hyena
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:41 am

Hi,

First of all before I comment on "Clive" the teacher's comments (or in fact the
foundations apparent support of them) let me first say that I have absolutely
zero time for our Minister of Education in the UK (Mr Gove) or many his
policies .. however I.M.H.O.  as a parent with a child in state school (thankfully a Grammar School) and with 4 nephews and nieces in state schools :

1. I think "Clive" especially as a teacher should be setting an example to both
children and his peers, this is not an "adult humour" forum its "meant" to be the CORE ASSET AND INTERFACE of an educational charitable foundation.  Unlike its peers
in the U.S.A. this forum isn't C.O.P.P.A. compliant and many children and impressionable teenagers reading/posting will take the view that its fine to
insult figures of authority in this way.  By all means post intellectual and rational critique of a persons professional performance/policies and before someone says "get a
life" .. this is not humour its personal abuse and moreover its pretty stupid to personally insult the guy in the govt. whose pen stroke is most able to help with the foundation's aims of getting pi's in to classrooms ! stupid !

2. Originally when I was a kid, IT in schools was driven fundamentally by teachers with an intense interest in personal computing and without the huge sums of money thrown around in schools nowadays on "ICT".
The result was that many of us were soldering, etching circuit boards and coding (albeit only in basic and Pascal) before we sat our O'Levels.  Much of this was done by teachers after school in their own time who brought in their own computers (PET's, Acorn atoms, Apple 2's, TRS80's etc).  That really has been with me throughout my career in finance at "C" level in international software/hardware firms, telco's and financial services.  In simple terms I have gained a hell of a lot of benefit from great teachers who in their own time (so unpaid !) passed on their own interest and knowledge.  P.S. I went to state school in a very poor part of the N.W. of England in the days before the government swilled vast sums of money around schools, teachers and paid trades union positions !.

3. Fast forward to today .. and we have something called ICT which as a parent it seems to me to be teaching how to use ms office and switch on a computer and not much more and moreover in the case of many state schools it's taught by teachers with little knowledge of computing (hardware or software) and even less interest in it.
(usually the kids know more than the teachers).

Now not all state schools are like this in the school my child is at the teachers run (in their own time) after school classes in basic electronics and programming ...

However, sadly my 4 nephews and nieces just have ICT taught by teachers whose
prime skillset is English or P.E. and with zero interest and not much more knowledge of the subject.  (the reason I will be buying a couple of pi's for them for my father to teach them) so although there are no after hours classes for them at school instead my father will be running them  !
...

In terms of the Pi, from what I have seen money isn't an issue in the vast majority of schools, pi's cost circa £40 each (cased and psu) and all schools nowadays that I have seen are kitted out with pc's keyboards, TFT's en mass .. so 10 pi's is £400 which all schools will have no issue in finding if we are honest .. the real issue is finding schools with teachers with an interest in pushing for them to be bought and with the
interest and basic knowledge to use and teach using them.

4. On to the current government's policies and the foundations goals - The current govt. to its credit has recognised that the standard of both teaching and course content for "ICT" in the UK is very poor across the board and very patchy from school
to school and has committed to do something about it ...

... here should be where the foundation come in to lobby our Education Minister ... so lets hope "Clive" the teacher can set a better example going forward.

5. It's a sad statistic that the 200 best performing schools in the UK are private or the few grammar schools that are left  .. and sadly you can see this also in the enquiries to the foundation where enquires about the pi from private schools are running at 5x the rate of those from state schools (whose numbers are vastly greater).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/educ.....ng-schools

.. now none of this is a money issue or a curriculum issue IMHO its a lack of interest, knowledge, imagination and commitment from many state schools.

hope it helps

rgds

ian

Phil Spiegel
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:25 am

I'm not sure that simply highlighting a post on the 'front page' should be interpreted 'either way' as endorsing or condemming part or all of its content - simply drawing attention to it to promote comment ?

Equally; it is well known about lies, damn lies, and statistics .... I'm amazed at the number of posts from people* asking basic (is that on a non-word here in another context?? ) questions which are well answered in earlier replies or FAQ etc.

