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back to article Education Secretary Gove: Tim Berners-Lee 'created the INTERNET'

Facebook, Microsoft, IBM and BT have been signed up by the Education Secretary Michael Gove - who thinks Tim Berners Lee is the "creator of the internet" - to offer industry insights into the type of computer science skills British school kids need to be equipped with for the workplace. A £20,000 scholarship was also announced …

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Hmm

The most important thing for teaching is good teachers rather than good subject knowledge. A CompSci graduate is complete overkill for teaching computing to lower years.

It's bound to be better than the rubbish ICT courses that existed before though...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

"The most important thing for teaching is good teachers rather than good subject knowledge"

No, it's a balance. An excellent French teacher probably can't teach Physics, a good Computer Scientist probably can't teach the subject, without being taught how to teach.

Also, ICT is designed to teach how to use computers as an every day business tool, rather than teach how to program, which is irrelevant to most people. Computer Science is designed to teach how to program or teach about infrastructure, they are different courses which serve different purposes.

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Re: Hmm

I disagree. If you are teaching "algorithms, data representation and logic" you need a teacher that gets it. Just as if you are teaching math you need a teacher who knows how multiplication works.

Without good subject knowledge the teacher will be rendered nothing more than a discipline enforcer. A good teacher might be able to detect the kids aren't "getting it" but if they don't understand what they are teaching they won't be able to fix that. They might indeed not "get it" themselves and be stuck trying to figure out why little johnny has done wrong in exercise 5b. Nothing is worse for kids to see than the teacher getting confused. In that situation the bad teachers tend to get angry. Lessons will descend into "follow the textbook and be quiet".

CompSci graduate requirement isn't overkill at all. Quite the opposite in my opinion. Many CompSci graduates don't understand algorithms, data representation and logic and would also be unable to teach the subject.

Frankly I think the idea has little hope. Finding math teachers is kind of easy because the whole population understands basic math. But logic, algorithms and data structures? Very few in comparison and there are a lot of jobs other than teaching for those that do (unlike math). I imagine all that will be accomplished is the attracting of a new type of "autistic pedo" to schools. P.E teaching pedos are at least predictable.

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Re: Hmm

" Many CompSci graduates don't understand algorithms, data representation and logic and would also be unable to teach the subject."

Not sure where these graduates are getting their degrees, then? CS graduates from any decent uni should know all this stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

@Nomnomnom: I was with you until you started going on about pedo (sic) teachers.

Seriously, what they hell are you on about? Get a grip.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

>Finding math teachers is kind of easy because the whole population understands basic math.

You must be joking, right?

Or is math == numeracy in your world?

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Trollface

Re: Hmm

Do I look like I am joking??

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Re: Hmm

"Not sure where these graduates are getting their degrees, then? CS graduates from any decent uni should know all this stuff."

But I was talking about UK universities.

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Re: Hmm

"Not sure where these graduates are getting their degrees, then? CS graduates from any decent uni should know all this stuff."

Having worked with many fresh-faced graduates clutching shiny CS degree certificates I can aver from direct experience that there are several universities churning out CS graduates ignorant of logic, data representation and algoirithms.

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Re: Hmm

Michael? Is that you? Internet != Web and Teacher != Pedo

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Re: Hmm

(aimed at NomNomNom by the way)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

"a good Computer Scientist probably can't teach the subject" I gather some can't even teach the basic's properly to under-grads, due to their lack of Pedagogy

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Re: Hmm

@Tom Wood - problem is, they aren't just looking for Comp Sci grads. They're looking for any graduate...

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Re: Hmm

"The most important thing for teaching is good teachers rather than good subject knowledge. A CompSci graduate is complete overkill for teaching computing to lower years."

I disagree, the most important things for a teacher other than the ability to teach are enjoyment and knowledge of the subject. If the teacher doesn't have a passion for what they teach then that will come across to the students and the lessons will be boring. Think of those great teachers you've had that engaged with the class and generated excitement about their subject, they're the ones encourage students to learn. I can't imagine an arts grad who decides to do this for the extra beer tokens being nearly as good as a computer geek who wants to pass their knowledge on.

