[ubuntu-uk] (Marketing) Royal Society asks you - why IT is boring?

Grant Sewell dcglug at thymox.co.uk
Thu Aug 26 12:44:14 BST 2010

Further to the other replies...

I've had a look through the KS3 and the KS4 curricula and, in my
opinion, there's nothing in there that is necessarily "bad".  So if it
isn't the subject itself that's turning people away, perhaps it is the
people who teach it.

In my experience, all too often a school will get non-specialists to
teach the IT subjects.  I have seen math teachers, English teachers,
music teachers and science teachers all actively timetabled for IT
lessons - so I'm not talking about "cover" work.

I do believe, as per another's comments, that having the "using office
products" side of thing embedded into other subjects *should* free up
the IT classes for more engaging topics, but these can only be made
engaging and taught effectively if the teacher has a background to
support the subject.

I am not lambasting anybody here who may be an IT teacher at secondary
level - if you are and your school is actively engaged in employing an
IT specialist to teach IT, then I applaud you and your school... but
please look around at your competition - the majority of them will, I
have no doubt, fit my description above.

As for the Alan's question: "Could it be that a strong bias towards
proprietary products is not inspiring students?".  I doubt it.  Much
and all as I share everyone's passion for Free Software (with
capital letters), I cannot bring myself to say that "if it isn't Free
Software it must be boring/uninspiring".  There is a veritable tonne of
really interesting and cool non-Free Software out there that could be
used within secondary IT classes.  I think we, as advocates and
proponents of Free Software, should perhaps be taking a greater
interest and should be actively trying to engage in discussion about
what software *is* used, what non-Free Software *is available* and how
it compares with the equivalent Free Software offerings.

Incidentally, in case anybody here is interested, there is a project
called "Digitial Freedom in Education and Youth" (DFEY.org) that looks
really promising and could probably do with some more promotion and
involvement from the likes of us lot. :)

Wow!  That was longer than I had thought it would be.  Thanks for
reading. :)


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