back to article UK ICT classes killing kids' interest in tech

The Royal Society is to investigate why British schools are failing to interest children in information technology - and why numbers taking classes are falling so fast. Since 2006 there has been a 33 per cent fall in pupils taking ICT GCSEs, and numbers taking A-levels in ICT have fallen by a third in six years. The number of …

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Anonymous Coward

your 40c more like

Its a good list, but quite a way off what you could realistically teach 16 year-olds, you could spend a year on each subject to cover it in detail.

Again i must make the point that these minds are immature, the aim of the subject and the exam is to detect and measure an aptitude, to light a flame, not to fill a vessel.

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Computers have changed...

... since I was a kid.

In the 1900 if you knew about cars you new everything: Design considerations; how to build them; how to make them; how to fix them; how to drive them. Since the twenties these were all different subjects. You would not employ a chauffeur to design a car and neither would you the visa versa. There are driving schools, mechanic courses and Automobile Design Degrees.

Schools teach 'computers' as if it is still all one subject. There should be at least:

1.Office IT skills (for Word,Excel etc.)

2. Software and IT (for the script kiddies)

2.Computers and IT (hardcore hardware)

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The answer is...

To have IT taught by people who live IT and taught to people who want to learn.

It's boring as hell went taught to people who don't want to know by people who don't care so much about IT.

Sam

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I think we've all agreed that...

- the curricula are a joke, I dropped ICT before GCSE yet I still remember being sat using a PC for a different subject in the back of an ICT class and stil being able to answer more of the questions than the entire ICT class put together because it's seen as a soft subject. It actually needs to involve really computer science rather than ICT. More programming and networks less MS Office for dummies. But the way to decide what to teach isn't to ask Microsoft and Google; yeah they know a lot about computers and IT but what this needs is someone in touch with the level this should be pitched. Go and talk to the Computer sciences undergrads at uni's I'm sure they'll tell you the useful stuff they could have been taught earlier - after all they're the ones who have recently experienced our ICT 'teaching' and have persisted with computer sciences nonetheless.

- the teaching's poor. Why? Because no-one who teaches ICT that I ever encountered has any computer sciences background to speak of. Its always a maths, business or technology teacher retasked to the job, or worse a glorified PA! No self respecting computer scientist seems to want to teach and tbh I don't blame them but until that happens, or at least the teachers are those able to teach a more relevant and in depth curriculum we're never gonna solve this problem.

Having said all that IT has always relied on recruiting from the geeks who tinker in their bedrooms not necessarily from the folks with "all" the qualifications (think Bill Gates dropping out of Uni to start MS

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Big Brother

Is ICT meant to produce car mechanics or drivers?

It seems people are lamenting that ICT (WTF is that?) makes drivers. People who can use the technology but have little or *zero* understanding (or interest) in how it works. I quite like Orwell's term "Prolefeed."

Like the kiddies on a US school driving course (and remember in Merkinland roundabouts are unknown and the manual transmission is a strange and fearsome beast. Here be monsters!)

However *unlike* learning how to flow text around a table in Word Something-Point-Whatever driving a car is a skill which will *last*, because the interface does *not* change every 5minutes, or whatever MS's sales target happen to be.

Stop f*^king lying to children. If it's practical office skills fair enough.

If it's actual *development* skills then most of the kids won't make it and should be shuffled off to something else. Society *needs* both and they are *different*. And as others have pointed out the "C" in ICT does not seem to get a look in.

BTW The reason I can write long posts quickly is I *touch* type. A touch typing course came into my possession when I left school and it's proved a *very* worthwhile investment.

AFAIK *none* of the original Unix developers could, hence cc, dd, ed etc.

Anyone remember those "In 10 years *all* offices will be paperless" pronouncements?

Real time connected speech language recognition?

Still waiting.

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Linux

I was going to stop posting on this thread, but.....

> Real time connected speech language recognition?

> Still waiting.

Sorry to correct you, but IBM ViaVoice did that pretty damned well nearly ten years ago, if you took the time to train it. It's one of the few programs I miss since I started supping at the nipple of the penguin... It was available for OS/2 as well IIRC!

Yes Officer, that's her. The horny looking one! Mmmmmmm, Bitty!

