W. H. Heydt
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Pi gets a mention...

Wed May 08, 2019 2:34 pm

...down towards the bottom of this https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-48188877 article on the BBC.

For those that don't follow links, the article is about a decline in CS study in British schools.

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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Wed May 08, 2019 3:50 pm

I'd like to mention the Pi.

Today I was testing some radar sensor hardware to help a research project at the Aalto University in Helsinkki.
https://www.aalto.fi/en

Part of my test gear was a Pi 3.

When I arrived on site I found two other Pi 3 doing similar service for other projects. One connected to a 5G network modem. One connected to stereoscopic cameras.

Damn things get everywhere!

ejolson
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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Wed May 08, 2019 3:53 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 2:34 pm
For those that don't follow links, the article is about a decline in CS study in British schools.
My reading of the results is different: Apparently ICT went down while CS went up. This is exactly what was supposed to happen with the reform.

To make things newsworthy the researchers created the term digital education to refer to the sum total of ICT plus CS. They then announced that the total number of people recieving a digital education went down.

Unfortunately, defining

DE = ICT + CS

only makes sense if ICT and CS are somehow equivalent. If for example CS is a hundred times more useful than ICT, then the equation should have been

DE = ICT + 100 CS

in which case, it is not at all clear that digital education is in decline.

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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Wed May 08, 2019 4:24 pm

From a sample size of one, my eldest son, the CS GCSE is avoided by many because it's deemed too difficult.

Much to my shame, he failed. Despite my continual offers of help, he failed to ask me for it.
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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Wed May 08, 2019 5:34 pm

jamesh wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 4:24 pm
From a sample size of one, my eldest son, the CS GCSE is avoided by many because it's deemed too difficult.

Much to my shame, he failed. Despite my continual offers of help, he failed to ask me for it.
I'm sorry to hear that. In my opinion, it is likely CS is 100 times more useful than ICT exactly because it is 100 times more difficult.

While failing a test can provoke a dislike for a subject, it can also lead to the humility needed to later master something of value. To make the second response more natural than the first, it helps for a young person to view their self worth not in terms of how great they are, but as intrinsic from the dignity of being human. Here is wishing your son all the best in the future.

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bensimmo
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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Wed May 08, 2019 6:01 pm

At my sons school, the children are streamed in year 9 (start of GCSE for most places) into three groups.
Top academic lot, middle lot and then the bottom academic lot.
The top lot can do computer science as an option, many do. (they for some reason aim for eBAC certification, much to our annoyance as it gives little subject choice
)
The middle lot cannot and they are sent on the ICT as an option, they can do part from up and down maybe?

The bottom lot I don't know as they are kept separate on the information, but they do more interesting things like Photography, Electronics, Engineering (practical subjects).

At least that's how I remember it at the end of the last school year option evening..

(schools about 1500/2000 people, I think most the schools close by are the same)


At the school I work in, Computer Science it an option.

As a side, the current year 10, I think are the target generation, they're the micro:bit for every year 7 children (if only that actually went as planned) and they are also about the start of the computing reforms in Primary School pupils.
So give it a year or two to see how the reforms are actually working.

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DougieLawson
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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Thu May 09, 2019 7:55 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 2:34 pm
...down towards the bottom of this https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-48188877 article on the BBC.

For those that don't follow links, the article is about a decline in CS study in British schools.
How can there be a decline in something that hasn't existed for forty years and more? There was no teaching of the computing O-levels and A-levels when I was doing my exams between 1997 & 1981.

The problem comes because not enough teachers have the first faintest clue about the subject (not withstanding that they'll have learned more since the RPi appeared in 2012). If they were specialists in computer science they wouldn't be teachers (their salaries are too low even when compared to working as a analyst/programmer in retail, banking, finance). Folks who've been doing this stuff for nearly 40 years won't jump into teaching, they can earn way more by freelancing because the market isn't saturated. The other problem is that too many jobs in computing have now gone "off-shore" because nobody is teaching the subject here in the UK.

