Have we made a mistake with GCSE options?

(35 Posts)
SophiaWinters Tue 03-Jul-12 16:59:43

My son is ending Year 8 and this week they've started their Year 9 lessons. He is potentially interested in a career in computer programming and he loves history although doesn't see history being involved in a career. With this in mind the options he has chosen is ICT and History. Next year he'll be able to choose more options.

Son had his first GCSE ICT lesson today and has come away a little downbeat sad He said nearly half the class are boys who are know to muck around and be disruptive in lessons which today as expected they did. Teacher set them a task to do and the software available to do said task is dated 2000. Son has the same software at home but a much more up-to-date version, he said it took him ages to do the task because it is so old nothing seemed familiar on screen. He has complained to me before about the software being very outdated but I somehow thought that for a GCSE course they would use something a little more modern and relevant to the task.

The other options he had to choose from were Media Studies (we thought this would be a "soft" option), Sport (son isn't sporty and doesn't enjoy it much), Geography (not a favorite subject but he may consider this for the next round of options), Language (he's doing Spanish as a subject anyway but didn't want this as a GCSE option), Music (not musical at all).

Has anyone's child done ICT as a GCSE and what did you or your child think about it? What software did they get to use and how outdated or new was the software? I don't expect a school to have the most up-to-date version of everything but 12 years old seems a little dated. I would also expect the industry standard software to be used but maybe I'm just getting this all wrong in my head.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Wed 04-Jul-12 16:46:45

Drop ICT. Pick a language, Geography or Music instead.

By the sounds of things he'll be capable of figuring a lot of computer stuff out in his spare time. Encourage that side of things, and if he keeps it up he'll be better positioned for work/further studies than if he does ICT.

As someone who has worked in software development, managed developers and is married to one, I would say that a tutor for this is unnecessary. There are many places he can go online to learn about various languages and to ask specific questions whilst he is learning - the development community is generally very helpful, or if you and he would prefer something more structured, spend the money you would spend on a tutor on some good introductory guides to various languages. Most of the very very good developers I worked with (in a high tech industry) were self-taught to some extent. There were not that many with degrees at all, and even fewer with Comp Sci degrees.

Also, tell him working with old software is a handy skill to learn. Most developers end up working with legacy systems and software at sometime.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 04-Jul-12 17:51:09

Would it be too extreme to say that anyone who needs a tutor to learn how to program is unlikely to be suited to it as a career?

A bit like, anyone who needs to go on a creative writing course wouldn't be my bet to win the Booker.

forevergreek Wed 04-Jul-12 18:32:12

Ict was always just one we had to take

Everyone had to do 12, think we only chose 3 the rest were complusory

I think it only became useful to life later in at a level

SophiaWinters Thu 05-Jul-12 05:57:24

WhatMakesYouSay, thank you for that information. I'm sure he will continue with the self teaching as he enjoys it very much and I will tell him what you have said about working with the older software.

sashh Thu 05-Jul-12 06:34:01

What does a raspberry pi do that a computer doesn't do?

It does a lot less in many ways, but it's £25, not bad for a computer and you can (I believe - mine's on order) allow you to program in assembly code - so you learn how the computer is handling data, not just that it does.

Teaching himself languages is probably the best way to go. Once you can program in one language you can easily transfer to another.

I've been using matlab recently and love it, but the principles I use are the same as I used on my ZX80.

HandMadeTail Thu 05-Jul-12 06:44:33

Someone like Kazuo Ishiguro, Grimma?

Not sure about your statement about programming, but the analogy doesn't really hold up.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 05-Jul-12 07:50:52

I don't suppose he needed to wink

Dwafffamily Tue 11-Dec-12 10:39:17

My son is in yr9 and yesterday they had an 'options' day. He says he is considering doing the computing gcse. Does this differ to the usual ict gcse? I know the ict was considered rubbish and wondered if the computing is a different end or indeed the same and just labelled differently?

lljkk Tue 11-Dec-12 13:39:19

.l (I want to know too).
Note: ZOMBIE thread otherwise.

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