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Happy

@Anomalous Cowturd

"if you took the time to train it. "

My comment lacked precision. I meant a proper, anybody speaks at it and it turns it into text in real time voice recognition system. But I will look up ViaVoice for reference

BTW OS/2 is still sort of available. It's called something like "eStation" and has a following among US local governments and some other businesses. They seem to like it's robust bug free nature.

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not surprising really

given that the GCSE course focuses on how to do transitions in powerpoint, and move the text about in word, its hardly surprising that people lose interest.

its also a key reason as to why school it technicians find so much crap in those broken down pcs. seeing how many crisp packets you can put in there through its front vent before it breaks is about as exciting as some lessons get. unless someone has found a new proxy that is

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FAIL

To summarise.....

I think everyone here agrees that

a)ICT in schools is actually focussed on teaching people to use Microsoft 'cos that's what they will need to use when they go to work (should they find a job) or write their university thesis.

b) just because you enjoy using something does not mean you need to know how it works or how to programme it (I have no idea how you build a car other then it involves robots and screws)

c)The old adage, "those who can do those who can't teach", appears to apply in repect of schools ICT provision. Those with the skills can earn more doing something other than trying to teach a gand of kids who don't want to know.

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Happy

As the old saying goes

Those who can't, teach.

and those who can't teach, teach IT

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Make it fun

If you want children to learn you need enthusiastic teachers and a curriculum. It also helps if the teachers know what they are doing.

When I did a college course years ago I used to sit at the back of the class and get on with my own stuff except when the teacher was stuck, then I'd show the teacher what they needed to do next, and then get back to work.

I've liked most of my kids primary school teachers, but it would be naive in the extreme to expect them to be able to teach programming. I'm sure a good number of the kids would manage to learn it if you gave them something fun to do. But lets face it they don't even teach trig in primary schools these days, how are they going to teach programming?

There is then the problem of keeping up to date. The subject moves so quickly.

Lastly there is the issue that most kids aren't going to end up in the IT industry. They probably all need to know about WP and Spreadsheets, like they all need to be able to read and add up. But that isn't computer science.

I had a discussion with an Indian support engineer recently. His take was that when he went through college IT was the hot prospect for good jobs. Now it isn't, even in Bangalore. He was intending to guide his kids away from it.

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Headmaster

I taught it

In a secondary school.

I went straight from Industry, mainly databases, C++, C# etc.

What I learned, was the the whole of the syllabus can be summarised as "How to teach Microsoft Office".

Other teachers were well-meaning, but mostly clueless. Virtually all types of system/programs were referred to as their MS name (Excel etc.), there was no knowledge of anything else, and to be fair, it just felt pointless learning. You are constrained by the system and the syllabus, and the system says that MS Office is the world.

There was one part of the GCSE course where the kids had to do programming. MS Office to the rescue! Record a macro and watch it create your code for you. We even had videos on loop showing them how to do tasks. They could watch and imitate the clicks. No thought required.

We were preparing students for the monotony of dreary desk jobs.

Summarise the GCSE - open MS Office, press F1 - it's all there.

*Sigh*

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JHS

I'm not surprised this is happening

IT at GCSE level was a complete waste of time and mind numbingly boring I did mine 5 years ago and It seems that it has not changed. Nothing is done to get young people interested, not once in my secondary school IT lessons were we taught about the IT industry and its potential job paths. It's pretty easy to loose interest in somthing if your making spreadsheets and word documents all lesson...

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Boffin

One of the right people for the job!

Steve Furber was one of the designers of the BBC Micro -- now there's a machine that got a lot of people off to a good start!

Perhaps he should design an updated version, still simple enough for kids to program from the ground up, but faster and with more pixels, memory etc.

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Also of the ARM architecture, and its asynchronous version

So he knows quite a bit about hardware design.

I think he's still a lecturer at Manchester. Which *might* be more relevant as he then knows what happens when you have to deal with the results from this curriculum.

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Flame

Death by documentation

For my daughter's ICT GCSE coursework, she had to produce 2 docs, a spreadsheet and database (the latter using features not available in OpenOffice Base, grr), and do some fairly trivial formatting / formulae etc., but 90% of the time was taken up drawing up "designs" (including all the formulae, styling etc.) - which of course in reality ended up being reverse engineered from what she actually produced live - and endless screenshots showing every trivial step.

