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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?

RedHelenB Thu 03-Jan-13 20:09:23


NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Thu 03-Jan-13 20:13:03


That is basically all we did in ICT. I learned far more from my dad

threepiecesuite Thu 03-Jan-13 20:14:35

ICT is not taught as a discrete lesson at our high school since last year, it has been absorbed into the curriculum (some ICT staff lost their jobs too).

It largely did consist of learning to use Word and Powerpoint.

MurderOfGoths Thu 03-Jan-13 20:14:50


PolkadotCircus Thu 03-Jan-13 20:14:55


My dp is a coder and is concerned.My 9 year old ds is bored big time with his IT lessons already. Happily after raising concerns school are looking into it.think it's one of the things Gov is going to look at,I wouldn't hold your breath though.

Apparently we're waaaay behind other countries.

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 03-Jan-13 20:15:57

I think it depends on the school/teacher. Dds teacher has let her choose which language she wants to program in and is supporting her while she writes a game. The others in the class I think are using scratch.

TravelinColour Thu 03-Jan-13 20:16:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ByTheWay1 Thu 03-Jan-13 20:17:55

ICT is mainly just about using the computers to assist in learning and presenting of work... this is just as important....

my girls do raspberry pi stuff (they linked it to their electronics kit) at home but still learn valuable stuff in ICT at school...

computer science and ICT are 2 different topics.... at my girls' school computer science starts being taught in Y9... In Y7 they also do computer aided design - (tech drawing and machine control for the modern age), which my eldest loved - it was a term long "topic" in design and technology (metal and wood work/cooking/textiles/computer aided design).

Cherrypi Thu 03-Jan-13 20:18:12

On the positive side as these skills are still rare they should be more employable. If it was core curriculum then everyone could be good at it. Not that that works for Maths.

cinnamonnut Thu 03-Jan-13 20:20:34

YANBU, it is unbelievably easy. We had a course that was supposed to take around a year or two in IT lessons and in the end I just did it all at home in 1 day and got a distinction.

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 03-Jan-13 20:20:53

There are a lot of good, detailed schemes around that many schools have bought into. They are idiots' guides that even an unskilled teacher can follow.
The other main problem is that the technology and software available in schools is often less sophisticated than the stuff the children are using at home.
Isn't ICT going to be removed as a discrete subject in primary when the new curriculum comes in anyway?

abbierhodes Thu 03-Jan-13 20:20:55

Erm...have you posted this exact thread before?

WilsonFrickett Thu 03-Jan-13 20:22:30

YANBU but proper ICT - not just using the computer to present work and the internet to use it - is something that interested DCs can learn on their own, as your son is evidencing with his raspberry pi. I'm not saying it's a perfect situation, but there's loads he can do on his own with a little bit of help and encouragement with you.

::Casts fond look at DP who is wearing his raspberry pi T-shirt as we speak::

5madthings Thu 03-Jan-13 20:23:59

They do stuff with raspberry pi and scratch etc at my sons high school. He is top of his yr and way ahead if we here he should be ICT wise and has been helping teach other students. He got a bit bored at times but the school has been good at stretching him.

It will depend on the school basically.

PolkadotCircus Thu 03-Jan-13 20:28:26

I think the problem is many staff understandably aren't coders and why should they be? I think they need to somehow get more specialised staff in but they'll need to pay more.

Sorry but I don't think coding is that easy tbh.My dp has a gift for it but some of his language qualifications and MSc weren't a walk in the park even for him.He has v good degrees from red brick unis.

I was a teacher but I could sooner speak fluent Mandarin than code/program. I think if I'd had the basics started at an earlier age then it could have been a possibility though.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 03-Jan-13 20:28:35


My DH works in the computer industry and there is already concern over the lack of programmers - people don't learn any more. A raspberry pi will be great for him to learn on, though. Hopefully he can find some help on the net? There must be teenage computer 'geek' forums?

I'm sure IT at school can be great, but I don't think it's typically about programming or that sort of thing, more about word processing and spreadsheets and skills like that. Those are useful skills, but maybe not if you are really into IT as a subject in its own right.

ubik Thu 03-Jan-13 20:29:45

Wasn't there a Guardian campaign about this?

I would be delighted if they started teaching children coding in schools:DP works in IT and started coding with his first computer back in the early 80's. It was irritating to see people like Toby Young banging on about learning Latin in schools while it seems glaringly obvious that learning programming, building databases etc is a skill which could give our youngsters a fighting chance at a well paid, challenging, enjoyable career.

There was an interesting article I read about the curriculum artificially seperates subject choices into 'science' and 'arts' and DP found it very hard to combine computer science higher with an art higher. Later at university it was impossible to combine English literature and computer science.

Yet many top designers at Apple have some art/design background rather than pure science/IT. Certainly he is rare in being able to design and to programme.

PolkadotCircus Thu 03-Jan-13 20:31:12

Yes we live in a nice part of the country,a very desirable area and they struggle to get decent staff.Really struggle.2 years I think it took to get the last guy.They offered a good salary for the area too.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 03-Jan-13 20:32:02

My DD has learned some scratch at school in ICT but next year (yr10) will do Computer Science GCSE not ICT. I'm not sure many schools offer it yet though - they've only just started at DDs school this year. As your OP implies, ICT teachers won't necessarily be able to teach programming.

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 03-Jan-13 20:35:04

ICT in schools is microsoft office (generally) the Gov is trying to implement computer sciences (programming etc.)

The main problem is that ICT is not taught by programmers or anyone with any direct knowledge of the programming industry, mainly because they can earn more and get less stress from being in industrial jobs.

PolkadotCircus Thu 03-Jan-13 20:35:42

Ubik that is worrying.

Backtobedlam Thu 03-Jan-13 20:38:38

I would expect ICT to be spread across the curriculum (it certainly is in my dc's primary) teachers are not necessarily ICT experts so I'd imagine that in school they focus on the basics that children will need for research/writing essays, maybe the odd presentation, whilst in education. Like many other subjects, if you want to learn it in more depth there are out of school classes or further education. I think there would be such a huge difference across a class in ICT it would be difficult to teach much more than the basics.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 03-Jan-13 20:39:23

ubik - seems to me that computer science should indeed be allowed to be mixed with any other discipline. The downfall for some people who do computer science degrees is that they may not have anything particular to write about - if you want to work on scientific coding, you get your PhD and frankly picking up enough programming ability to do something useful is relatively easy (you need specialists for databases etc to be sure but that's not the be all and end all).

PolkadotCircus Thu 03-Jan-13 20:44:12

There isn't a huge difference,none of them can program.You can't use that as an excuse anyhow as there are huge ranges in everything.

We need programmers just like we need scientists,engineers etc.We're only going to need more and more and the way we're going as a country the sector will grow and grow but we'll have to employ more and more from overseas which brings huge problems re security,language barriers,quality etc. These are also jobs our youngsters could have.

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