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Thoughts about Goves announcements?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by JonathanTorbitt, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Lots of development companies / agencies (having worked in them myself) use spreadsheets to track data and tasks - MS Project is basically a very big shared spreadsheet.

    Concern is that ICT gets pushed further down the 'not-required' and therefore no use in league tables and hence gets dropped altogether as schools struggle to cut costs and hence cut subject provision - that's the darker side of this announcement potentially.

    If it's done properly, pupils will use ICT to support learning of Computing and presenting of ideas/work/etc. Using ICT to make a DECENT + PROFESSIONAL presentation is a skill that is woefully neglected - so ICT can help with that - no more 20 slides of endless bullet points please!
  2. This is bad news for ICT as it opens it to even further cuts in curriculum time as schools won't have to teach it or computing for that sake. Their will be no reporting of attainment and their for no need to do it as stand alone subject.
    Also I think it shows how little Gove actually knows about the subject, if you teach the National Strategy materials then he is right it utter rubbish but I don't know anyone that has taught like that if 5 odd years.
    Also how do students use ICT in other lessons - generally poorly because no one challenges them on things like fitness for purpose or efficency.
  3. There is definitely still a need to maintain a balance in any evolving ICT curriculum so that we keep a breadth in the skills that our learners develop - and computing/coding/programming is part of that breadth in a balanced curriculum.

  4. That background used to be very very negative. I can't imagine many ICT HoDs admitting they were wrong and wanting to employ people with skills they don't have.

    It will all be over by Easter.
  5. Hi Hemingfordgrey

    What do you think will all be over by Easter?
  6. Is this forum in response to Michael Gove; to scrap 'boring'
    IT lessons?</font>

    Right, using Scratch to &lsquo;create and share your own interactive
    stories, games, music and art&rsquo; as a play application (not app) to keep pupils
    entertained and busy in classrooms is a good idea, though not brilliant to gain
    the merits of teaching learners to develop &lsquo;Mobile Apps&rsquo;.</font>

    This may get me into deep bog, but nonetheless it is better
    said than kept to myself. Pupils (Students) or teenagers in this current generation
    claim to be far more advanced. Much as the younger generation and some adults
    may be current with the advancements in technology and emerging technologies; a
    line has to be drawn between entertainment and academics.</font>

    I believe most academicians will agree with my comment that,
    great nations of this world were not build on computer games. Hence, it is
    highly likely that gaming activity will impart computer programming or
    networking skills to any given individual; young or old.</font>

    In my past experience; I know of management and executive in
    one institution that enrolled school kids on The CCNA Cisco Networking Academy
    Programme. Yes, good for funding but bad for these youngsters who can hardly do
    simple numeracy; let alone IP Addresses and Subnets which involve binary and
    hexadecimals (in IPv6).</font>

    People, my fellow teachers; academics have never been and
    will never be entertaining! It takes extremely demanding and hard work in study
    and research to develop programming or networking skills. Such skills or knowledge
    cannot be gained at the game consoles. </font>

    I believe some academicians in Oxford and
    Cambridge will agree with me on deducing that entertaining games in classroom
    is definitely excellent for retention (bums on sits) in some poor achieving
    schools or colleges in East London but a disaster for the industry and or businesses.
    If you disagree, then I need not remind you why we have an influx of migrants
    taking over jobs for British People.
  7. itgeek

    itgeek New commenter

    Correct, in my view, work is boring as well for many people, and certainly does not deliver instant gratification !
  8. Gove has made his speech. To do any more will cost a lot and there's too much more ideological stuff going on. I suspect that ICT reform will be left to schools and will fizzle out.
  9. I have not been in education as long as many of you and am only half way through my NQT year. 

    I do however have nearly 20 years in industrial IT with a number of technical IT qualifications having worked in 1st line support roles, though business systems analysis technical consulting and architecture design, project 
    management through to managing an eCommerce team of  software development consultants. I've worked for large multinational IT organizations and have been involved in writing and responding to ICT procurement tenders including some for schools and education authorities. I'd like to share my perspective as an inexperienced teaching outsider.

    I have noticed that pupils are not bored by the quality of teaching or content of the curriculum but they are impatient at getting to the end result.  A number of things have come into focus for me over the last two and a half years. These make me think back to staffing interviews and their outcomes.  I reflect on recent innovation and where new designs and ideas are coming from. I think less about the making and mechanics of the end result, after all robots and computers can do that.

