back to article Kids should be making software, not just using it - Gove

Education Secretary Michael Gove today proposed killing off Blighty's ICT curriculum in September to give it a thorough reboot. Launching a consultation into his plans, Gove suggested that from the start of the next academic year, schools should be able to teach what they want in computer classes. The Tory minister recommended …

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Still need to know how to use spreadsheets and word processing, even if not MS products!
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But not ...

... as specialised subjects. They should be taught as a natural part of subjects that require them.

You don't have a qualification in "writing", do you?

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teach them the Eclipse IDE

Eclipse IDE for Java Developers -- http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/moreinfo/java.php
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Don't.

Teaching a product is a crap idea. Teach principles, not particular pieces of software.

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Speaking as an IT professional

In my one attempt to use it I found eclipse the most overly complex unintuitive POS its ever been my misfortune to install.

I don't see how it would add any value to ICT they'd be better off with textpad.

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computing tutorial website

WiBit.net is a video tutorial web site offering cutting edge programming and computer tutorials. http://www.wibit.net/
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This post has been deleted by its author

Why exactly does the country need the entire population taught how to program? Schools should make sure pupils can use a word processor before they leave school (along with being able to read/write, speak a 2nd language and some basic science/maths). ICT that covers programming as an optional course is fine as a compulsory course is a complete waste of educational resources
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How many olympic runners does the country need?

So why should PE be compulsory?

If you never expose the kids to something how do you know which are going to be the ones to take to it?

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Anonymous Coward

"Schools should make sure pupils can use a word processor before they leave school"

Talk about aiming low! Computers and word processors are no longer the magic glowing glass window with writing on it that changes, you know. Basic word processor use shouldn't take more than a few weeks, including any familiarisation with the mouse and keyboard for any children who haven't really used them before.

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The parsing is screwed. They are dumping paragraph seperators

what is it with El Reg developers?
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Joke

what is it with El Reg developers?

They have just hired a bunch of ICT students.

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Coat

Computer language scratch?

Is the compiler called sniff?

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Meh

How is this ICT course of which you speak more extensive than an ECDL?

Only it sounds *very* much like that subject.

Seems to demonstrates you can use key PC apps in a basic way (and effectively walk upright without drooling on the floor at the same time).

Took about 1 week for me to do all the exams having studied the CD.

There's a reason it's called the European Computer Drivers *License*

Reprogramming command keys, self modifying code (took me 5 years to find a use for it), compiler construction and parsing was a *totally* different course altogether.

Might I suggest the only *lasting* skill so far has been being learning to touch type.

It's 2012 and how many program by *handwriting* on a tablet ? Speech? Gesture tracking? Direct brain interface?

They also told me every office would be paperless within 10 years of leaving school.

They lied about that too.

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About time

I've been horrified what my son has been taught in ICT. Let them learn Word as part of an assignment in English, Excel in an assignment to maths. Relevant, directed, and a break from some of the other stuff but showing how its useful. They can take that to other wordprocessor and spreadsheets once they know what they are for.

About time they might learn to be more than users but stretch them a bit. Not so sure about the let people decide what to teach them, that sounds scary to me... More postcode lottery.

Bring on the Pi though, I was most pleased for my 13 year old to sound excited by it and ask when he could get one!

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I did software engineering at university but skipped GCSE ICT

As title, I talked to the ICT teacher about the content and where I was heading and he said basically it would be irrelevant and pointless for me to do it, the worst thing about teaching students how to use excel etc is that it is repeated year after year. You learn how to make one then are taught the same thing again and again and again.

No wonder its boring

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Unhappy

I was nodding my head with a happy smile until I read the Microsoft bit. I think I'd rather have the kids taught nothing rather than have them poisoned by possibly the most extensively known corrupt business organisation to darken the world of computers.

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Dear God

Hysterical much?

There are dozens of companies far more evil than MS who for all their faults make some reasonably good products particularly as we are talking about programming their IDE.

Next time you feel the need to get your pitchfork and shout "burn them" I suggest you point yourself at Armaments, Tobacco and Healthcare companies like PIP.

For all their sins of which there are many MS have rarely if at all hurt people.

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Anonymous Coward

Do it Govey..

You know you want to...

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Dear Minister

"micromanaged by Whitehall"

Why there are far, far, far more important things that needs and must be divested from its Whitehall ubermasters no?

And, dear Minister, please ensure or beware that Whitehall will endeavour to recover the account even if it is purely for the cash cow flow?