The actual "deliverables" could have all been produced in 3 double practical lessons leaving time for some much more interesting depth ("OK, how would we connect up your theatre booking database to the Internet?"), but no, its a small section of the subject treated at the shallowest possible level, padded out with a shedload of make-work. Result: total boredom and another child put off the entire subject.

There are times in professional software development and IT deployment when you need to think long and hard and document, document, document, but a trivial spreadsheet is not one of them.

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Unhappy

IT teacher speaking here..

My own education was unusual, and that's probably why it sucked a little less than most people's experiences. I was kicked out of school when I was 12 and spent the time learning to program (I'd already got some experience typing listings from magazines into my old Amstrad cpc464 and sworn at syntax errors). I was making full games in GFA Basic and STOS fairly quickly on my Atari ST. Returning to the school system I was bored shitless.

I'm now a poacher-turned-gamekeeper. I went abroad to teach, and had a decent amount of freedom with what I could teach, until the school introduced GCSEs for our older students. The practical stuff (MS Office, jeez) was stuff my 4th graders could do.

My 4th graders (age 9/10) could use MS Office, do some basic floor-turtle programming, basic DTP using advanced (non-microsoft) software, open up a PC, take it apart and put it back together and were comfortable in Adobe Fireworks and Photoshop. My 7th graders were comfortable with web design. My 8th graders had a working knowledge of databases (not just MS Access) and how one could use them in a variety of situations. My 9th and 10th graders could packet-sniff, program in PHP, etc. Then came GCSEs and we all got bored to tears. The practical was too easy and the theory was too dry, outdated and pointless (not to mention every lesson we'd have to run through corrections for the mistakes in our Cambridge-uni-produced books).

Unfortunately, the problem I suspect is one that exists on many levels:

1. It's hard to recruit skilled people on teaching salary. I'm unusual, I actually enjoy teaching, and yet my background means I can program many different languages, do web design, take PCs apart, do penetration testing, etc. Not too many of those people want to teach. Most of the time kids can outsmart their IT teachers and that really doesn't inspire confidence.

2. Kids have very short attention spans now compared to years ago. They want facebook, farmville and porn. They don't want to have to think too hard. They want quick and easy. Too many years focusing on making stuff accessible has, I suspect, created a generation that can't cope without hand-holding. Games didn't have tutorials on how to scroll the screen with your mouse when I was a kid.

3. Parents don't value education. Not all parents of course, but many British parents just want their kids to fit in, rather than being successful. The parents who say "oi Tyrone ya f*ckin c*nt get ere naaaaah" tend not to want their kids to be too swotty. Computing, like maths and science, is swotty and so not something to be encouraged. We need to change this culture.

4. The curriculum is shit. I mean seriously shit. When I got hold of a recent GCSE IT past paper I just laughed at it, as my primary kids could handle it. It was designed by idiots.

5. As alluded to by others, CLAIT is useless. Teach it at primary maybe to make sure the basic skills are there, just as we teach spelling, addition, subtraction, etc at that age, but move on quickly to real computer science.

I consider teaching to be a lot of fun and a very rewarding career (not financially, but on an emotional level) and if done well it could be a good career choice for many IT professionals. The only problem of course is that IT pros typically lack the people skills that teaching requires, and that's another facet of the problem. It's a subject where expert knowledge and teaching skill very rarely combine, due to the fact that the subject and teaching require two very different personality types.

IT education in the UK is a mess. I just hope that it can be sorted out at some point before all IT work ends up being outsourced to India not because it's cheap but because the skills just don't exist in the UK.

I'm sure there was something else I wanted to put here but I think I've gone on long enough!

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You, Sir or Madam, are just the sort of person this country's education system needs...

I feel like I meet quite a few of your ideals. Maybe I should rethink my plans for my late afternoon / twilight years. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with people, and am known as a bit of a Gnu/Linux evangelist amongst people of my acquaintance. Experience matters. Lots.

Most, probably 99% of people, are just simple users of apps, with little or no understanding, or interest, of/in the underlying technology. And that, perhaps, is how it should be.

For the remaining few, however, we still need more people like you, with the passion to instil a desire to learn in our kids. At least the ones whose spark can be transformed into a flame.

Hold the line. Hold the line! <<< Peter Gabriel.

AC, because that's my initials. But your AC is well understood. They're fuckers aren't they, kids.

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Great news!

