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What can't kids do in ICT when they get to secondary?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by richardholme, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Hi there,
    I am interested in feedback from ICT teachers and HOD (especially KS3, year 7) on what kids coming from primary have issues with most. I would guess that quality of priamry ICT teaching is variable depending on the school they are coming from.
    What to tips would you give priamry teachers to make sure kids are ready for secondary.
  2. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    I teach maths, not ICT, but I'm always a little surprised at the lack of spreadsheet skills with the kids I work with.
    They can change fonts, colours, plot data in 19 different charts....
    But they get their calculators out to add up a column of figures. Or do the same thing to find a mean.
    They have no idea about cell references - if they can't make it work first time by highlighting a range with the mouse, they give up and out comes the calculator. Actually looking at the sheet and thinking "I need cells B2 to B40" is beyond even the best of them.
    Does that resonate with anyone?
  3. tonyuk

    tonyuk Occasional commenter

    Okay here we go....
    Spreadsheets (on teh whole no idea)
    Databases (very little experience of)
    Presentations (powerpoint though can use it often used badly with word art, mad colour schemes, to much animation etc).
    No idea on webistes often or any other multimedia (animation, sound, movie)
    Can seem to use scratch well.
    Can surf though little idea how to do it well.
    Little idea of safety online - still surprised how many 11 year olds have facebook yet should not have until 13!!!
    There you go.
  4. Great,
    This gives me a good start point for setting priorities for next year - this year we have had a big push on file management and folder organisation (and that is just with the teachers!).
    Any other ideas?
    We have had issues with graphical modelling and controlling devices. Any ideas of what we might use to teach these? Or indeed if I should. I am of the impression that floor turtles and Logo are Would you recomend Flowol for controlling devices? Only £150 but will it allow to teach with progression through year groups.
    Thanks for the help!
    Oh, and we have heard of kids coming into school already with Facebook - age 5!

  5. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    Before you start to focus on individual pieces of software / skills, I'd love primary teachers to be able to differentiate between use of ICT in other lessons (ie, typing up work for English, etc) and ICT as a subject (modelling, sequencing instructions, data handling, etc). Some seem to think that a student who can surf the web and play games is a genius.

    Oh, and ban (or severely restrict) Powerpoint. I get the feeling that some primary students spend 6 years making presentations and never use a database or a spreadsheet.
  6. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    Personally I am quite glad that as a rule they come to us with poor ICT skills. If you want evidence to show that not anyone can teach kids how to use computers then it's a pretty good starter. If they come through with good skills that's when we need to worry about discrete ICT long term and our own personal job security.
  7. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    For the OP they struggle with everything and very few come through with any skills of note. Get a few who are quite handy with sketchup and quite a lot of stop frame but that's about it. Office based apps and graphics - forget it.
  8. becktonboy

    becktonboy New commenter

    some interesting points raised in a thought provoking thread. tonyuk's and gavcradd's poins are worthy of consideration:
    Couldn’t agree more Tony, but I know these are taught well at my school in discrete ICT lessons, the problem may lie with the move in primary schools towards the creative / integrated / embedded curriculum – it has many names but always means ICT being taught ‘through’ other subjects (see my blog: http://becktonboy.blogspot.com/2011/01/embedding-ict-in-primary-curriculum.html for more detail)

    Spreadsheets present a different problem. I teach year 5 and 6 how to use them but recognise the madness PaulDG highlights:

    .. which I think is down to lack of practice as much as anything – I teach the skills but the children never get to see them as relevant, never get to use them, mainly because no other teacher in upper KS2 takes advantage of them, which I put down to a lack of familiarity and confidence within the staff themselves. I have run INSET but know more is needed – I was asked the other day to help a colleague (a good teacher) with routine text entry, she solved the problem herself but the first reaction was “oh no, a spreadsheet, I don’t know what to do…”

    not fair, primaries really can’t fit everything in, I’ve taught web page creation to clubs but never in the mainstream curriculum. We do teach spellchecking tho’!!

