So I recently discovered, that the government has now changed the schools’ GCSE computing practical element from 80% to 20% – what are they doing???
On the one hand we have a massive shortage of people interested in the subject in the first place, schools are crying out for any way to get more girls to choose the subject and this is the response??
Computing is a practical subject. Wait, let me say that again
print(“Computing is a practical subject”);
We were so excited when it became a stand alone subject, believing that the DofE was finally starting to put things right in education by leaning towards more hands on, real life relevant learning. Gosh we were so naive.
They’ve ruined maths, science and ICT already…are they really going to continue in the same line of thought with computing? You’re right, yes they probably are.
So we’ve been snapped out of our naivety and are calling on all teachers and anyone else interested in education to do something.
What do we recommend?
Teachers: Just because the syllabus has reduced the practical element, doesn’t mean that your lessons have to.
We all know that most students learn and remember more by doing, so keep all of your current practical activities – in fact, increase them. Learning about Algorithms, Programming techniques, Data representation and so on will make much more sense when the students have actually done it themselves.
Students opting to do computing at GCSE have high expectations, they want to get to the nitty gritty of code and feel like a real programmer – give them that chance.
Use robots and electronics: You probably saw this coming, but kids love seeing their programs work in the real world, so any kind of robotics, or interactive model making will enthuse your students. Deliver it in a way that they have to learn the theory in order to complete their projects – if you need more info on this or need a hand on running some robot workshops, just shout.
Parents: Do everything you can to encourage hands on projects, ask them how their phones work, when they come up against a usability problem, ask them how they would redesign it.
Get them to think like makers, as opposed to a student of computing.
Experts: Well, we’re going to keep doing what we do, making sure kids get to experience the fun side of computing and making robots. If anyone else is reading this who is a programmer/engineer or similar, why not take some of your latest work and show it to some students?
Computing is about problem solving and hands on learning – we all need to do everything we can to keep it that way.
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