Raspberry wino wrote:
People who want to increase the concentration of commercial power in such foreign corporations to the detriment of genuine open source education instead of teaching principles of hardware and software and non-propietary languages have probably already been bought.
Thanks for restarting this, I was enjoying the debate!
I cant remember who it was who pointed this out originally on here (Scep possibly), but the "reboot" and of ICT into "Digital Literacy" and "Computer Science" is in no small part down to the lobbying of big foreign corporations. It was Eric Schmidt who provided one of the main soundbites for this with his comments about how the UK is in grave danger of abandoning it's heritage as the pioneer of computing. (As well as a lot of hard work from CAS, BCS and the Royal Society). (And conspiracy theorists like me who think Rupert Murdoch's corporations recent disgrace may have played a small part too, but I wont go into that) The result is that we can weed out a lot of the cr** from ICT and stick with the useful stuff and that's "digital literacy." And we get to teach proper computer science, even better than the "computer studies" lessons I used to do at school with BBC micro's back in the 80's and early 90's.
So what happened there exactly..?
Big corporations like MS and Google worked for in harmony with the little guys. A lot of the OS community and smaller companies are represented by BCS and the others. On their own as individual companies and sole developers they are too small to be heard, but when they join forces in an organisation such as BCS their combined shout's become pretty damn loud.
Add too it that the clamor raised by the people with big bucks and the shout is unignorable. The persistent work on this from academics, businesses and the final push from the big corps turned the balance.
What we actually have now is a big blank book that needs to be filled. There is nothing and nobody who is saying "you must use this propriety software" or whatever - I know this is a fact because I am in it now trying to help to fill the book in my own small way.
What we can have is advertising and salespeople trying to sell us stuff and believe me every day I have a small forest worth of junk mail in my pigeon hole from little companies who are trying to sell me their own solution to the "no computer science teaching resources" problem. MS is marketing their own stuff too but no one is forcing anyone to use any of it!
I had a great day today, I have a new student teacher with me, brand new into schools and very green behind the ears. He's going to be one of the last generation of IT graduates who can be trained as from next year they will all have to be Computer Science grads. Anyway, he did a bit of Java in the past and hated it. He's now getting into making a programming scheme of work for year 7's / 11 year olds.
I stuck him on http://www.learnpython.org
for a bit , stipulated that first he had to do hello world, then do what is your name? hello your name.
Got him to look at lists and arrays, a few basic loops and then showed him "hunt the wumpus". Took about 30 minutes.
His project is to develop a sequence of lessons to introduce these basic tenants and then make an extended project where students will have to develop their own text based adventure game which is similar to this old classic. He went from being a bit of a programming-phobe to enthusiastic in a couple of hours and managed to future proof his career ... rambling on a bit now, anyway, stuff like that will feed back into his university, will raise the profile of none-MS stuff - but - and this is important - folks will evaluate and weigh up all the ways of doing things, be it Python, C or even MS Smallbasic and they will all be in contention, this will be an ongoing phenomenon too, I don't see things going back to a situation like "ICT is just Microsoft stuff"
I dont think it's particularly constructive to disregard a system just because it's made by a big company instead of a small one. Let's face it, the small companies all dream of being big ones anyway and from where I am dangling on the chalkface right now it looks to me as if the playing field is about as level and competitive as it's possible to be.