handling large datasets (as opposed to teaching excel and or access). I can't really agree that production of video/animation or sound is just a hobby. Who is it a hobby for? Film makers, advertisers/marketing depts, musicians. Organisations large and small may need to express themselves using other media these days and it can have an impact on getting pupils to express/contextualise their thoughts and ideas. We have had great results with this, especially when working on e-safety with year 7.

    For the most part using animation, video and sound can help re enforce the importance of audience and purpose when presenting information/ideas and are often appropriate mediums for particular audiences/purposes.

    I thought the amount of lost data when encoding CD data (which I think uses a Constant Bit rate) to MP3 was a function of the bit rate you encode to and the encoder used. Where VBR for the MP3 is used even though large overall track compression ratios may be achieved this isn't necessarily due to lost information as such, e.g. during quiet parts of a track huge compression is possible with little data discarded. If MP3 often achieves 9:1 compression with some loss (much of which should be beyond the perception of the average human) FLAC (which is entirely lossless) still makes 2:1 compression of similar audio.

    Personally I'm more of a FLAC or ogg/vorbis man, unfortunately no one else on earth is...

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