Bikko
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:51 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/educ.....n-16493929

Mr Gove will call the current ICT curriculum "harmful and dull".

Oh god yes, I hated ICT at school, Office programs are usefull but can be learned in atleast 4 months.

aiddy
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:00 am


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liz
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:01 am

Isn't it fantastic news? We've been talking to the Department for Education for some months now, and they'd hinted very strongly that this was going to happen, but this is the first concrete confirmation we've had of it and we are absolutely delighted. They're doing such a good job of listening; and for those of us who worked with the department in previous years, it's quite disorienting.

I worked in educational publishing for much of the Labour Party''s most recent stay in Government. There were such a lot of obvious problems with the curriculum (not just in ICT) that we heard about in great length from teachers and pupils alike, but we found obstacles and deaf ears every time we tried to raise them at higher levels. I find the new approach incredibly refreshing; it's a good time to be working on this project.

Now, if someone at the Department of Business, Skills and Industry also feels like picking up the UK computer industry baton and running with it…
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Bikko
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:13 am

Do hope that they will look at the Raspberry pi for their hardware.

Joules
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:26 am

A bit worrying that the government are hinting at snuggling up to Microsoft and Google for the new curriculum. Has a smell of more of the same, than developing home grown solutions. Hopefully what happens here will rock that boat.

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Jongoleur
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:48 am

Joules said:


A bit worrying that the government are hinting at snuggling up to Microsoft and Google for the new curriculum. Has a smell of more of the same, than developing home grown solutions. Hopefully what happens here will rock that boat.



I heard about the proposed changes on R4 this morning and the spin with Google and Microsoft was the main issue that stuck with me too.  I feel that the real point is that this government want to make changes at minimal cost to themselves and by letting Microsoft into the classroom they won't have to fork out for a real paradigm shift.

You can imagine Microsoft sales execs doing the Jedi mind control trick "there's all these PCs with Windows and Office on them already.  Lets let Microsoft install Visual C# Express and provide teaching notes and we'll be home free." - yep, thats what it'll be!
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

Martin Angove
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:56 am

Jongoleur said:


Joules said:


A bit worrying that the government are hinting at snuggling up to Microsoft and Google for the new curriculum. Has a smell of more of the same, than developing home grown solutions. Hopefully what happens here will rock that boat.


I heard about the proposed changes on R4 this morning and the spin with Google and Microsoft was the main issue that stuck with me too.



Yes, don't forget that this is Michael Gove we're talking about. An ex-journalist and (according to Wikipedia) actor who has absolutely no education background and no science background at all. There are a *lot* of teachers out there who wouldn't trust the man as far as they could  kick him. I don't think he is even likely to understand where the RPi is coming from, much less the reasons behind its creation and the advantages it could have in the teaching of, well, lots of things really.

Makes me thankful in some ways that I'm in Wales where (most) education matters are devolved. Now, how do we persuade Leighton Andrews of the cause...? This one's a career politician and we've had a few scary moments with him recently regarding Welsh-medium education.

Tell you what, a *properly* Cymraeg-localised Linux would be an absolute boon on this thing. All the ones I've tried so far are no more than about 15% there...

M.

tonygo2
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:16 am

Great news on Radio 4 but Breakfast TV completely missed the point. Too many secondary schools have devolved all ICT to other subject areas where it is used totally to support that subject with zero Computer Science input. Such schools will find great difficulty in finding suitably qualified teachers with previous experience of teaching programming.

Python runs perfectly on the school’s existing Windows PCs
and is free to install but how many teachers can make use of it?

" Technology in schools will no longer be micromanaged by Whitehall. By withdrawing the programme of study, we're giving schools and teachers freedom over what and how to teach; revolutionising ICT as we know it."

I can see some principals using this as an excuse to withdraw from a subject they see only as a great expense using "lack of suitable staff" as the excuse. Computer Science must still be manditory.

1aws
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:52 am

tonygo2 said:


Great news on Radio 4 but Breakfast TV completely missed the point. Too many secondary schools have devolved all ICT to other subject areas where it is used totally to support that subject with zero Computer Science input. Such schools will find great difficulty in finding suitably qualified teachers with previous experience of teaching programming.

...

Python runs perfectly on the school’s existing Windows PCs
and is free to install but how many teachers can make use of it?

...

I can see some principals using this as an excuse to withdraw from a subject they see only as a great expense using "lack of suitable staff" as the excuse. Computer Science must still be manditory.