A CompSci graduate may well be overkill for many students, but the same could be said for science teachers with degree's in their chosen subject. When a gifted student gets ahead of the class and asks tricky questions attempting to push themselves, that's when that additional knowledge comes in and becomes important.

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WTF?

Re: Hmm

"Finding math teachers is kind of easy because the whole population understands basic math. But logic, algorithms and data structures?"

You do realise that "logic" is a field of mathematics in this context and that "algorithms and data structures" are an area of computer science heavily rooted mathematics right? Being a recent "CompSci graduate" in theoretical and applied CS I know this.

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Re: Hmm

'No, it's a balance. An excellent French teacher probably can't teach Physics, a good Computer Scientist probably can't teach the subject, without being taught how to teach'

I agree, but isn't the point of Gove's free schools to allow anyone to set up, run and teach in a school no matter what their qualifications (or otherwise)?

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Re: Hmm

Many years ago I was taught maths by a teacher who really did not 'get' maths - yet he was said to be one of the best there was at making a dense subject accessible so that pupils understood.

Why?

Because he taught the method behind maths, (I am not talking basic times tables addition subtraction and division.)

He was successful because he had to lay out the subject so clearly, that even he could follow the material - that is not an insult he was a classics scholar and would have freely admitted his problem.

He had a grip on the way that things had to be put across clearly, logically and openly. I suspect he might well have been the same with all subjects.

Some of the least successful are those whose superior knowledge makes them resent having to present material in a simple, clear, open way.

So finding 'x subject' teachers is not easy, because finding people with the skills and the desires to put the material across is hard, the pre GCSE and GCSE syllabus material might have been designed to blunt even the most interest pupil or teacher but that is another story.

Some teachers have the ability some do not and I am not at all sure it is something that can be taught. I am certain that taking anyone disappointed by the results of their own studying and expecting to turn them into high achieving teachers is plain daft

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Re: Hmm

>Finding math teachers is kind of easy because the whole population understands basic math

Finding maths teachers is easy because the school curriculum has about as much math in it as ICT has computer science.

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Re: Hmm

Teachers teach all years; i haven't seen a secondary school with enough teachers to have them teaching only specific age groups.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

'...Not sure where these graduates are getting their degrees, then? CS graduates from any decent uni should know all this stuff.'

Hah, a recent example, I know of one CS graduate I wouldn't let near a Ti Speak&Spell, let alone any sort of programmable computer. You hit the nail on the head with 'decent uni', want to know where these muppets are getting their degrees?.

Her degrees (yes, plural) were rubber-stamped by a Poly-turned-Uni as part of their 'outreach' program (i.e. the local 'college of Hairdressing' offers a CS degree course, they accredit it and dish out the papers..).

The particular example I'm talking about here, wouldn't know a B-tree algorithm if it jumped up and bit her (and, if I may say so, it would have to be a rather daring and brave algorithm to try such a feat), let alone have the programming nous to implement it.

In case anyone thinks I'm being slightly misogynistic, I've had the pleasure of working with many talented female IT professionals over the decades, and it fscking annoys me that this one will be used as an example as to why women are 'useless at IT' wherever she goes, and possibly prejudice the employers against hiring another woman in the future. (I'm using 'IT' to mean 'anything computer related', sloppy, I know...)

On the bright side, however, she *will* 'poison the well' as far as anyone who is foolish enough to employ her is concerned apropos employing anyone in the future with Degrees from either the 'hairdressers' and 'rubber-stampers' institutions, once bitten and all that. The sad thing here is that there *are* some people coming through this system who *are* capable, and they'll be overlooked thanks to the actions of idiots like her. Maybe eventually the 'awarding bodies' will get the message about handing out 'bits of paper' like party favours and implement some sort of quality control, it may look good on some of the figures to have lots of graduates, but it has already been noted by the bean-counters that very few of them are getting jobs in their chosen fields, and the knives are being sharpened (or so I've heard..)