"Since 2006 there has been a 33 per cent fall in pupils taking ICT GCSEs, and numbers taking A-levels in ICT have fallen by a third in six years. The number of candidates taking A-level Computing has fallen 57 per cent in eight years"

As a contractor this is great news to me.. skills shortage = rate hike!

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Linux

Me again

Forgot to mention. School is WIndows-centric now. Why? When I was a kid I used BBC Micro and Acorn at school, windows appearing when I was 15-16ish, and at home I had an Amstrad CPC464, Atari ST and then an Amiga. I used all sorts of different apps accross these different computers. I was exposed to many different ways to work. Kids don't get that now.

I had my kids using emulators to experience some older machines, and on a Virtual Machine we installed a dual-boot system with Windows and Linux, built systems from scratch in Arch Linux, installed apps [yep, amazingly most kids have no idea how to install software cos the school lab's always so locked down. I trusted my kids and had the means to quickly fix any problems so I let them have that control, and took away their fear of messing things up!), etc. Kids need a variety of different experiences so that they can adapt to anything that's thrown at them, and not freak out as soon as something's not Wintel+MS Office.

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Boffin

See my earlier posts on this thread...

My daughter is now fully conversant with all three major OS flavours. Windows, from 98SE to 7, Mac OS X, and Gnu/Linux in both Gnome and KDE flavours. Much to my chagrin, she has just gone back to the dark side. XP. She likes 7, but her lappy just struggles with only 1GB RAM. Linux flew in everything, but wouldn't play nice with MSN / Webcam over Kopete / Pidgin / Empathy etc. so she couldn't see her mates.

I'm gutted.

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Welcome

Jobs are good too

OK, so I didn't read all 3 pages, as everyone seems to agree schools can't teach, although that news item is at least 20 years old. And M$ has made a bad situation worse, also true. Although when apple gets their foot in the door "worse" goes to "mouth breathing lackey".

STILL, one point I haven't seen yet is it would just be super cool if there were jobs doing this stuff too. If a kid finds out they'll make less when they graduate than their father did, and they have to move to India to get any job at all, that can be somewhat off-putting.

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my 2p...

from what ive seen the modern IT courses are things that all people should learn, and those that excel or want to know more should have a much more interesting cyllabus. whats the point in forcing people to learn all kinds of pointless mathematics etc when pc basics are much more useful to the average joe, basic wordprocessing shouldnt be part of an IT course, its basic schooling.

im like many here:

im 35 so i grew up in the 80s with the BBC model B, speccy and c64. at junior school we were picked as a technology centre, and since i was the main person who loves all the tech i was given all sorts of things to play with. tilt switches and i/o connected to bbc micros, logic games etc. all good stuff and i was really into it. moved to senior school and first year didnt even get IT lessons! 2nd year i was told that due to my surname beginning with a T i would get to do IT lessons in the 3rd year. wow, way to turn someone with massive potential (i had people coming from companies to see me and talk about new products and was in a few schools tech videos too!) and kill it, dead!

i then moved schools and that one had one archemides in the whole school. i never even was allowed on it. subsequently my bbc at home turned into a game system as i was bored of typing in games and basic coding.

of course i then didnt take IT as my degree (i hadnt done any for 5 years of school), opting for architecture. hated that and dropped out, bummed about for a few years then took up GNVQ advanced in IT, wow, how uninspiring. in my career since ive not used any of the knowledge from that. i taught myself coding, design and building pcs outside of college.

from my experience UK IT courses arent worth the paper they are printed on.

would i advise my kids to get IT quals? NO. would i recommend they get a degree? no - we have floor layers here who earn more than double my salary. get a trade, you will earn more than most company MDs if you are savvy (my boss now was a floor layer - he earned £3k/week for doing that!)

kids today need a johnny ball type character to enthuse them!

@"On a side note, I'm sure those kids who picked on us 'nerds' are thoroughly enjoying their jobs flipping burgers now." - haha, some of the thicky kids from school now earn 3 time what i earn, just from being plumbers and builders. you know some tradesmen earn a grand a day dont you?

@"Son is doing it, but he got punished (as in work handed back with no mark) for handing in a document written using OO because the teacher was too idle to download the MS Word filter and load it." - no, your son failed because he didnt hand it in in .doc format, like asked.

