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What GCSE to take? must deliver from Sep 2011 otherwise redundancy mentioned

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by beany202, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. <font size="2">Hi All,</font>
    Any advice or recommendations will be greatly appreciated.
  2. How about offering computing GCSE? It'll appeal to a geeky few, but the ones who opt to do it should be really good and by the fact they're interested in it they should do well. Sell it by playing with flash in year 9 and giving them tidbits of information about computing topics now and again.

    Obviously you'd need to be confident is simple computing stuff yourself, but the course actually looks good! It's one unit of theory for an exam (a doddle), a unit of writing about some relevant issue (can research and make it interesting), and the best bit, a unit on programming which has a scratch element (my best year 7 could do this reasonably), another programming language element (python is good), and a boring db element.

    I'm not actually teaching it yet, but the plan is to do so in September.

    As for GCSE, I've gone back to the AQA short course. It's down to two-and-a-bit tasks (from five when I last taught it!) and so far it's easy.

    On a different note If losing your jobs is even mentioned you need to get your union in right away. If you're a permanent employee it shouldn't be too easy for them to ask you to not come back. The school will need to find you another job you an do before asking you to sign on... Permanent employees have rights don't you know...
  3. jweb2k

    jweb2k New commenter

    Does it have to be ICT? How about GCSE Computing? Or is this too big a jump for your students?
  4. jweb2k

    jweb2k New commenter

    Posting at the same time! As the above poster ^^^ =)
  5. Thanks for this ctxsak, which exam board are you going with so I can check out the spec's.
    Computing could be an option but I just wanted to chose something that is best for our learners. In terms of losing jobs our school is very fair and honest, it was more a worst case scenario...but we all know that goal posts have changed so much in recent months it would not surprise me if this worst case scenario played out....therefore if we tackle the issues head on it should hopefully not even come to that...but who knows!
  6. I'm currently teaching the Edexcel GCSE ICT and hope to offer the OCR Computing once it is out of pilot. The theory side of the GCSE is fairly engaging and the students seem to enjoy the lessons. The controlled assessment is 40 hours but spread over the two years and is a piece of cake if you've delivered DIDA. Overall I like the course and feedback from the students is positive, plus it caters for all abilities. It's not a long term solution for me but a good stop-gap while I wait for the full details of the Curriculum reform.
  7. I've looked at OCR, AQA and Edexcel and the Edexcel one seems the most up-to-date to me. I showed the spec for the web module around to people in the industry and everyone was really impressed.
    I took AQA's GCSE ICT course at school and it put everyone in my year off the subject! Only a handful of us ended up taking it for A-Level.
    I'm really sad to see ICT being given such a low priority these days. It seems so backwards.
  8. Couple of things - We are running the WJEC ICT (and are happy) and the OCR Computing (I'm loving it, as they say) in addition to OCR Nats and iMedia for lower ability students. This means we get 2/3 classes of ICT, 1 each of Computing, Nats, iMedia (around 35% of the cohort).

    The OCR Computing programming task does *not* include a Scratch element. The original sample assessment material did but the QCA / QCDA / QVGA / whoever knocked that bit on the head, saying it was a little too easy. That said, the tasks that are currently live offer accessibility to students as well as providing challenge for the high fliers.

    Being slightly cynical, the reason ICT is getting such a low priority is that the content has been rubbish for far too long. It's been 'Office Studies', followed by 'Death by Screenshot' for as long as I've been teaching. And while there are the few fighting valiantly to get things to improve, there appear to be the many who will happily plod along thinking that teaching 'the pros and cons of bullet points', asking kids to 'find out about x on the Internet' and then getting them to make a poster/powerpoint on it is a worthwhile exercise.

    Yes, I'm in a grumpy mood this morning, but honestly, we need ICT to BE worthwhile before it can be considered as such.

  9. There's only OCR
  10. Do you have (or know where I can find) the live coursework task?
  11. I have it, but I'm not 100% on whether I can pass it on (in fact, I'm reasonably certain I can't). Certainly the latter two in the SAM document are appropriate. There are two sets, and as a class teacher you choose which set (of 3 tasks) to tackle. Every year at least one new set should be released, with the older ones not necessarily retired unless they're out of data / redundant.
  12. Hi,
    Our new GCSE is proving very popular. It's a little different from traditional GCSEs and the modern content and approach is going down very well with students.
    It is available as a single and a double award and the controlled assessment element accounts for 60% of the single GCSE.
    Unit 4: Creating Digital Products, lets students create a product of their own and would suit a coded solution nicely (if that's what you are looking for).
    My role at edexcel is to support the delivery of the course and I'd be happy to have a chat with you if you think it might help.
    You can get me directly on ICTSubjectAdvisor@EdexcelExperts.co.uk
  13. Ok, thanks anyway. I'll get in touch with OCR and see if they can send me them. Are you liking the course?
  14. Absomalutely. Programming, proper theory, even the lower ability kids are enjoying it and accessing the material. Sure, some of them are finding 'for' loops a little tricky to grasp and I'm not convinced they quite 'get' hexadecimal, but they loved stripping hard drives down and are really enjoying syntax based programming (as opposed to the graphical drag and drop variety - which is great, but doesn't quite feel like 'proper programming').

    Tomorrow we're acting out some while loops with a game that involves stealing sweets.

    My Y11 GCSE students spent all lesson making a switchboard...
  15. Sounds great. I teach A level computing, but obviously I'll need to water the programming down somewhat.

    Out of interest which language do you use for GCSE? I've installed small basic, but can't really drag myself into learning it when I'm thinking python is a lot better (and gives me a good excuse to use linux!)

    Honestly, compared to OCR Nationals this will be a very welcome change. I'm also doing the ICT GCSE which after having done dida and nationals I now have a re-discovered respect for!
  16. We're using Python (3.x). I uploaded my own Python book (not perfect, but not bad for free if I do say so myself) to the resource bank and you're more than welcome to use it. We're not looking at classes and objects (at least no yet, I might extend things with a few of the really able ones next year) but as long as you get basic control flow (iteration, selection), arrays, input/output, assignment, procedures and file handling then you're sorted.
  17. I use the Think Phython book (a free pdf which I bind into a real book) for my A level lot, but don't teach classes and objects as I don't think they are helpful when introducing programming from scratch, also, I think the way python does objects is so fundamentally wrong that I don't want to have anything to do with it! Make a blank, empty, object and then randomly assign it variables as you go along?! Hmm.

    I've just had a quick look at your book, it looks really good. Is that all the code covered which they need to do for the OCR GCSE? I haven't even bothered to install 3.x, but I suppose I should look at it even if it's just to see what the changes are.
  18. Pretty much. They need to be confident with file handling to hit everything and it's a fairly minor section in the book. I wrote it last year in preparation for first teaching now and I'm ironing out the kinks (e.g. should have done WHILE before FOR, there's little explicit mention of declaration, etc.). Again, it's bound and given to the kids as a text book - just one they can make notes in.

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