Like I said at the start, this is a (very) recent example. Having been in this game for a couple of decades I can think of other people I've come across over the years who, despite having the requisite paper qualifications, in a couple of cases awarded by Universities in the top 10 world listings, I've found to be almost totally useless (Cue: stories about the Camford idiot who trashed two years worth of someone else's research data and other similar jolly reminiscences...), it doesn't really matter who issued the degree, there are some/a lot of people out there with paper qualifications who are, putting it bluntly, totally fucking useless, and this isn't just true of people with Degrees, it's applicable across the board regarding all paper 'award' systems.

(P.S. The person I'm taking about as the 'recent example' has yet to be employed in any computer/IT related work since gaining their last degree in 2010, the Universe is safe...for the moment)

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Anonymous Coward

Who taught you classics?

Maybe your classics teacher and your maths teacher wandered into the wrong rooms at the beginning of the year and couldn't be arsed to switch back.

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so in other words....

two ad salesmen, a service guy, a telco guy and a mix of the lot will try to show what's important for IT tech... Sounds like a plan...

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Facepalm

D'oh

Get it right, Mr. Secretary. Sir Tim created the *Interwebs*!

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Same old problem all the media and non-technical people seem have.

Internet is NOT the Web.

Hard drive is NOT memory.

Information Superhighway IS a retarded term.

The "big boxy thing with the cup holder" is NOT a CPU.

You do NOT "log on" to a website unless you input a username and/or password.

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Alert

Yes, and the "big boxy thing with the cup holder" is also NOT the Hard Drive

The power switch on the monitor does NOT switch the whole system off

The browser is NOT the only thing on the Internet

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Happy

Heresy!

Next thing you'll be saying my monitor is not the computer!

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

Hard drive is memory.

You do log on to a website, it's just the browser handles all the hand-shaking for you.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

Tedious semantic definitions do put new people off careers in IT.

You don't need to know these specific definitions where the colloquialism will do, yes if a consultant used them I wouldn't be too impressed, but if a newbe used them, who cares?

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Re: Heresy!

How's that 15 year old purple iMac doing these days? =p

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Mushroom

Pedant

But ...

"Internet is NOT the Web." - to all and sundry who only ever experience the internet through their web browser the term is synonymous these days - and like most words that make up our wonderful language the definition of a word is defined by common usage, not by what a few techies think it should be.

"Hard drive is NOT memory." - Errr.... yes it is! It may not be solid-state memory but it is certainly memory - or perhaps you live in some strange world where hard drives don't remember what is written to them?

"The "big boxy thing with the cup holder" is NOT a CPU." - but it is what contains the CPU and that is the important bit.

"You do NOT "log on" to a website unless you input a username and/or password." - wow, you actually live in a world where most websites don't track your sessions?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Err...

"You do log on to a website, it's just the browser handles all the hand-shaking for you."

No you really don't. You send an HTTP GET, the website returns what you requested. There's no "hand-shaking" involved after the TCP 3-way handshake. If you consider the TCP handshake to be a "logon", that's only because you don't know what you're talking about.

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Re: Err...

"Hard drive is memory"

Yes, I agree BUT I've met many intelligent but computer naive people who thought the hard drive was the ONLY memory.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Err...

If I have not got a connection with a server and "something happens", then I do have a connection to that server and sessions on it, I've logged on to it.

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Re: Err...

Con you've connected to it, and the TCP connection is established.

That's not logging onto it, that's connecting to it. There's been no authentication involved, so you're not logged on .

The term largely arose from the fact that the system tends to log who's logged in (though not generally the case with web stuff, admittedly). All that's being logged prior to that (if anything) are the requests you're making.

You're not logging onto abc.com you're accessing it.

Ultimately though, it's all semantics and rather moot.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Err...

Too many pedants on here...

RAM is memory.

Hard drive is storage.

