The title pretty much sums up what I've experienced so far with "modern" computing courses... some things they really should consider but never do because they don't align neatly with incumbent monopoly practices and pointless government statistics:
* At least at school level, stop calling it "science". Yes, technically it is, but there's still far too much dogma regarding the word science and geekiness that this puts off some pupils. Sad but true.
* Teach the basics, not the high level specifics of particular OSes and applications - they can be farmed out to a later stage or a different course. Want to learn Word Processing? Take a business course - that's what they're there for. Oh, and teach Word Processing, don't teach Microsoft Word Processing.
* Start from fundamentals and engage the pupils in how things work, rather than rhetorical parrot speak "teaching". Once pupils understand the basics on how something works they find it much easier and less daunting to understand the later concepts. Details don't have to be gone into, just the concepts.
* Show the basic history of all computing, not just Wintel. There's a whole history of computing there and it's good to see progression, evolution of components and how we got to where we are now. This doesn't have to be dull, there are piles of old computers still around and even a history of consoles is interesting and informative in how they evolved to what they are now.
* Don't teach idiotic stuff that every kid has grown up with, i.e. how to use Internet Explorer to browse the web. Don't teach kids how to make web pages - leave that to a design course. Teach them the basics behind how they work, but having them fire up DreamWeaver (or worse, FrontPage) to knock up pointless pages doesn't help them at all - those interested would like to host their own content, and this is far beyond normal GCSE level computing.
- I know plenty of GCSE level kids that are interested in computing but are daunted and frustrated by how little they know and how little of it is useful. Most, even the most keen, are in reality capable of little more than clicking icons.