Have I missed a classification of correpondents into 'public'/'private' institutions ?

(Perhaps for those* readers, the basic info needs repeating at the top of each page?, with built-in text-to-speech?)  On the other hand, its taken me some time to find the 'best?' way of reading just the newer posts [just the left box new/recently..] at top AND bottom of posts..

Whilst this period may appear a 'lull' in events to 'us' (the readers), it is probably a hectic time for 'admin' working to a delivery deadline for batch 1  [there's nothing like a deadline to work to!] and sorting batch 2 and the gerb board and...

Meanwhile we appear to have politicians/officials redefining the english language with new interpretations of 'average' and 'oustanding': does the latter mean they have not filled in all their forms???

There will certainly be a case for the 'forum'/website splitting into 'specialised areas' of support for the product when it gets into school use... but at present its

people twiddling their thumbs waiting, and waffling too much like I've just done 8-(

Garacesh
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:32 am

I'm currently an Apprentice IT Technician at a public secondary school in the UK and I'd love some kind of afterschool class with Pi's (even though I don't know how much use I'd be there - I know naff all about Linux). Unfortunately, I doubt the kids here really have much interest in it. I'll still be buying one for myself, though.

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clive
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:16 am

hyena said:


1. I think "Clive" especially as a teacher should be setting an example to both children and his peers


I set an example for 50 hours a week. An excellent one.Thanks for the advice anyway.

If I'm writing satire, however, (and you do get that it is satire, don't you? Don't you? ) then there are no sacred cows. None. If you truly think that kids reading such material will "believe its fine to insult figures of authority in this way" then perhaps you need to keep them off the Web altogeher, for there are far worse things there than a satirical pop at the Government.

While you're at it, turn off the TV, close the curtains and build yourself a priesthole, because the world is a bad, bad place. I once heard a boy say "bumgravy!" in the playground the other day for example; now all the kids are doing it. (That's satire again BTW

Teachers are not some nonpareil schema for the perfect human being. (Sometimes I have even been known to break wind. ) The kids may think that we disappear into pod-like recharging stations in the sportshall for the weekend. Adults should know better.

It's precisely because I am a teacher that I can write about such things. I cannot help that you do not approve of my writing, but it seems to have been generally well received by actual teachers - and others - so I'll keep plodding on, thanks.

rpt
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:24 am

hyena said:


...many children and impressionable teenagers reading/posting will take the view that its fine to insult figures of authority in this way.


Good. We live in a democracy where it is absolutely fine to insult the government. Compulsory, in fact. Authority figures (teachers as well as ministers) have to earn respect. Even the queen isn't exempt.

Alchemy
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:08 am

Once upon a time a minster was working within an institution of government. You could argue not to make personal comments as they represented a larger entity than themselves. That changed.

Unfortunately things got more personal. Ministers were expected to resign for the departments mistakes. If you are a minister judged by "your" decisions you naturally expect to make them yourself. Well that's how I see it. We got the reactionary short term government we deserve.

That said the blog is fantastic. And fun is a form of energy. Programming or rather "system analysis"  is applicatious in every way.

Lynbarn
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:11 am

clive. said:


It's precisely because I am a teacher that I can write about such things. I cannot help that you do not approve of my writing, but it seems to have been generally well received by actual teachers - and others - so I'll keep plodding on, thanks.


As a school governor for 20 years (in Infant, High, and Grammar Schools), I have to say that anyone who has seen good teachers in action in the classroom (esp. secondary level) will understand exactly where you are coming from. It does take a special kind of person to devote themselves to such a vocation, particularly in this country, it seems, where teachers are nowhere near as valued by society as they are in other parts of the world. I would say a keen sense of humour is an essential part of the teaching toolkit, and long may you continue plodding on...

Lynbarn
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:19 am

hyena said:


.. now none of this is a money issue or a curriculum issue IMHO its a lack of interest, knowledge, imagination and commitment from many state schools.



Based on Clive's first blog posting, I would say he is showing quite clearly that these things are NOT universally lacking in state schools, and his message can only help to improve the situation where they do currently prevail. More power to his (patched) elbow!

