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to worry about ICT teaching in schools

(60 Posts)
ReallyTired Thu 03-Jan-13 20:07:36

My eleven year old son has been having great fun with a raspberry pi. He has played with Scratch and is learning Python. He is trying to get the raspberry pi to work with temperature sensor.

Going round secondary schools I got the impression that ICT curriculum in secondary schools will have very little to excite him. I have worked with ICT teachers who know less than my son.

Am I unreasonable to worry that ICT teaching in secondary schools is little more than learning Microsoft Word?

Hulababy Thu 03-Jan-13 22:31:17

I agree that the main issue for many schools is the lack of decent ICT equipment and siftware, even more so at primary level.

Catchingmockingbirds Thu 03-Jan-13 22:49:34

Yabu, I learned how to program computers when I done ICT in secondary school.

peaceandlovebunny Thu 03-Jan-13 22:57:03

is that all you have to worry about?

Catchingmockingbirds Thu 03-Jan-13 23:12:06

What an odd post peace.

numbum Thu 03-Jan-13 23:52:06

My 7 year old trumped his IT geek dad by setting the raspberry pi up as a media centre for the TV santa bought him.

Minniet Mon 07-Jan-13 23:37:21

I teach ICT and computing and have a degree in Computer Science along with several years industry experience. People on this forum are talking about children "doing raspberry pi" - raspberry pi is a mini computer which allows you to run program's which can just as easily be run on other computers. It is indeed an amazing thing but it's a vehicle for accessing technology not a skill in itself.

ICT will vary from school to school but I know of lots of schools committed to teaching students the broad and varied transferable skills required. Some of these will include spreadsheets and anyone from industry that uses spreadsheets will understand how powerful they are. Unfortunately too many people like Mr Gove, who has probably never used a spreadsheet in his life, are quick to run down something they simply don't understand.

It is a fact that every child will be using computers in any walk of life that they choose. Of course they will learn skills at home - some more than others - I love to see children taking initiative and actively encourage this through extra curricular clubs and setting challenges. Not all children will need to program. It's great that students are now being given the opportunity to learn at school and I love teaching Computer Science - however it is not for everyone.

The vast majority of children start secondary school not understanding basic concepts such as file storage. They may be a whizz at downloading apps and playing games on their iPad but their understanding is completely lacking.

At my school the ks3 curriculum gives students a wide range of experiences which include scratch with extensions in other languages, web design ( including coding with HTML and CSS), movie editing, photoshop, spreadsheets, databases, sound editing, how a computer works. We strive to use a range of software to provide students with transferable skills and keep our curriculum current.

We offer both ICT and Computing for GCSE and A Level and work very hard to offer the best curriculum for the needs of our students.

It is a shame people on this forum seem to have such misplaced judgements about ICT teachers.

sashh Tue 08-Jan-13 04:19:10

ICT is not Computing.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 08-Jan-13 08:32:44

Minniet - it depends a lot (perhaps more than with other subjects as it changes so rapidly) on the individual teacher. My DD has had some good, some indifferent. I do agree that some of the ICT content is very useful (about once a year I really wish I'd been taught how to use spreadsheets properly - I don't use them enough to have bothered learning myself --though DH has so it can't be too hard--)

About the Pi - seems to me that its USP is not the straightforward scratch/python programming but that its a cheap way to allow kids to build interfaces to RL devices - as the OP's DS is doing. No, not every child needs to learn this sort of thing - given that not all kids can have this sort of kit at home maybe there should be a gov(e) initiative to help all schools set up techie clubs (and work out how to not make them boy geek ghettos!)

cory Tue 08-Jan-13 08:52:10

I think to some extent you also have to accept that school cannot always exactly suit pupils with special interests or special knowledge of a subject: though some differentiation can and does happen, the main thrust of the subject must be aimed at the needs of the majority.

The school's PE lessons could not cater for dd's friend who was of Olympic standards. Db's school could not provide him with a teacher of symphonic orchestra calibre to teach him music to the standard he needed. Someone who arrives at Yr 7 French lessons speaking fluent French and with a passionate interest in French Classical drama may well end up being bored at times.

I'm not sure a little bit of boredom in one subject does that much harm: it is part of growing up to learn how to kindle and maintain your own passion even under adverse circumstances. My own db did this by building his own computers and instructing the school staff in programming at his secondary. He now runs a successful computer firm.

But I wouldn't assume that the school computer studies have nothing to offer your ds even if he is too advanced for aspects of them: as Minniet points out, they are very much about how to use computers in RL situations and making yourself more employable.

PurpleRayne Tue 08-Jan-13 09:42:40

YANBU. The school ICT curriculum is a lottery depending on where you live.

Your best bet is to ensure your son has access to a rich provision at home.

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