[ubuntu-uk] BBC Click

Avi Greenbury lists at avi.co
Mon Jun 6 17:42:59 UTC 2011

J Fernyhough wrote:
> Firstly, the vast majority of teachers don't have the skills of
> knowledge to be able to teach anything other than office skills

This is precisely what's *wanted* in order that IT teachers can teach
IT. At the moment, the IT taught in school is an introduction to using
computers in the other subjects - processing statistics in a
spreadsheet, writing essays in a word processor, editing images, that
sort of thing.

What needs to happen before IT can possibly be expected to start
teaching IT is for these basic skills to be taught in the same places
as the non-computer-related basic skills. Word processors should be
covered in English lessons, spreadsheets in maths or a science, image
processing in art, search engines in history and that sort of thing.

The problem here is that the curriculum is not really about anything in
particular except being a curriculum. We can't work out whether school
is about learning for learning's sake, preparing students for work,
preparing students for life in general or something else entirely. It
still feels heavily geared towards staffing the governance of

A larger problem is that a lack of understanding of computers is a
complete non-issue. Many people genuinely believe it is more important
to know the date of VE day than what a firewall does.

> When one particular example won't touch on image editing (despite it
> being in the scheme of work) because they'd have to learn how to use
> Photoshop Elements what hope is there of getting them to do any sort
> of programming?

Why should an IT teacher be teaching art anyway?

> Secondly, the majority of children don't care about how a computer
> works (any more than they care how a car works)

I suspect they're not overly bothered about trigonometry or the
differences between plant cells and animal cells. The point of a
curriculum isn't to be interesting.

> Essentially, it comes down to the fact that teaching difficult stuff
> is difficult, and most teachers aren't up to it.

This is untrue in many fields that aren't IT. We seem to manage to
provide children with science and maths and $difficultSubject teachers
The problem is that the IT curriculum is more about teaching kids how
to do other subjects with computers than it is about computers.

It's roughly akin to using English literature lessons to teach
students the meanings of their History course texts.


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