So teaching computer science in high school remains a non-starter and there's no obvious way to kick start it.

Part of my job includes teaching graduates "Mainframers in Training" how the ancient stuff works and how to corral it into submission. The MIT apprentices get to work on-site on real systems (with all the inherent risks that they'll break things).
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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Thu May 09, 2019 9:12 am

Got to agree with Dougie. Anyone good enough to teach CS, is actually working at probably double the salary actually doing CS. When you add to the that fact that novice teachers are treated like dog poo*, attracting CS people in to the teaching industry is practically impossible.


* I know of one person who moved in to primary teaching after leaving another job after a long time, a job that was really quite high pressure and required intelligence. This person passed all the required teaching exams, but one year in to actually doing it is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, because of the pressure of the job, the complete distain he gets from other teachers, all who are younger, and in their own clique, and lack of support from the head to deal with the previous two points. The children love this person, and learn a lot, but I doubt my friend will bother for much longer.

I am also an ex-governor of a Primary school, just packed it in because the demand on my time were simply too great - and that just as a governor, an unpaid volunteer position. I wanted to put something back in, but after 6 years, just ran out of enthusiam and time. In my experience the teachers are under continual and horrible pressure. It's a crap job, with the Head having to work 14 hr days just to keep the school going. The government in this country (UK) is ruining the education system, and a lot of people lives (teachers) with its continual targets and ridiculous expectations, along with heinous lack of funding.
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bensimmo
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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Thu May 09, 2019 9:40 am

Also it should be mentioned Computer Science teachers can come from any background.
You can do an 'SKE' A short skills conversion course, which is believed to be enough to teach computer science.
I'm going to train to be a teacher, mainly as it pays more than my current job and I know what I'm letting myself in for.
I could choose any of the sciences, but am going Physics. I would do computer science, but Physics is more in demand*


*in demand as in they need science teachers, especially physics and I can teach it. they also need computer science teachers but they can pick them from other subject and not even school teaches it.

There might be all theis new national centre and millions of pound pumped in.
But why go away and learn when a quick SKE can have you teaching it. You then don't have the time to do anything other training once you're in the job. It's not as if you'll get paid any more for having any extra knowledge, you only get paid more for being there longer or reducing your teaching and going into management,
There is no supply & demand, as such.

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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Thu May 09, 2019 10:16 am

bensimmo wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:40 am
Also it should be mentioned Computer Science teachers can come from any background.
You can do an 'SKE' A short skills conversion course, which is believed to be enough to teach computer science.
I'm going to train to be a teacher, mainly as it pays more than my current job and I know what I'm letting myself in for.
I could choose any of the sciences, but am going Physics. I would do computer science, but Physics is more in demand*


*in demand as in they need science teachers, especially physics and I can teach it. they also need computer science teachers but they can pick them from other subject and not even school teaches it.

There might be all theis new national centre and millions of pound pumped in.
But why go away and learn when a quick SKE can have you teaching it. You then don't have the time to do anything other training once you're in the job. It's not as if you'll get paid any more for having any extra knowledge, you only get paid more for being there longer or reducing your teaching and going into management,
There is no supply & demand, as such.
Science as a whole needs a lot of teachers. Middle child continually complaining that they only ever have science supply teachers, which means no consistency of education. Eldest also had same problem at a different school, so not an isolated occurence.

Note my comments above are about primary schools, not secondary, which do seem to be a little better.
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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Thu May 09, 2019 10:31 am

jamesh wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 10:16 am
bensimmo wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:40 am
Also it should be mentioned Computer Science teachers can come from any background.
You can do an 'SKE' A short skills conversion course, which is believed to be enough to teach computer science.
I'm going to train to be a teacher, mainly as it pays more than my current job and I know what I'm letting myself in for.
I could choose any of the sciences, but am going Physics. I would do computer science, but Physics is more in demand*


*in demand as in they need science teachers, especially physics and I can teach it. they also need computer science teachers but they can pick them from other subject and not even school teaches it.