    It is only an empirical opinion, but while the end result is important, ICT is about the way you get to the result and make it the best it can be. ICT requires an enquiring mind, independence of thought and a desire to solve 'The problem' whatever it be. The tools those in industrial IT use to solve 'The problem' have changed many times over the years. If we had to invent the tool first before we could start to solve the problem, then as IT professionals we did. Often inspired and or instigated by people in their bedroom or shed and not all of them Techies (RIP Steve Job).

    I am sure this is my inexperience coming through, but teaching seems to be about the result not the quest. Many new to ICT seem to believe we have already got there. Certainly the students I have come into contact with have become ICT consumers rather than adventurers or journeymen.  'The problem' for many seems to be when is the next version coming rather than how can I make this version better. There is a heavy reliance on being given the solution to the problem. 

    Perhaps this is as a result of a society that does not place as great an emphasis on providing a learning environment which encourages young people to learn through getting things a bit wrong as it once did. Perhaps for all the right reasons we have become too ready to soften the edges of failure and have blurred the line between punishment and reward too much.

    Maybe we are too quick to find an excuse for low student involvement in their own attainment by blaming the teacher who then scaffolds to make access and success more easily achievable. We seem reticent to say '...that's incorrect try again' without then giving plenty of feedback. Perhaps we do not have the time for pupils to do it again and to simultaneously show progress in that lesson without too big a push in the right direction. Perhaps they really '...don't get it' and have become better at getting us to all too readily talk them through the solution. These are my problems I  am searching to solve in my teaching quest.

    I suppose now I am teaching those I used to employ, I may have become aware that over the last 20 years, ICT has not fundamentally changed. It still needs people to find and fix 'The problem'. The change appears to be that increasingly fewer young adult leaving school see 'The problem' exists or have a desire, the depth or resilience in their thinking skills to want to solve it. It is anyone else's problem but theirs: but not anymore.

    Thinking back to my Secondary Modern Education, it seems to me that the challenge and experimentation has been removed from subjects such as ICT. Students are scaffolded to such an extent (to show they are making progress) that in some cases they are not really challenged to find their own solution to any problem or encouraged to develop the patience that iterative experimentation needs. Even in Gaming many quickly resort to 'Cheats' in order to finish the game.

    Higher order thinking skills should mean that for some, it is about going through the same loop several times, looking for their own path to the answer. But arguably the rate at which we change and progress lessons does not give every child the opportunity to stretch their thinking and resolve the problem at their own speed. By the time their light goes on, we've moved on and the opportunity for that student to feel the exhilaration of learning success is lost.

    I've not been teaching long so forgive my inexperience, but should the main intention of ICT be to teach thinking skills and problem solving not programming and coding: potentially as boring. It is a little like writing a letter or speech to make something happen. If modelled too explicitly, creating a business letter in MS Word would be boring (and for some the problem is how to break the Microsoft monopoly). But making that letter (as with a speech) an effective communication device that works aesthetically, is correct and with effective content is a skill and should not be dull. Especially if the right level of challenge to solve the communication problem is set. Oh, and the solution not to readily available from the teacher.

    For me, writing computer code is like writing an effective letter. You need to remember and 'Know' (Bottom Bloom's) how to use the right layout/code/syntax/tools etc, but you need to synthesize and evaluate (Higher order Bloom's) in other words think what you are trying to make the code do or determine what effect it has on the system or user.

    Of course it may be that rather than being taught to think, students need to be exposed to more and varied ICT. After all none of us truly knows what we do not know. In order that they can develop new ideas and new uses, pupils should be given experience and access to existing technology. Perhaps if the large organizations looking to advise ICT teachers and the government made their products and services more cheaply available (or free as part of their R&D budget) to school and students, they would be able to afford to use them, take them apart, break them and experiment to see how they worked.

    Learning by doing for themselves and through their own 'Underground Culture' networks they are more likely to come up with improvements, new product ideas and the computer code to run them rather than have a 53 year old bloke (who was taught to do just that; back in the day) tell them what to think. 
  10. ... and writing in paragraphs.
  11. <table><tr><td align="center"><font size="8" face="verdana" color="blue">:)</font></td></tr></table>
  12. Haha thanks for the advice. Sadly it was my first post on here and I was using my iPhone. For some reason it would not let me; even in edit mode and not for want of trying. ;-)
  13. It's a known issue unfortunately....!
    I've paragraphed your post underneath for ease of reading for others.
  14. Goodness, you were presumably on a very long train journey!
  15. BrianUK