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Luny
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:33 am

Hyena, you would probably like Qatar. There the comedians wouldn't dream of 'insulting' the politicians as they believe they do a good job and it just seems to be part of their culture. Good luck to them.

Over here, we adore satire and do not belieive most politicians do a good job. Well the ones currently in the news anyway. Satire is part of free speech. Radio 2 & 4 regularly talk about politicians in such a way, I wonder how many teenagers listen to the News Quiz or the Now show.I wonder how many politicians call us the unwashed or the prolls? Bet they have a good laugh over a cuppa / whiskey, insulting their voters. I believe some have done it on twitter, for everyone to read.

Clive, plod on mate. I enjoyed your style of writing and look forward to the next.

Gove... He works for the Gov.. Geddit. Doh!
Luny

st599
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:43 am

Garacesh said:


I'm currently an Apprentice IT Technician at a public secondary school in the UK and I'd love some kind of afterschool class with Pi's (even though I don't know how much use I'd be there - I know naff all about Linux). Unfortunately, I doubt the kids here really have much interest in it. I'll still be buying one for myself, though.



Why, if it's a public school, could you not just charge to cover these classes?  I could understand a state school being reluctant/unable to fund it, but a public school shouldn't notice the difference.

rpt
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:59 am

st599 said:


Garacesh said:


I'm currently an Apprentice IT Technician at a public secondary school in the UK and I'd love some kind of afterschool class with Pi's (even though I don't know how much use I'd be there - I know naff all about Linux). Unfortunately, I doubt the kids here really have much interest in it. I'll still be buying one for myself, though.


Why, if it's a public school, could you not just charge to cover these classes?  I could understand a state school being reluctant/unable to fund it, but a public school shouldn't notice the difference.


I suspect he means state school.

For our American readers:


In the UK, a public school is actually a private school! They are usually the most expensive private schools with Eton perhaps being the most famous.
What Americans call a public school is called a state school here.

chorlton
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:34 pm

Is this a thread to seriously discuss Michael Gove's (or Pob's) new ICT policies or comment on Clive's writing, because I think there's a definite case for the former.

I came through UK secondary education in the 80s, exactly at the time of the BBC micro. I was also lucky enough that my school taught O-grade Computing (precursors to GCSE) where we learned some hardware basics – I seem to recall lots of stuff about PROMs and EPROMs – and also learned BBC Basic. I clearly remember projects, all text based, such as "sort a sequence of 52 cards into order H,D,S,C – 2..9,J,Q,K,A" and "Write a quiz which displays the following Motorway LED signs and offers multiple choice answers. record the score". Small projects but exactly the right kind of thing to get your problem solving hats on.

Computing was taught by one of the Maths teachers and I have no idea what, if any official qualifications she had to teach computing. As an adult now, I wouldn't be suprised if she was sent a copy of the syllabus and was only a couple of pages ahead of us. But she did explain that my implementation of the card sorting routine was a bubble-sort so she knew enough theory for the level.

And it worked. I'm a full time developer. Top-of-the-class went to work for Rare on Goldeneye.

So my thoughts about promoting computing back to a proper 'discipline' in schools are


Can it work the same way as it did in the eighties, or has modern computing become too complex?
Can it be taught by keen teachers with an interest, or does it need official qualifications? If so, how long does it take to develop proper ICT teacher-training courses and put a course of student teachers through?
How do you get something cheap and commoditised, like the raspberry pi, into use before Microsoft turn up offering free copies of C# Visual Studio?
And I realise this might be discussed elsewhere, and know they must be actively following it, but since it's relevant to the topic; what level are the foundation targeting to get Pis into schools; national government, local, school or relying on keen teachers? It's great that Clive is interested, but does Pob know about the Pi?

Like the original poster, I can't stand Michael Gove, but I reluctantly applaud what seems to be a step in the right direction.

tufty
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:51 pm

I strongly suspect that the "insults" aimed at the Right Honorable Michael Gove MP are not aimed personally at him because he"s a nasty, odious little neo-conservative toady who knows less about education than the average rat turd, and who champions the market forces philosophy that is currently destroying not only the economies of, but also any remaining bastions of decency and social honour in, the western world, but rather because he is the current incumbent in a system that happily gives control of our children"s (and thus our own) future to short-termist politicians whose major goal in life is to be re-elected, that control being given based on membership of a particular party rather than actual ability.