There might be all theis new national centre and millions of pound pumped in.
But why go away and learn when a quick SKE can have you teaching it. You then don't have the time to do anything other training once you're in the job. It's not as if you'll get paid any more for having any extra knowledge, you only get paid more for being there longer or reducing your teaching and going into management,
There is no supply & demand, as such.
Science as a whole needs a lot of teachers. Middle child continually complaining that they only ever have science supply teachers, which means no consistency of education. Eldest also had same problem at a different school, so not an isolated occurence.

Note my comments above are about primary schools, not secondary, which do seem to be a little better.

Regards UK Primary School education, my daughter was one of the Key Stage guinea pigs, someone forget to tell the Teachers the expectations, seems like nothing has changed in 30 years, which is a real shame.
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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Thu May 09, 2019 12:02 pm

At my sons Primary, computing has been pretty good.
They seem to enjoy it, have some equipment, a CodeClub is run by an external too. It did help the teachers are interested and there was one very interested, before he left.
No Pi are used as far as I know, but the influence can be seen from the Foundation.

You can see it in my eldest sons year9 comp sci and ict classes make up, the ones that know and are interested (girls and boys) are generally from this small primary.

It starts in Primary.

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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Thu May 09, 2019 9:36 pm

DougieLawson wrote: There was no teaching of the computing O-levels and A-levels when I was doing my exams between 1997 & 1981.
Sorry Dougie, presumably you failed both History and Maths? :lol:

[rant]
Apart from that, I have to agree with the general thread sentiment about the treatment of teachers. Some years ago, when an engineering job ended, I spent a fortnight in a primary school as a first step towards retraining as a teacher. I loved it, and (from that and other experiences) I know I can teach. The feedback I got was positive, but I was left entirely on my own to find a teaching post and on-the-job training (I could not afford to do a full-time course without a salary). Despite the stated need for science/tech qualified teachers in primary schools, only one school with a vacancy within 20 miles (London suburbs) would consider employing a teacher while training (possible negative effect on school results -- teaching qualification more important than subject knowledge). Unfortunately in that one school the other teacher in the same year group was already in training, and two teachers in training was a step too far.

I have also had no response to offers to take maths and tech into my local primary as a volunteer, despite being DBS checked in another capacity.
[/rant]
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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Thu May 09, 2019 11:27 pm

That's OK. Now that I see that Dougie is traveling backwards in time everything he says becomes much clearer :)

Anyway, what's that about? I completed my A Level CS in 1976.
... teaching qualification more important than subject knowledge ...
Since ever I can remember there has been a great emphasis on teaching qualifications. And a great deal spent on teacher training colleges and such. Which sounds reasonable, having a great deal of subject knowledge does not mean one has the faintest clue as to how to teach it.

But, since ever I can remember, everyone has been complaining about how our schools and educational system is getting worse and worse.

I also recollect that the teachers I respected the most and learned the most from were actually experienced and passionate about what they were teaching. Not, say, the hapless souls that had degrees in anthropology but ended up teaching science because the school could not get a science teacher.

One might conclude then that it's time to consider scrapping all that teaching qualification stuff, firing all the teachers than don't have a good grounding in what they are teaching, and trying something else.

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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Fri May 10, 2019 2:54 am

As a parent with a primary age kid not in the UK, I am worried about my Country's education system.
There is no way teachers can be trained to teach basic CS in a reasonable time frame especially with those low wages.
Not in my kid's 7 or so years left in school.

Keep coming across terms like "flipped classroom".
The teachers making sure the tools are working, setting problems and getting out of the way and letting kids learn how to self learn.
Changing the education system?

Took me 4-5 years of using Pi's before I had even heard of Computer Science Degrees and I work in a University :oops: .
Just managed to catch an Open Day talk about CS, light bulb went off, no wonder I was having trouble with Pi's
Did some checking, yep my brain might not be up to scratch to do CS.

My limited experience with Primary schools, it seems to depend on the Principle's policies and the teacher's passion.
They mostly seem to stick to the rigid Education Department's curriculum which seems to put the kids in rigid boxes.