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Stop

My Experience

Years 4-7: Used Textease. This was basically MS Office but all "child friendsly" as if we had never used MS Office at home. The only programming was 'Textease Turtle' which was LOGO created entirely through using a GUI to say forwards, backwards.

Year 8: Started using MS Office. Some people couldn't cope with the change. Consisted entirely of Word and Excel IIRC

Year 9-11: Did an 'Applied' GCSE course (The only one offered, which everyone had to do). Simple database, word, excel. created many many templates "memo" "fax header" "meeting minutes" etc. The written part of the exam was covered in the last half term. Consisted of questions such as "You want to connect a computer to a network, what hardware do you need" A: A Network Interface Card.

Many of my year ended up not coping with this course and never took the exam and hence did not get a GCSE in ICT. Why didn't they cope? I suspect they found it far too boring.

6th Form: Everyone at 6th form ahd to take the ECDL course which had questions even more insane that the GCSE questions - such as "If the mouse is not moving what is the problem? a) The mouse, b) The monitor c) The harddrive. The Computing A-Level I did was interesting. Programming in Pascal / Delphi for the first year coursework (a set program specification). And then using Access + VBA for the second year coursework (free-choice). Our teacher told us we had to use Access, although that was not required in the qualification specification. Interestingly many dropped out after the first few months of the first year - because they didn't realise that Computing involved programming. The college also offered a ICT course - which was described to us as computing without the programming. All of the department's budget went on a trip abroad to a theme-park abroad for the BTEC group.

I know for a fact that both the A Level and GCSE spec have changed since I took it, and both teachers agree it is now far worse than when I took it. The A-Level 1st Year coursework is now programmed in a brand new language created for the course, in front of a computer where you have access only to the website where you code it, whilst not being allowed access to any other website.

I'm now doing Computer Science at a top-10 university and can say that it has one of the highest drop-out rates, again because people don't realise what the course is.

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PIC instead of BBC Micro?

I think learning a little about low-level programming could help educate a new generation of geeks :-)

But instead of the Beeb, how about using PIC development kits?

At a slightly higher level, my favourite project in my HND Computer Studies course was using C under OS-9 on 68000 boxes to make vector graphics on oscilloscopes using digital to analogue boards - really cool!

I guess its all about getting a computer to do something other than just making something happen on a screen, be that turning LED's off and on, moving a robot arm or controlling a laser :-)

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Anonymous Coward

dndbdoi

I'm the teacher who posted earlier and agree that doing something away from a screen is very cool. When I was very young I was fortunate enough to encounter a teacher who had a circuit board with some lights on it, connected to a BBC Micro. I had hours of fun setting up traffic light sequencing on the board, taking into account pedestrians pressing the button (also on the board), etc. It's the kind of challenge that excites kids, and what we need more of.

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cloud-9 not os-9

How many Technology teacher is schools would even know how to wire up a scope to do vector graphics let alone how to make the anaogue board, in the first place. Given the budget - total lack of for what used to be called ITD information Technology and design. which was the intergartion of 4 separate subjects when i was in skool.

ie MetalWork+WoodWork+TechnicalDrawing+Electonics into one subject hence 3/4 of the timetable recovered for "better subjects" you then remove the lathes drills etc cos the schhol cant afford the cost of speacial equipment and qualified teachers and insurance.

Then remove the soldering irons so the poor little darnings dont burn themselves and the parent sue the school - gotta be loadsa more money than the dole.

So then make the whole thing a very booooorrrrring paper exercise based around a well known project planning tool from billy boy - and hey youve turn a teenager into a " non technical Project Manager" omg have we got toomany of them in this world already.

But given everything is now made in china, does this matter ? State Skools only produce dole forder and middle managment types anyhow.

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Paris Hilton

Easy-peasy really

1 - kids ain't daft but teechurz, school admin, exam & course admin, ... probably are

2 - you can tell the kids that this is the next big thing and look at how great it does that but bluffing is bluffing

3 - funding from above leading to a top-down initiative usually with wholesome visionary aspiration but delivered by dull minds (zombies?) zombifies the whole event/theme/curriculum

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...I'm looking forward to...

..teaching my 8 year-old how computer's really work.

Yes he does ICT at school, and now has a school email account which was the highlight of this last term, but it wasn't until I started to explain that the email he had just sent sitting next to me travelled 100's of miles away and back again in the blink of an eye (which I doubt his teacher could) did he go

"Wow! .....can you show me how computer's work dad?"