I am in agreement that, no, he shouldn"t be subject to ridicule because he"s an ex-journalist trying to fake it as education secretary, nor for his sound-bite politics or even for his repellent (to me) political convictions. I"m certain that in his own way, he"s trying to do his best. Ridicule is not apropriate - he should be lined up against a wall with the rest of Westminster"s career politicians, who seem to believe the best way forward for the country is to extract their policies from op-ed pieces in the Daily Mail. Unfortunately, ridicule is all we have available at the moment.

bbramble
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:51 pm


clive. said:

I set an example for 50 hours a week. An excellent one.Thanks for the advice anyway.


Clive, as a parent of a teenager and a full-time IT professional (supposedly), can I say that your first blog post was great and I look forward to more.

To the OP - the most important thing we can ever teach children is to think for themselves and not doggedly follow authority "just because". If we don't then society will stagnate - new advances rely on someone "thinking different" and being confident to upset the status-quo, whether that is political, scientific or societal.

tufty
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:54 pm

Dammit.  Forum software ate my <politics> tags. and now I can't edit my post to put them back in.

Anyhoo, carry on, "Clive", whoever you are.  More power to your elbow patches.

Simon

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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:29 pm

I feel a lot of empathy for Clive and what he’s doing.  I consider myself to have quite a high level of understand and skill with computers.  I am mainly a systems and software engineer, which means I have never developed at hardware level.  So I too have felt somewhat bewildered by a lot of the conversations that have been happening on this board.  I appreciate that all the heavy technical stuff is important and necessary but you’ll probably feel excluded if you have no familiarity with it.  Because of this I have found myself posting less and less often as the hardcore tech threads increase.  I’m also sick to death with all the moaners and complainers about the closed source GPU, enough is enough!  Despite this though I have been trying to read around and understand.

So when I read Clive’s post on the front page I thought it was a real breath of fresh air.  I also only have a rudimentary understanding of Linux and will be using the Raspberry Pi as a learning device just out of my own personal interest.  I think this is a fantastic idea and will give the public something to really latch onto as they learn and experiment.

By the way Clive, I am also trained as an Archaeologist and we always try to perpetuate the stereotypical image.  Which is a tweed jacket with suede elbow patches!

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liz
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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:45 pm

OP, while you are busy despising Michael Gove and all his works (I am clearly the only person in this thread who thinks MG is doing a pretty spectacular job under difficult [cough Fiona Millar cough] conditions; this is partly because trying to get any Raspberry Pi stuff moving under the last administration was like banging your head on a brick wall, while the current incumbents have been a joy to work with - and I think Free Schools are one of the best things to happen in education for a very, very long time) you should, I am sure, recognise that Gove and his civil servants are at least smart enough to understand that Clive does not speak with the Foundation's voice. He speaks for himself and for a particular group of teachers; and he's very good at it, which is why we invited him to blog here. We do not for a moment think that what Clive writes here will insult any one person enough to make them peevishly refuse to deal with us.

Your peevishness may vary.
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

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Re: "Clive", Gove, teaching and "ICT" in UK Schools

Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:19 am

Since my father was a teacher (Gymnasium, in Switzerland called Cantonal Scool - sorry, have no idea how this is matching the anglo-saxian educational system... it's just the school preparing people for an academic career at the university) I know quite a few teachers personally. Mostly they really want to do a good job and do a lot for it.

Second I have seen quite many people in the IT-business and some science domains having a really deep knowledge but are really incapable of teaching anything. Great guys, still, but no teachers.

I too know what parents think the teachers should do. In fact they often think the teachers should simply do everything they are incapable or too lazy to do themselves. And they should do it exactly the same way the parents would do it. And of course the children are already higly intelligent and behave always well - they are born that way because their parents were born that way too.

So... what else can a teacher do than not care too much about what all the others want him to do and develop some sarcasm to have some answers ready in case of emergency?

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