    BrianUK New commenter

    This a very interesting and eloquent post and mirrors my own experience as a teacher of ICT after 14 years in industry. I strongly believe that many other factors are at play here when it comes to attitudes to creative thinking, resourcefulness and resilience as well. Here is a quote from my blog that was written last year. It is only a personal reflection but based on over a personal history of teaching from 1983-1988 and then from 2002. The initial assumption was that IT is dumbing down literacy. Perhaps, on reflection, it is much more than that.
    By the time technology is in the hands of consumers most of the thinking has already been done - by someone else. If an answer to a problem is not immediately available, many children will either give up or "Google it" rather than learn by experience. I believe that passive IT consumption has changed how children think and how they perceive the world and people around them. I am convinced that passive comsumption of IT stifles creative thinking, reduces vocabulary and invokes indolence. Instead of making time for other activities (and the list here is huge), it reduces the time available for them. IT shackles them to the technology to such an extent that they have no time for much else in their lives. Above all IT encourages speed of processing over speed of thinking.
    Let me give you an example. Children today are very fast at typing. Especially on instant chat and texting. But if one examines the interchanges, the conversation is almost always shallow and trivial. The conversation, because it is text-based, allows them time to pause and think before replying. One might suggest that this a good thing surely. A pause between thoughts can be helpful. My argument is that, because of texting and IC, children are unable to think spontaneously, to counter a remark made in conversation with a quick and insightful reply. They are drilled, by the nature of the software and hardware, into taking a "think" period between sending and receiving texts or messages. And yet almost no attention is given to the spelling and grammar. Add to the mix that IT is eliminating the need to think for oneself, to overcome obstacles in a creative way, and the future for independent creative thought and language skills is bleak for passive consumers.
    So how has this happened? In my experience as a teacher, for the majority of the children I now teach, I see many erstwhile intelligent pupils who simply cannot spell, who have little or no interest in reading books, cannot hold a coherent argument and whose grammar is so poor I despair. I blame (in part) IT for this. For these pupils IT isn't exciting - it's essential, it's ubiquitous and it's mundane. And this is a problem.
    I read an article in the September 2011 edition of the BCS IT Now called "Where Next For Social Media" and it got me thinking about where is it all leading. The rise of Web 2.0, FB, LinkedIn, Twitter and now Google + and the seemingly exponential growth of this phenomenon, how will it evolve, where next? Now let's be clear - I love technology, in the right context it is fascinating and amazing. I have spent my entire adult life immersed in IT both as a teacher and industry. It is exciting and fun and I have no doubt that the future of us all depends on it in some way. So what has gone wrong? Why is it that these children of today have such poor literacy skills? Is IT to blame, at least in part?
    Well for a start, I truly believe that there is a need for brevity in our education system. There is a need to stand up and challenge the mantra that IT is "good for you" and that a "good" school, by definition, must use technology. A good school should, instead, be using technology smartly, to foster creativity. This is a start.
    Secondly I believe in some seriously traditional values and ideals. Values that children today are largely ignorant of through no fault of their own.
    I am starting to form a list of "essentials" that I think every young person should be comfortable with in addition to and complementary to "technology" because, although I can't prove it, I am sure they have made a massive difference to my two boys and their success so far in life.
    This list is not complete and definitely not perfect and some of them are so downright obvious I can hear all the "duhs" as I write this. In no particular order:
    <ol>[*]Reading paper books.[*]Holding a topical and well constructed conversation with an adult.[*]Understanding that "technology" isn't always right.[*]Understanding that "technology"isn't always essential.[*]Being both read to, and reading out to others.[*]A joy of reasoned debate.[*]Enjoying a family meal together at the end of the day.[*]Having "time out" from technology.[*]Playing board games.[*]Playing card games (yes Poker if necessary).[*]Playing outside.[*]Playing competitive sport.[*]Extended family.[*]Not having technology in the car when travelling.[*]Making stuff (plasticine, Lego, painting etc.).[*]Telling stories.[*]Charades/role playing.[*]Learning to play a musical instrument.[*]Learning to cook or bake.[*]Expressing opinons and ideas.</ol>Active creators have experience of these things. They have a toolkit of skills and knowledge that is constantly at hand and is developing with them. It allows them to discriminate and make judgements about how they use IT. They are able to learn from mistakes, to "have another go", to not just "give up" and above all else to find real joy in discovery by experience.
  16. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    Blaming the technology? While all-pervasive technology has an effect on communication, I do wonder if we talk it up to avoid taking the blame for it (in a general societal sense).
    Weren't TV and radio deemed similar enemies?
    Fear has driven us to handing a phone to every child. Fear has driven them out of the street and park and into the gardens and eventually into the living room and bedroom.
    Should we do all those things on your list? Certainly. But we've got to stop living in fear first...
  17. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    The problem is you are talking about your own school. A lot of schools don't do this or do it really badly.
    Partly this is the dull way ICT is often taught, and the transparent pointlessness of too much of it.


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