Feeds

back to article Agile development may be taught in Australian High Schools

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has released its long-awaited draft Technologies curriculum for students from kindergarten to year 10 (Australian secondary schooling ends in Year 12), and the draft offers hope to those who want kids to be taught heavyweight IT skills. The “Digital …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge
Meh

Vague Goals

“Explain how text, audio, image and video data are stored in binary with compression”

Does that mean "yeah, it's like stored as ones and zeros, with repeats removed, innit?", or "well, we can treat them as a stream and use a modified Lempel-Ziv-Welch algorithm"?

“Explain the role of software and hardware components for managing and controlling access, data and communication in networked digital systems”

As in "don't type your password wrong three times or you'll get locked out" or "no, I wasn't the one who hacked the registrar's system, honest'?

“Critique information systems and policies, and anticipate future risks and opportunities for transforming lives and societies.“

I'm not even going to touch this one.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Vague Goals

It is a draft Technologies curriculum. The bits that survive will possibly attract more detailed specification. In any case, the result is bound to differ markedly from the education that I received. I saw my first computer (an ICL1904) at university. It seems to me like well reasoned steps in the right direction.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Vague Goals

Still better than GCSE ITC = "students will be able to underline a word in Word using the underline button on the toolbar"

And for A-level they have to do it using the f***ing ribbon

4
0
Bronze badge

Re: Vague Goals

Goodness ....

- it's a draft document for consultation

- it's a curriculum document aimed at providing a consistent framework for course content and assessment across Australia, not details of individual unit outlines.

- considering that it is describing a K-10 curriculum, it seems to contain some fairly substantial elements - importantly including uses of technology, development methodologies and project management.

Needs a detailed reading, but certainly not all bad.

4
0
Happy

Re: Vague Goals

Wait, that wouldn't have been George at NSWIT?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@ G Mac (Re: Vague Goals)

It was indeed George 4, but at another place (UNE).

0
0
Headmaster

Re: Vague Goals

AAArgghhh just looked at the detail of just of these ...

10.1 Explain how text, audio, image and video data are stored in binary with compression

• explaining exclusive or (XOR) to develop simple cryptographic ciphers and hashes to ‘secure’ communications

• explaining the use of the Unicode charts to look up characters from Asian languages

• explaining simple compression schemes, for example run length encoding

• explaining the difference between lossy and lossless compression

Dot point 2 - coincidentally I am trying to explain the different encoding techniques and why we have them & my class don't give a rats .... , I had mild interest with ASCII especially when I showed some ASCII art, and total disinterest with unicode - the most common almost printable response was "why can't the ****s just use english characters ?".

From a 30 second glance at just the year 9-10 stuff - it is going to be difficult to develop a coherent program that doesn't do theory for the sake of theory eg we cover some of this stuff already in IST - - dot point is covered in a unit on the internet & protocols, dot point 2 sort of covered in a Software Dev unit, dot points 3&4 covered in a digital media/multimedia unit - where the stuff actually makes sense to teach it.

What hurts most is that Digital technology has become All about software development , and it says multimedia will be taught across subject areas (yeah right - today I had to teach my year 9 class about using styles in a document !) as well as an instance of Design & Tech .

Honestly from a very quick read I think the year 9/10 stuff would make the basis of a great year 11/12 Software Dev course. What I have read assumes greater maturity on the part of year 9/10 than is the case - certainly in my low SES group (ie over 30% of the school is in the lowest income quartile measured on Myschool.com) . The buggers advising ACARA are from selective schools or schools where most students are in the highest income quartile).

Needs a closer read drowning in the motherhood stuff at the start.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Vague Goals @Diogenes

So you think they are setting the bar high? Good! The better students need to be challenged. The less technically-minded students can still pick up on the basics. Exams/assessments should have questions ranging from very easy through to very difficult, so that the results clearly differentiate between students of different abilities: that's the whole point of having exams/assessments.

0
0
Silver badge

Strange accent

"Develop systematic techniques for acquiring, storing and validating quantitative and qualitative data from a range of sources considering privacy and security requirements”

sounds just like "education"

0
1
Headmaster

Give me the child for his first seven years

And I will give you the DBA.

At least there's no mention of f**king JavaScript.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Give me the child for his first seven years

Language standardisation is a wonderful thing. That is why we have so many standardised languages to choose from.

2
0
Bronze badge
Unhappy

Re: Give me the child for his first seven years

Sorry buddy:

"By years nine and ten students will be tasked with “creating an interactive web-based project that provides enterprising opportunities and complies with accessibility requirements, for example using fragments of JavaScript to create dynamic content that supports interactivity.”"

0
0

They'll get way off track..

..and will probably end up tied to vendors with an agenda. How about just a solid grounding in linear algebra, finite (series etc) and then calculus? I can't count the number of "comp-sci" graduates I know who, (for example) couldn't find roots/max/min of a function, and thought boundary conditions are something chicks at the bar set. After learning the math(s) skills, when the need eventually arises to write some (useful) code it'll come naturally. This sounds like it'll end with a lot of kids who know the menu bars of IDE_of_the_week and Adobe Creator (student edition). /ranting But what do what do I know? Maybe I'm just in a rotten mood.

5
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Re: They'll get way off track..

Katie, nah, a realistic mood. After that lot of management babble, kids will need to do a literature unit to use basic English. But since when has basic literacy and numeracy been required in the new economy?

Given the rise of middleware, how many real programmers will be needed as the spread of corporate leprosy, aka standardised business processes rots away real jobs?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: They'll get way off track..

Whatever. At university I studied pure and applied mathematics as well as mathematical physics. In 35 years of software development I have never needed any of it. Not linear algebra, finite series, calculus or the ability to find roots/max/min of a function.