Well said Tony. I am a retired Computing teacher and unless the situation with regards suitably qualified teachers has changed a lot since I retired (nearly a decade ago), then most schools will not be in a position to deliver this new programme. As you point out, it has been possible to run Python, the excellent BBC BASIC for Windows on PC platform for a long time and it hasn't happened. CS will never be made manditory in schools, in my opinion. A further problem I see is that the whole programme could be hijacked by MS et al. At least now with the RasPi, pupils can be given one to take home where they can continue their Programming with suitable homework.

For me programming is about problem solving where coding is the smaller part of the exercise. I must admit though; pupils love to just sit down at a computer and hack away at a program, especially when it returns immediate results as both Python and BBC BASIC do.

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rurwin
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:06 pm

If there are any teachers in Leicester, or willing to commute there or work online, that want to be able to teach programming but feel themselves under- or non-qualified, I will teach them everything they need to know before these changes come in, free of charge. It would be either distance learning or an evening a week plus homework. It would also be pupil-driven to a large extent. I have no teaching qualifications, but I do have a degree and thirty years of programming experience. I also have four close relatives who are or were teachers and a great deal of respect for the profession.

darkstar
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:16 pm

Why should we waste time/money teaching one particular package set that is currently being used by business? It will be obsolete by the time they get jobs.

Learning how a machine works is far more instructive than merely which button to press on some particular model.

We were never taught how to use a Roneo or a typewriter, but we picked that up when we worked. As technology changed, as it always will, we adpated.

But what the school did teach was abstract thought so we were capable of tackling new challenges over the decades. <anti-flame>But then physics and maths are the king subjects</anti-flame>

I can see that the lack of staff will present problems for schools to deliver, but that should just be a transient.

jacklang
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:24 pm

The written ministerial statement to accompany Gove’s speech today on ICT in schools  is below:

The Secretary of State for Education (Michael Gove MP) today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I am today announcing my intention to launch a public consultation on my proposal that the National Curriculum Programmes of Study and associated Attainment Targets and assessment arrangements for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in maintained schools in England should not apply from September 2012.

There is a significant and growing base of evidence, not least from Ofsted inspections, that demonstrates that there are persistent problems with the quality and effectiveness of ICT education in schools. Evidence indicates that recent curriculum and qualifications reforms have not led to significant improvements in the teaching of ICT, and the number of students progressing to further study in ICT-related subjects is in decline. Furthermore, the ICT curriculum in its current form is viewed as dull and demotivating for pupils. Its teaching may not equip pupils adequately for further study and work, may leave them disenchanted or give rise to negative perceptions that turn them off the subject completely. At the same time we know that the demand for high-level technology skills is growing, and many employers in the IT industry are concerned that the way in which ICT is taught in schools is failing to inspire young people about the creative potential of ICT and the range of IT-related careers open to them.

However, we also know that ICT teaching in schools can be done well. There are numerous positive examples of schools that are leading the way in developing new and exciting visions for ICT, and of industry-led initiatives which are invigorating ICT teaching in schools. In order to facilitate more innovative ICT provision in schools, I am proposing to make provision under the 2002 Education Act to disapply the existing ICT Programmes of Study and Attainment Targets at all four key stages, and the associated statutory assessment arrangements at Key Stage 3, from September 2012.

Under this proposal ICT would remain a compulsory subject within the National Curriculum, subject to the outcomes of the National Curriculum review.  However, schools would be freed of the requirement to adhere to the existing Programmes of Study, Attainment Targets and statutory assessment arrangements.

By disapplying the ICT Programme of Study from September this year schools will be able to offer a more creative and challenging curriculum, drawing on support and advice from those best positioned to judge what an ambitious and forward-looking curriculum should contain. I am encouraged by the work of subject organisations and others on how universities and business can develop high quality Computer Science qualifications. I'm keen to explore how Government can continue to facilitate this.

If, having listened to the views expressed in the public consultation and subject to the will of the House, I decide to proceed with the proposed disapplication of the ICT Programmes of Study, Attainment Targets and assessment arrangements, it will represent an interim measure that will be effective from September 2012 until September 2014, when the outcomes of the National Curriculum review will come into force.  The status of ICT within the school curriculum is currently being considered by the National Curriculum review alongside that of all other National Curriculum subjects (aside from English, mathematics, science and PE), and I will bring forward proposals later this year.

The public consultation on this proposal will commence shortly and run for 12 weeks.  A consultation document containing full details of this proposal and how interested parties can respond to the consultation will be published on the Department for Education website.  Copies of that document will also be placed in the House Libraries.

