Firstly, let me state that I will be purchasing a Raspberry Pi as soon as they are available.
This is my first post here so I would ask you to be understanding if I haven't fully appreciated the intentions of the RasPi team.
As a retired schoolteacher, I have to say that I tend to agree with SteveDee. The remarks made by scep frighten me. “Roll on cross-curricular delivery.” he said. My experience of this was woeful. The standard of computing ability amongst English. History, Geography, Modern Language teachers was poor, even after they had been sent on courses. Even Maths and Science struggled, mainly because they were overwhelmed by the preparation required for their own subject. In my experience Technical Studies was really the only other subject to appreciate the problems of teaching pupils to understand computers. None, ever used, far less taught design for their WP, Spreadsheet, Database examples. Their work tended to be cobbled together without any recourse to design, pagination, style,
content, readablity (comments / explanations for sections) etc. I tended to teach all of the GPPs in terms of objects and operations. An object might be a character, a word a sentence, a paragraph etc on which an operation like embolden, justify, in(out)dent, font, font sizing etc may be performed. Everything was pre-designed as operations on objects. The skill teachers omitted all of this understanding and demonstrated “skills”. The same happened in other subjects; in Maths I witnessed many hours of teachers teaching to the examination. Change side / change sign etc – It is not; it is applying the additive inverse to both sides of the equation. The latter involves understanding the former is just a rule that has to be remembered exactly and when to apply it.
I am sure that the people involved with “Computing at School” mean well. Their efforts I fear will be lost. Although Qualifying Agencies state that they do not promote any particular software; if you read between the lines, then that is just not true. Here is a statement for the new exam structure from 2013 as it applies to Computing in Scotland:
“It is expected that learners will develop broad, generic skills through this Unit. The skills that learners will be expected to improve on and develop through the Unit are based on SQA’s Skills Framework: Skills for Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work and drawn from the main skills areas listed below. These must be built into the Unit where there are appropriate opportunities.“
At first glance you spot “broad, generic skills “ and you are happy but then only a few words later you read “based on SQA’s Skills Framework: Skills for Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work” – Now, to me, that means only one thing, namely: Teachers that use software that is not normally found in the workplace (Skills for Work ) or at home (Skills for Life) should think carefully as their course is likely to fail ratification. Otherwords, use only Microsoft products where they exist for your purpose. Note the SQA are now promoting “SKILLS LEARNING” and not education.
So I tend to agree with SteveDee when he states: “Computer Science is not taught in schools, except by a few heroic individuals that defy the national curriculum, or in "after-school" clubs. ICT is the subject that is included in the curriculum, and this generally only involves using MS Office, Dreamweaver & so on.” I would like to think that I was one of those heroes, who taught for understanding and not skills. Alas, with a heavy heart, I tend also to agree when he says “So I don't think that Raspberry Pi is going to make much difference to the majority of young people here until/unless our government steps in ….”
Anyway a Happy New Year to all.