Until then ICT was drawing pictures, or learning how to cut & paste, and surfing the web, but without any concern for how or even why it works. Unfortunately, as many others have commented, I'm not sure he'd ever be given the answer to that question at school in the next 10 years based on the curriculum today :-(

Lucky for him I started life with a ZX81, followed by the Beeb Micro for my O + A level Computer Studies and a Computer Science degree, and 20 years on am still being paid well for what was a childhood hobby.

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FAIL

Why has it taken you this long?

My daughter has had her own computer since she was two. She could name all the main parts inside it when she was five. And had her own email account, and had a basic understanding of how mail "happened" to get there.

Perhaps you need to stoke the fire a bit.

BBC Micro? You were lucky! At my skool, we had a tele-type with acoustic coupler to an ICL mainframe with 64 KB of ferrite core RAM the size of a fridge. At 75 bps........

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@Anomalous Cowturd... because

..it didn't want to force my career and interests on them til they were ready.... and in any case prefer playing sport with them instead! I didn't start mucking about with computers 'til I was 10, so still plenty of time for them to get into it when they're ready, and am prouder that my 8 year old can already beat many adults at tennis rather than knowing the ASCII character set. :-)

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I thought A level computing was actually pretty good

I did A level computing and got an A grade in 2005, I thought it was a really good course to be honest and gave me a good grounded bit of knowledge for university. The thing was our teacher was a PhD student who was doing a bit of A-level/Uni teaching on the side and I can categorically say he was the best teacher I've ever had.

The content of the course was pretty good too, programming, data structures, how computers work, assembly etc - it felt like the first year of university rather than anything silly.

I'm glad I did computing. A level ICT just looked like 'How to use MS Office' rather than the stuff we was doing

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Grenade

its crap because its NOT ICT

3 years ago talking to my son's GCSE ICT teacher

me : so what programmes & OS do I need to get for him

ICT : just XL and Word

me : when does he learn networks ?

ICT : not on this course; we do Word & XL

me : what about IP addresses

ICT : word and xl

me : do you do anything else apart from word & xl

ICT : is there anything else ?

me (with dread) : what do you teach about word & xl

ICT : margins formatting and stuff

that's it; if they want to make ICT interesting then get M$ out of the schools & teach some damn computer skills not some crap application that only runs on a crap os

ICT teacher ran away from me when my daughter started in his class...

trades description act must surely apply

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Anonymous Coward

UK ICT classes killing future interest in school.

The ICT and computing classes are beyond boring if you know anything about computers. I started my A-levels with a group of friends who were classic computer geeks if you will. All of us did GCSE ICT and couldn't stand it.

It was simple but boring. Spelling out boring pieces of information you already know is actually painful but we got through it thinking A-level would be better. In the first 4 months one of my friends dropped out of school completely, after the first year another 2 dropped out because it wasn't worth it.

I decided to stick with school and managed to pull the only A of my class in ICT despite my attendance dropping so low they nearly kicked me out. I'm now at university and it's just as bad. I've failed my first year because I have no motivation for a course that's continuing a disappointing field record for computer related education.

My advice to almost everyone who's interested in technology : Drop out, learn it yourself, apply for university when you have reached the point where you can no longer teach yourself.

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Happy

But remember what good teachers make.

A difference.

But then my CS teacher lent me a book on OS design when I was 16. Virtualisation and address translation techniques were pretty hard going but I've been sort of hooked on those brown Addison Wesley hardbacks ever since.

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WTF?

Programming if easy

I remember turbo pascal was a single module in my electronics course, did loads of cool stuff and was a doddle to move to C later.

It took me 5 goes and 2GB of downloads to get JAVA up and running on my PC and I'm now a month into trying to decypher the libraries, This is my second attempt, I hate it.

Learning Programming these days sucks big-hairy-scrotums big-time, if they'd started out with Java in 1983 instead of Basic/C or Pascal (Or even Z80 assembly) I doubt a tenth of the UK programmers would be here.

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IT Angle

The more things change...

I recall in the late 80s I wasn't allowed to take GSCE IT (or whatever it was) as it was over-subscribed and I mentioned the dreadded word 'programming' when asked why I wanted to take that course. That's from all the messing about on my Speccy. Still looks like I didn't miss anything, as I saw what they had to do, and it was boring.