--

LEdgeley
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:44 pm

While I applaud anything that advances the teaching of Computer Science in schools, I have concerns over some elements of this announcement.

My main issue is with the speed with which this change is being introduced. According to the Beeb, Mr Gove will begin a consultation over this change "next week" with ICT to be "scrapped from September".

This does not give schools much time to prepare for such a major change! For some schools, merely staffing Computer Science lessons will be difficult (there are members of my department who are excellent ICT teachers but simply don't have a CS background - how are they supposed to get trained up in time to deliver CS lessons in September? Who's going to pay for the training?), let alone finding the time to develop the new schemes of work, create appropriate resources and acquire suitable software.

I worry the short timescale for this change means a great number of schools are going to end up buying in schemes of work (or using ones that come "free" with expensive software packages) rather than rolling their own, and having lessons delivered by staff who don't have the necessary subject knowledge. If we're not careful, this could mean Computer Science lessons end up just as "Dull and Harmful" as the ICT lessons they replace.

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scep
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Can I just clarify one thing please:

ICT IS NOT BEING SCRAPPED!

If this proposal goes through, ICT will remain a compulsory subject under the National Curriculum. You just won't have to follow the current ICT programme of study (the ICT curriculum that sets out what has to be taught and how you assess pupils) if you don't want to.

LEdgeley
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:11 pm

scep said:


ICT IS NOT BEING SCRAPPED!

If this proposal goes through, ICT will remain a compulsory subject under the National Curriculum. You just won't have to follow the current ICT programme of study (the ICT curriculum that sets out what has to be taught and how you assess pupils) if you don't want to.


Aye, but there's the rub - if the subject is compulsory, but the content entirely at the school's discretion, there's nothing to stop such shenanigans as pupils having an annual "ICT day" where the entire curriculum is "covered". I know that sounds ridiculous but there are schools that deliver (or at least pay lip-service towards delivering) PSHE & Citizenship through that mechanism, and it frees up space on the timetable for more Maths or English lessons (which are valued more highly by many school leaders because of their effect on league-table rankings).

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scep
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:41 pm

LEdgeley said:


Aye, but there's the rub – if the subject is compulsory, but the content entirely at the school's discretion, there's nothing to stop such shenanigans as pupils having an annual "ICT day" where the entire curriculum is "covered".


Apart from HM Inspectorate you mean? Academies don't have to follow the National Curriuclum (in ICT or any other subject) at the moment, but they do have to provide a "broad and balanced curriculum". I certainly don't know of any acadamies that have an "annual ICT day" or similar. And fee-paying schools can do what the hell they want and they seem to have the best ICT/Computing curricula going (but that's another story.) 

All this proposal would do is release us from the egregious targets and levels. The ICT curriculum content itself at the moment is pretty flexible (but for historical reasons got weirdly transmogrified into MS Secretarial Training in many schools)

What does worry me is the possibility od ICT being delivered across the curriculum without a shed load of CPD.

steveking
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:26 pm

tonygo2 said:


Python runs perfectly on the school’s existing Windows PCs
and is free to install but how many teachers can make use of it?


Er, I do, and have for a few years now. I was teaching Python to year 9 before Christmas, and only yesterday was getting my GCSE class to write some simple C++ having never see it before (but can program in python, so it wasn't a huge leap for them).

There are a number of local schools who teach computing, and hopefully today's announcement will get the majority of schools teaching it.  The problem is the the lack of teacher ability, and this is a huge problem.  I was only half awake this morning when I heard the radio, but I think I heard it say that there were only 3 teachers who qualified last year with a computing-based degree. The two of us in the "ICT" department where I work both have computing-based degrees, so maybe we're special. I've been a network manager and my colleague has been a programmer and we both enjoy teaching computing.

Gove and Ofsted are right (did I just say that!?) about ICT; the GCSE is dull and a waste of time (don't even mention the OCR Nationals!) and I can't remember the last time I looked at the KS3 ICT framework as it's too dull for words to express.

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scep
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:24 am

steveking said:


the KS3 ICT framework [is] too dull for words to express.


Within this framework I do a unit on Geocaching (we get to run about in the woods with GPS units ); programming in Scratch and Gamemaker; photo retouching in Photoshop including a project on the ethicas of Photoshopping in the media etc etc.

The framework is pretty loose and adapatable TBH. People always moan about databases at KS3, for example, but the word is not even used in the curriculum. As I said, the targets and assessment are awful so I'd be glad to see these go.