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FAIL

Station 267 not listening...

Station 168 not listening...

How many british people share these fon memories of IT lessons? Then the "IT teacher" tries to protend he knows what he is doing a gives the old BBC micro a thump on the monitor... "Sorry you'll have to find a nother computer" was the usual response.

After that sitting in pairs trying to learn about the battle of the bulge, or how to make a teletext page... the wonders of british IT lessons.

Is it any wonder that there is an IT shortage? When 30 somethings grow up using BBC micros, and if they were lucky the acorn archimedes.... of course once you get in to the real world you soon realise that no one ever uses these things outside of school. Making everything you have learnt completely useless.

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Yes - if only you had instead learned the job control language for a 1980 Tandem Q42B you would be employable today!

School is about learning not training

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@RISC OS

I'm of the generation who learnt to program on BBC Micros (and later Archimedes), and there is plenty that it taught me that is still relevant today. It taught me how to hack*, which is something that keeps me paid to this day.

* The positive variant.

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Headmaster

I assume the money will be available to employ the new teachers which will of course be needed.

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Holmes

Obviously programming is important (it's been my job since I graduated with a software engineering degree 10 years ago), but it isn't the only part of ICT. I think a good way to get office/secretarial skills in things like Word and Excel would be to include CLAIT or the ECDL as part of the national curriculum. It's not a GCSE but it's a much more useful job-related qualification that even kids who disappear before exams begin could use after leaving school.

As others have said, teach the fundamentals (including why you would use tool X instead of tool Y) and get people working on assignments that allow them to be creative and experiment with things. A pile of Raspberry Pis could be used to teach computer networking, including different machines having different roles like one being a web server and another being a database. Having to choose between Inkscape and Gimp would demonstrate the difference between drawing and painting packages. Setting an assignment to record a video, edit it on a computer and add effects and a sound track would be a good way to introduce some very technical concepts. They could even get people using their mobile phones and understanding what the different settings are. Explaining the difference between a spreadsheet and a database might gradually start to educate people into when you shouldn't use Excel. Another important bit would be how and why to keep information secure, to avoid things like CDs lost on trains and kids hijacking each other's Facebook accounts. There's also lots of ways to get kids into coding which other people have mentioned, but ICT isn't just about that.

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IT != Programming

Lots of talk about programming and software but not much detail on what if anything is going to be covered regarding operating systems, hardware, networking and the like. I am not a sysadmin but I think anyone seriously considering an IT career needs at least a basic grounding in these areas.

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unless there is sufficient investment (i.e. better pay) to attract the right kind of teachers to teach this stuff, it's really not going to work is it?? there's lot's of rhetoric, but there isn't really any detail as to how any of this is going to work is there, and until it does, let's reserve judgement...

I reckon they ought to allow schools to try to attract business sponsorship, and may be even partner with various companies to provide some form of input into teaching these courses - at uni there is quite a bit of involvement, but imo, by that point it's too late...

The real folk who are engaged in real work in this field are the most ideally placed to take some of this responsibility, and I for one, if such a program was available and work were okay with spending an hour or so every so often on it, would gladly participate (I just don't want to be burdened with bullshit lesson plans and all that crap).

at my last work place, they were big on getting into secondary schools and encouraging visits etc. to highlight what they did etc. worked very well.

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Childcatcher

I don't often agree with the politicians..

.. but but the phrase "hitting the nail derectly on the head" comes to mind.

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amen

Amen. I believe computers/technology should replace almost all high-level math (or high-level anything), as it's something everyone will ACTUALLY use... imagine, especially in 10+ years from now. I believe there are several high-level subjects that should become electives only, so kids can focus on new areas that they'll ACTUALLY use... like: conversation, critical thinking, parenting (that shouldn't be an elective. Too many people will become parents, and they're HORRIBLE at it) and "understanding the world" (not like social studies). I think there's SO much to change, but I'm tired right now...

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POINTLESS

If they are going to teach kids to work with Flash programming.... and how to handle sprites, why not teach them the basics of actionscript? Therefore making a USEFUL contribution, rather than a BASIC form of plagurism using someone elses scripting?

Theres alternatives such as Swish, if Adobe Flash is too expensive?

This is a plagurism of the term 'programming'! Removing the fundamentals... But again Im not saying start with ASM (assembly) language with kids either!

They'll still learn more from programming a very BASIC EEPROM chip in a 'design technology / systems and control' lesson! (its very simillar to the concept here)

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