    Doubly unfair:
    1. blame facebook, it’s their policy, which they take absolutely no responsibility for enforcing,
    2. Are you saying that in year 7 and part of 8 you have no kids with fb accounts??
    No-one I am aware of in primaries teaches children to use fb or even allows it or anything like it to be used in their school. As with all e-safety most of the problems lie at home: we can teach kids good practice till we are azure in the face, they will go right out into their home world and do what they have been warned against.
    interesting, control tools like Logo (the natural precursor to apps like Scratch) are generally not well taught in primaries, perhaps it is the program or the attraction of making games which lends itself to more rapid acquisition, accompanied by good teaching in secondaries?? I don’t think Scratch itself is widely used in primaries, tho' the release of 2DIY may lead to the principles of programming being acquired earlier.
  9. Seeing I asked the initial question I thought I would add a comment too.
    Facebook is a MASSIVE problem - it can lead to cyberbullying even with young kids. Perhaps the TES could lobby the government to block usage for younger people? Difficult I know.
    Also it seems that ICT in primary education is something that could do with proper attention. A national plan or strategy but current government probably aren't keen. It seems as though basic skills in ICT are what matters so then at secondary using and applying these in a range of ways is possible.
    Thanks for the ideas/advice everyone.

  10. becktonboy

    becktonboy New commenter

    not just difficult, richard, otherworldly. Facebook don't give a monkeys about cyberbullying or any problems realting to young people using their accursed website. They are a commercial company and have only one interest, only one rationale. Why would TES get involved, where's their payoff?
    do you mean something along the lines of a national curriculum? if you meant INSET, I have literally got the souvenir shoulder bag of that one, the NOF programme of the noughties was an absolute disater, £800m down the pan with no discernible outcome. Teacher training for ICT is not a lot better than it was 15 years ago either - teachers are either interested in personal ICT and then carry their knowledge over into their teaching, or they don't.
    is probably a good summation.
  11. They have absolutely no idea of audience. Other than themselves !

  12. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    But boy, they do know how to use Word Art, fill colours and animation in Power Point. Plus they are also very good at cut and paste.

  13. It might be an idea to also consider what kids from primary can do in ICT.
    Notionally I've found my year 7s were more adept at creating and discussing the use of their own models (we use a tiny bit of sketchup - many like to make a house floor plan and visual) than I expected based on their incoming spreadsheet capability. Also many seemed far better at combining and refining images and text with a purpose and for an audience when they percieved the purpose to be fun e.g dingbats to describe films, games, technology. That said a full, coherant, consistent, presentation for a very different audience is a difficult task for most year 7s (but arguably true for anyone?).
    They have proven less good at using/adapting pre created spreadsheet models, say for costing things, this may be a thinking or skills issue but it may also be that many cannot see the point of using the imposed model, (especially with a context that they don't believe in). That said, they were soon ripping through validation in an attempt to "change the rules" to allow more lives in an excel version of space invaders during one starter. I'd say they appear better when doing things they care about or value. They also performed far better with spreadhseets when the model included positive visual feedback to give knowledge of Correct results, though as disucssed on the forum, validating these (especially use of formulas) can get tricky.
    Finally over the year they have proven to be very good at switching between software (e.g. MS Office and Open Office) and are somewhat more capable of choosing their own software/way of doing things than I had expected, this may be related to them all having a netbook before starting.
    I havent had to "teach" a goldielocks approach to the number of bullet points or size of text, they mostly seem to understand that, once they view them as a big screen presentation. I think the biggest issue with these things (readability due colours, text etc) may spring from the little year 7 "designer" only thinking about the presentation as something you read on a screen less than a meter away, this is the environment they design in and it is tricky to place yourself as a designer (in your head) at the back of a room, listening and viewing a presentation on a large screen. You can add to that problem that some schemes of work conflate designing for a traditional large screen keynote type presentation, with designing for an interactive multimedia product used in isolation, to my mind the 2 are not particularly similar scenarios.
  14. Definitely don't think FB should be blocked, but parents need to take some responsibility in enforcing the use of it in the home. Why should it be the government or the teachers responsibility? If the government did it, twud just be like mass hysteria over facebook and for what? Apart from that, the kids themselves need to have some sense when using it, the easiest thing to do as teacher though is take nothing to do with it (and especially don't add kids as friends if you have it!)
  15. becktonboy

    becktonboy New commenter

    why on earth not? given the already tragic evidence of its dangerous potential, surely it would be better to restrict young people to a monitored/moderated space? ..... not that this will ever happen because it would be almost impossible to implement and the pressure not to would be too great.

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