We should bear in mind, of course, that the ICT/Computing teachers on this forum are not representative of the group as a whole.

steveking
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:37 pm

scep said:


steveking said:


the KS3 ICT framework [is] too dull for words to express.


Within this framework I do a unit on Geocaching (we get to run about in the woods with GPS units ); programming in Scratch and Gamemaker; photo retouching in Photoshop including a project on the ethicas of Photoshopping in the media etc etc.

The framework is pretty loose and adapatable TBH. People always moan about databases at KS3, for example, but the word is not even used in the curriculum. As I said, the targets and assessment are awful so I'd be glad to see these go.


I enjoy some of the KS3 ICT I teach, but that's because I gloss over the boring bits and do things I enjoy (so I do a fair bit of photo editing and we spend ages doing Scratch).  My year 8 are just starting to make a product packaging (so DTP) and will then go on to film an advert and edit it including playing with Audacity.   Tomorrow I'm going to get my year 9 to figure out about emails by looking at the headers and hopefully learning a bit about dns and what not, but I have no idea how or where that fits into the framework... but I'd rather enthuse the students about things they're interested in than read that framework again.

I struggle to have much enthusiasm for the ICT GCSE though, although after OCR Nationals and DiDA at least it's a "real" GCSE.  It's their exam tomorrow; they better all do well!


We should bear in mind, of course, that the ICT/Computing teachers on this forum are not representative of the group as a whole.


Yes, very true. Were there really only 3 ICT teachers trained last year who had CompSci degrees? If I look at the mates I am still in contact with from university I'm the one who earns the least...  well, apart from the one who has recently trained to be a physics teacher!

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scep
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:19 pm

steveking said:


Yes, very true. Were there really only 3 ICT teachers trained last year who had CompSci degrees?


Without checking I think this is a stat from the Nesta 'Next Gen' report. If you had  a CS degree would you go into a job paying £21500 for a 60+ hour week just to be head-butted by some 15 year old kid and then be suspended for six-months because they said you hit them first? Hmmm...  decisions decisons

1aws
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:46 pm

scep said:

If you had  a CS degree would you go into a job paying £21500 for a 60+ hour week just to be head-butted by some 15 year old kid and then be suspended for six-months because they said you hit them first? Hmmm...  decisions decisons
Spot on scep.  Average salaries for suitably qualified CS graduates is in the region of £30,000 - £35,000; I believe.  The chances of increasing the teaching workforce with appropriately qualified teachers of Computing are very remote; hence the popularity of ICT with school heedies.  This proposed curriculum change will be fiercely fought by both the teaching profession and their managers.  I believe a more subtle solution has to be found.

Gauss
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:02 pm

** I am a Year 13 student and am (grades permitting) going to study CompSci at Uni come September **

I welcome the removal of a fixed ICT curriculum but worry that we will end up with a two or even three tier IT education.

-The minimalist tier, as already mentioned, will do as little as possible to meet their compulsory IT - whether that is integrating it into other subjects or special 'IT' days.

-The average school. They can't get hold of a real CompSci teacher so will teach out of a textbook/from online tutorials/other fixed resources. Their students will not really have to think for themselves (which is the whole point of CompSci!) and the 'answers' will always be available for cheaters.

-The lucky school. They netted a CompSci teacher who isn't incompetent, their CompSci curriculum focuses on problem solving and allows students to advance at their own paces (after all, most of it should be YOUR work) doing their own interesting problems.

This will lend to an even more confused image of Computer Science and it's associated disciplines in the public eye.

Of course I agree that the important point on any new curriculum is to avoid tied software/hardware from the likes of Microsoft, and would love to see a more developed curriculum - but unless the Universities and interested companies band together to form one we will end up with yet another broken subject which requires information regurgitation more than understanding.

max1zzz
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:42 pm

At first i was really excited about this (ICT is the most pointless subject in the curriculum)

But 3 things really disappoint me now, one is that it is unlikley that it will go through in time for me to see any benefit  (I'm 15, in Y10 at school), two is that even if it did it would probably be based around some ms software (personally i think it should be compulsory to teach students in multiple os's, even if there just in a vm) third is that we would be the average school (only pushed into average because we are a "Maths and Computing" school, and still our head of IT would be very hesitant)

1aws
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Re: ICT to be scrapped

Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:06 pm

It is great to read the refreshing comments of Gauss and max1zzz. They are at the receiving end of the chalkface so will know this better than most of us. I am looking forward to more posts by yourselves.  For me, problem solving is what Computer Science is all about.  It takes a certain type of mind to enjoy that, in my opinion.

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