Though I did take A-Level Computing which I enjoyed greatly and as well as the usual basics ended up programming in COMAL (a structured BASIC) on BBC Masters. There were a few Archemedies about at the time, but their main use was WYSIWYG word processing/DTP. So after that I thought I'd be a programmer!

So then went to do a compsci degree where I hit (mainly) Modula2 (aka Son Of Pascal) and realised I wasn't much of a programmer. Fortunately I manged to become a sys admin via my sandwhich year. Though some developers have asked if I was a developer in a past life after looking at some of my shell scripts.

In conclusion for the job I do now a heafty chunk of all the 'IT' education was mostly useless and I just learnt stuff my myself.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The more things change...

"In conclusion for the job I do now a heafty chunk of all the 'IT' education was mostly useless and I just learnt stuff my myself."

look at the bigger picture and you'll realise that a hefty chunk of ALL your education was useless. Truth be told, schools don't really teach anything, other than how to obey orders.

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Sweet Jesus

http://pastpapers.org/GCSE/ict/1_2Jun07.pdf

Look at that.

5a is a good one. I bet the signed document answer is actually "fax" as the "correct" answer, although e-mail would be better due embedded digitial signatures.

Interesting choice of wording, I asked one of the dumbfucks at work, just out of fun, "if you wanted a face to face conversation with someone would you A) fax them, B) use video conferencing or C) e-mail them?".

They replied, quite unexpectedly I might add, "Neither. If I wanted a face to face conversation with them, I'd walk up to them and talk to them".

Made me lol.

What shit exam / qualification.

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It's a load of old crap let's be honest...

i've been thru the whole thing & gave up. The truth is, Teacher Training & the ability to qualify for teaching is simply a process to eliminate anyone who has the wrong PC mindset. They want good compliant dweebs with a degree.

i mean i'm self taught, and i'm way ahead of degree level, but can i teach the subject? nope.

I called some colleges to see about getting some papers so i can teach... they asked me what I do... i told them... they said: either i should be teaching at their college or i should be doing a phd

but can i teach in a school? nope

i already did a 2 year community education teachers course and during that course, due to admin cock-ups, I ended up teaching 30 classes alone and un-aided in a secondary school... I'm pretty sure thats more than a person gets on a real teacher training course. Plus we did 2 years of educational theory full-time, not just one year like on a regular teacher course.

So I have a total of 2 years of a degree (left to start my own business). 2 years of teacher training... and 20 years of experience in PC hardware and internet design (Intranet design etc, not making stupid web-pages with dreamweaver, lol). But still i cant teach legaly in a school!!

how fucking stupid is that?

on top of that my kid did a degree and frankly while he now has a degree he knows very little about the subject he is qualified in, cos education nowadays is about MONEY and that's it.

They pass degrees out to all and sundry simply to sustain their funding.

For example; on my kids course one of the teachers spent an entire term teaching the wrong syllabus!. When they found out they just passed everyone, even tho they hadn't even done the work!

So those people with those half-assed degrees are then able to qualify as teachers for god's sake! That's just madness!

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Go

@OO posters

Open office does have a Save as option which includes .DOC (2003) which seems to work well.

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Paris Hilton

To be honest ...

It really is a manifestation of top-down-ism where the inspiration, foresight and aspiration is well-intended but appallingly delivered.

As far as further education goes: GIF and JPEGs as examples of vector artwork?

Honestly, a dire, poorly funded sit-com on tv could not be worse.

There was a time when thinking went along lines of: if you want to enhance teaching of a subject then get an enthusiast of that subject but times change and numptiz (zombies?) move in and can do the mechanics but loosely lose on the aesthetics that make those mechanics interesting.

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FAIL

IT WOT ??

OK thats easy.

Cos' it soooo boooooring like init.

Look at whats being taught and by whom.

The kids are more advanced as users of the tech than the teachers.

They may not understand what lies beneath it, but then again nor do 99.9% of the teachers, (actualy nor do they have the time to find out either; given the stat's, compliance paper work, setting and making homework and having a life outside of school). The Kids do know how to use it - to their advantage and have fun with it.

Is teaching them how to put an equation into a well known speadsheet from lucifer what will produce the next generation of gadg inventors - Hmmm I think not.

The whole thing needs a TOTAL think.

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