Say what you like, but that's the way it is 'cos I and everyone who says likewise deem it so, and we know more than you :p

Also, more Megahertzes does NOT always mean it's faster.

And you don't ignore things by "x-ing out of them".

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FAIL

Re: Pedant

"or perhaps you live in some strange world where hard drives don't remember what is written to them?"

or maybe he uses Excelstor hard drives? We had a batch with 100% failure rate under warranty; the ones replaced under warranty even then failed themselves, still within the original warranty.

Icon self explanatory..

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Re: D'oh

Microsoft is NOT the only desktop software provider.

(Apple is NOT the only fruit.... etc.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pedant

@Pete B - Those drives are still memory, it's just they rather incontinently became write only memory...

http://www2.vmi.edu/Faculty/squirejc/Research/IC_Datasheets/digital_cmos/Write%20Only%20Memory.pdf

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Boffin

Re: Pedant

"Hard drive is NOT memory." - Errr.... yes it is!

WIWAL "memory" meant magnetic cores -- what we call a "hard drive" today would have been "backing store". The distinction was that the "memory" could be addressed directly by the processor, while anything in backing store had to be copied into "memory" before it could be processed.

These days, of course, the main system RAM of a PC is in a sense "backing store" as there are at least two levels of cache between it and the CPU. Funny how terminology wears out!

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Thumb Down

Re: Hard drive is NOT memory.

That is being rather picky, I always used to say (to people who didn't understand comupters) that computers have short-term memory for things you're working on, lost when you turn the power off (RAM) and long-term memory for things that you want to store away (hard drive/floppy/cd).

Besides, if a disk isn't memory remind me what CDROM stands for.....?

(ps. "retarded" is a rather non PC term, PC... get it?)

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Re: Pedant

"you actually live in a world where most websites don't track your sessions?"

Er, yeah. There's an option in my browser to deny them access to the cookies they need in order to do that. HTTP is a stateless protocol.

And apropos the original remark that led us down this path: You do not "log on" to anything without some pretence at proving that you are the same person as you were last time. If there's no "state", there's no "memory of who you were last time".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pedant

And "brightness" only adjusts the screen, not the user..

(saw that somewhere)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pedant

I still use "backing store" to describe cloud storage without being more specific.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pedant

I think you'll find it uses TCP so it IS stateful.

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TRT
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Re: Pedant

When I worked at Radio Shack in Canada, I got a brief North America regionalisation briefing by my manager. One thing I recall her saying is "And if people come in here asking about batteries for the convertor, they usually mean the remote control for the cable convertor; it was the first battery remote many people had seen so they started calling the remote the "convertor" and the convertor itself they called a "cable box". Just so you know. Oh, and the remote for the TV? That's the clicker. Even if it doesn't."

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Coat

Next thing you'll be saying my monitor is not the computer!

No, the tape drives are (he said, showing his age).

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Happy

Re: Err...

Pendants on an IT related site? Goodness. Who would have thought that the techies would do online what they do at work: Resulting in a huge lack of respect with the general public & their managers.

If you go to a doctor and say "my knee hurts" they don't reply with 'Well, I can't do anything about that because you haven't used the technical term. I need to know exactly what part of your knee hurts."

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Re: Err...

" And you don't ignore things by x-ing out of them".

Unless, of course, you are using a Mac.

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Re: Pedant

Much of the literature used the term "secondary storage", rather than "backing store". Secondary, in the sense that it could not be accessed across the memory bus by either a CPU or a DMA controller. Modern CPUs indeed only preform instructions on cached memory, and a memory controller is used to move data across the memory bus between cache and RAM. Nevertheless, system memory is still accessed via the memory bus, whereas secondary storage, such as a hard drive, is not. In any case the memory controller is an integral part of the CPU chip these days.

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Re: Pedant

It's stateful at Layer4 perhaps, but as already pointed out to be "logged on" implies authentication of a user. So he was talking about stateful at the application layer, which HTTP is not. When you provide user specific authetication you are considered to be "logged on"

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