So I gave my kid my old Windows PC, an internet connection and minimal supervision.
He can touch type 140 words a minute or some ridiculous speed that wears out cheap keyboards in months.
He know more about current music artists and songs than the wife who is a trained musician and teacher.

The kid taught himself how to read, days of the week and time by looking for Top Gear on the TV guide.
And who knew Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear can teach Geography, re the source of the Nile to 5 year olds :o
Seems like he is wasting time going to school apart from his horrible handwriting ;)

Connected kids know about social memes and are way more up to date than parents about social issues.
Forget curriculum and teach kids how to learn for themselves?

How much time do teachers spend measuring results and collecting statistics?
Who would want to be a teacher these days?
Here, most teachers have left the system 5 years after graduating.
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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Fri May 10, 2019 6:06 am

Gavinmc42,

I have pretty much come to the conclusion that it does not matter what they do in schools.

Young kids are really, really, good at one thing... They very quickly pick up on what their parents, family and adult friends around do, from a very young age. See how fast they learn to speak for example, even without anyone really teaching them anything. They will imitate anything, even if they don't understand it, see how much of play is an imitation of the actions of adults around them or what they see on TV etc. I recall scribbling "writing" along the lines of a blank school exercise book even before I knew what writing words and spelling actually was.

In short, what they need is an interesting life at home. If parents and such are doing interesting things they will play along and fill their minds. If nothing interesting is happening at home they will get to school with empty heads, and by that time it's likely too late for any school to fix it.

Certainly I thought my secondary school was a zoo. Like being sent to prison for five years. Forcefully removed from doing all the interesting things I had going on at home. Had those teachers "flipped" the class and left them alone to learn, the place would certainly have been flipped, trashed. Most kids came out hardly able to write at 15. But a few came out pretty well despite all that. It was very noticeable that those few had interesting parents and all kind of activities/interests at home.

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DougieLawson
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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Fri May 10, 2019 7:44 am

davidcoton wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:36 pm

Sorry Dougie, presumably you failed both History and Maths? :lol:
I didn't fail that way. I failed by fat fingering an Android keyboard.
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Re: Pi gets a mention...

Fri May 10, 2019 7:47 am

Young kids are really, really, good at one thing... They very quickly pick up on what their parents, family and adult friends around do, from a very young age......
Yep...

Roblox made a new game and it had a piano in it, other players jumped on and made tunes on it.
The kid spent 1 1/2 days teaching himself how to play piano on the computer keyboard.
Then he spent hours practicing one tune to play in the game.
Now he want to learn the Violin because a YouTuber makes videos with guess the soundtrack and tunes the kids knows :o
https://www.youtube.com/user/robertlandes1/videos
Rob Landes is a genius at grabbing kids attentions, short enough to fit their attention span :lol:
Our kid is getting an electric violin for his birthday, real ones are just so noisy ;)

That stuff just cannot be taught in structed learning schools?
Capturing kids interests must be the hardest thing for teachers to do.

If that report is accurate then the Raspberry Pi's still have not made enough impact?
"We are investing £84m over the next four years to up-skill up to 8,000 computer science teachers and drive up participation in computer science," said a spokesperson.
Sounds like a bandaid solution that might take 4 years before the teachers are trained, in the meantime nearly a generation of kids has missed out. And if teachers leave after 5 years then they only get 1 year out of them before they quit for a lower stress job?

Kids can learn faster than us oldies.
Why not just teach these teachers how to turn Pi's on and then let the kids figure them out?
And then the kids can teach the teachers and each other.

Saw TV news this morning, STEM classes for girls only now because the boys tend to dominate the conversation.
STEM for females, no males allowed?
By secondary school the girls tend to distract the boys attention in other ways ;)
Perhaps co-ed schools are not working?

Most teachers these days are usually female, maybe 95% at my kid's primary school.
Lucky we only send him there to practice writing, some social skills and because it is compulsory.
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