Instead I have used logic, creativity, problem solving skills, an understanding of how computers work and a knowledge of specific tools (languages, IDEs, etc.).

Admittedly that may be due to my preferred field, which is real time embedded work. Perhaps those who prefer databases or websites are up to their armpits in differential equations and matrix transformations.

1
0
Windows

Re: They'll get way off track..

When I started in the IT industry there was a small demand for maths graduates with good degrees from Oxbridge. The bulk of the innovation in software development and support came from people who had found themselves in the industry by accident. Many were bright people who had not bothered with university, or had dropped out, for a variety of reasons.

Many university graduates were found to be unsuitable - a memorable one (History and politics) could never grasp that after "9" came "A" for base16 enumeration.

One senior technical manager maintained that Computer Science graduates took longer to become useful as they first had to realise they had so much to "unlearn". That is similar to the thinking behind the pre-war Junior Technical Schools. Their curriculum tried to avoid imposing any particular workshop practice that might be very different to that used by a subsequent industry employer.

In 45 years I never needed any of my "A" level maths - and very little of my "O" level maths either. However hands-on Physics and Chemistry - plus a teenage hobby in electronics - gave me a logical approach to problems. It also gave a practical understanding of how diverse systems interact - and that nothing in the real world is guaranteed to work as expected.

1
0
Windows

Re: They'll get way off track..

(addendum)

English composition also gave me a style of writing that tries to avoid ambiguity. At the same time the full richness of the English vocabulary helps to leaven potentially dense text.

0
0
WTF?

I learned about token ring networks in school. Useful knowledge now.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"Year seven and eight students, typically 12 to 14 years old, will learn SQL"

Isn't it illegal to torture children in Australia?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

A bit ambitious to learn SQL at this age, something like Access would be more appropriate.

The basics of programming - conditional statements and loops wouldn’t pose too much of a challenge.

0
1
Silver badge

If they are going to teach SQL

PLEASE teach it right.

They need to understand normalization, what it is, why we do it. They need to understand SQL's features for input validation, and why we use them. What ACID is, why we like it.

The last thing I want is more people making up DB layouts which are completely unmaintainable.

0
0
Headmaster

Re: If they are going to teach SQL

Tried and failed - year 9 & 10 just don't have the maturity, patience or INTEREST - they just want to get in and do things - I am assembling a collection of code & DB designs to submit to the Daily WTF - but surprisingly

it works - somehow they make it work.

I know some of the teacher reps advising ACARA, they are the same ones who created an updated Software Design & Dev syllabus that does not mention the word database once , and couldn't understand why that should have been at least a further study option like - a "Software Developers view of Hardware".

I am printing the draft out to read in my free time and have sent it on to my head teacher for consideration. I have a bad feeling that they are going to take all the fun out of IST - years 9 & 10 where I have lots of options and can tailor for the kids interests (and the antiquated c**p that pretends to my computer lab - honestly celeron D's 1 mb of ram and XP and 15 inch monitors) - and they finally get the laptop spec right and then the school decides not to issue them to the kids (~$%~!@%$@^ !!!!!!)

(BTW I did 25 years as a Software Engineer before becoming a teacher 2 years ago)

0
0
Bronze badge
FAIL

@km123

"A bit ambitious to learn SQL at this age, something like Access would be more appropriate. The basics of programming - conditional statements and loops wouldn’t pose too much of a challenge."

What is the point of not posing too much of a challenge? Should we only teach the stuff that the class idiot can understand? Or should we also teach more complex stuff to challenge the bright kids? If we don't challenge the bright kids and help them to reach their potential, what do you think this country will be like in 30 years time?

0
0
Bronze badge
Childcatcher

Access SQL

@km123

Access can/does use a SQL: Link - Access SQL

It works surprisingly well and can be ported (sometimes needs dialect modifications) to SQL Server, Postgres etc.

I would however recommend SQLite for students - It runs on almost everything...

0
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Headmaster

Re: Water fall ---- Agile - it's a spectrum

Funny I opened the report and did a search on "Microsoft" - you know what, I didn't find it anywhere.

When I can get as many resources for open source as I can for closed (think lots of books, youtubes etc etc) as I can for VB, C#, Access, XCode development and the Adobe web suite I will switch over. I just don;t have the time to do the paper warfare I need to do eg I just spent the last 4 hours working on Individual learning plans for 25% of my class because they have some intellectual impairment, are below the national literacy standard, have Aspergers, ADD, ADHD, ODD. OCD, Fragile X, Brittle Bones, hearing & sight impairment, a broken wrist or (...) - or any combination of the above and I have only done half of what I need to - I need to get these to our HT Welfare & AEO by Monday Morning it & will probably waste a few hours incorporating suggested "improvements" next week. Then I have to write assessment tasks that encompass these kids as well as the 3 G&T students I have - my HT needs these for Monday. I am now taking a mental break (aided by a G&T) before writing a tutorial that 15yo kids with a reading age of a 8yo can follow - and I am using a combination of Adobe Captivate to record and grab screen shots , Adobe Indesign so that I can format it, and create the 3 different versions I need easily (font & image size).

Sometimes the path best taken is the path of least resistance.

0
0
Mushroom

Agile = joke

Agile has to be the worst IT project management process I've ever worked under and I've been in the industry for 30+ years. It is reactive not proactive, trying to reduce everything to a two week sprint is a joke, on any decent size IT project that I've worked on many of the individual tasks have been longer than that and any attempt to break them down causes task fragmentation and increased the effort required to re-integrate each of the fragmented parts back into a functioning whole. Agile which is based on JiT etc is really great for a continuous process like a car production line but not for a single project, if it was they would be using it for the process of building bridges, buildings and other engineering projects. The best PM techniques I've used have been in the software engineering sphere and with those software was treated like any other engineering discipline and process.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.