Government (Education) Lockin

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Postby linuxgirlie » Wed May 11, 2005 10:56 am

If your being fussy:

and I do worry that people who should know better don't but that is their problem NOT it is all our problem

.....that sentence doesn't read correctly......
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Postby towy71 » Wed May 11, 2005 10:57 am

your a woman only thirty things ;-) I can barely scratch my a*** and chew gum at the same time :lol:
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Postby towy71 » Wed May 11, 2005 10:58 am

the irony of it ;-)
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Postby linuxgirlie » Wed May 11, 2005 11:02 am

:D
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Postby guy » Wed May 11, 2005 5:38 pm

nordle wrote:Learning to write has got to be more important than learning to use a computer for a child at primary school.

How many people, myself included, now cannot spell ... Is too much emphasis put in writing and numeracy skills?


There are two different issues here, which come together in due course.

The art of writing has changed hugely in recent years. Spelling has become infected with new world variations like "color" and "randomize", and most recently th txt fnomnon. Grammar is like not what is was (spoken with a rising inflexion on the "was" as if it were a question). Regional accents and dialect are more commonplace (while at the same time dying out - eh?). Teachers don't really have a "standard Engish" to teach any more.

At a personal level, the kind of brain that is imaginative and good at 3D is more likely to be bad at spelling and maths, despite being every bit as intelligent. Such a brain needs a very different teaching regime. Maybe that's your trouble, nordle - did anybody check you out at primary school?

In other words, kids need individual attention, appropriate to their personal development and their local culture. They don't get it. Never have. Just, nowadays we have more collective outrage for the losers than we used to.

nordle wrote:The problem is that computers help you to learn how to use computers, but thats about it...


It is sooo depressing to see you say that. We fought so hard to move on to fun, instructive educational software (and gadgets like my Joypad) that would integrate the virtues of IT into the everyday curriculum. Computers can be used to teach so much more than just IT. I know, I saw it happen. Speccys, Beebs, Amigataris, RM 380Z's, they all had some great software and grew some fantastic kids.

And then I watched it die. Schools got dragged into the expensive support/upgrade cycle by he who must not be named, and they just lost the plot. I mean, what French teacher in their right mind would prefer expensive and buggy Windows software to UK developed text books? What Head of IT has time in between reboots and printer outages to find and install decent Physics software for the kids to play, er, I mean learn on? Political correctness played its part too: some modern strategy games are fantastic at teaching history and business studies, for example, but the stuff is banned from school PCs because it's "video games."

What, uh? Is it the 21st century again? Ho hum. mst txt mi m8 4 t time.
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Postby M0PHP » Wed May 11, 2005 9:07 pm

I must agree on you on a couple of points there guy. For example, I skimmed through one of the random teacher (sorry, 'education')-related newspapers at lunchtime today; and read one piece that mentioned something about there being a huge difference later in life between kids who were taught using the "phonics" method of words, and the look-say-cover-write-check method (or whatever name they have for it this term).

I think a wide-spread issue for schools to tackle is consistency, while at the same time giving individual attention where possible to the ones who need it. But I understand it must be difficult to do this when the Government change the curriculum every year; and one year decide it is okay to do things one way but then say it's not okay the next year :evil:
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Postby nordle » Wed May 11, 2005 10:14 pm

linuxgirlie wrote:Don't start, I once had to help my partner mark ICT mock exams and we had around 5 pupils who wrote there whole exam that way.

Nordle I take offence at your facts I'm 21 on June the 1st and pretty sure I haven't got poor or awful skills (or should that be skillz) :wink:


But I don't know you, so that doesn't count :)
Maybe I just hang around with stupid people to make myself appear more clever than I really am :)

quy wrote some of these quotes, but I can't be arsed to keep using the quote brackets, if theres an easier way please let me know wrote:


>>did anybody check you out at primary school?
Guy cm'on, I was the travolter of our primary school, ie a tendancy to walk funny and violently point :)

>>At a personal level, the kind of brain that is imaginative and good at 3D is more likely to be bad at spelling and maths, despite being every bit as intelligent. Such a brain needs a very different teaching regime

Ahh, I think, although I didn't write it, that Im agreeing with you, or maybe we are just agreeing on certain points. In that I got the feeling for a few years that vast sums of cash was spent on PC's, but for no reason other than "its technological advancement, so it must be good". Teaching should educate yes, but it should also (hopefully) inspire kids, now if your saying that PC's can be used in addition to the basics, not 100% stick a kid infront of a CRT, not really as a PC in the office sense of the word, but more as a visual tool which gets kids engaged and creative, I can see real value in that for Primary school kids. A bit like the modern version of creative arts type lessons, you know, coloured papers glitter glue etc etc just without the mess, and yet they still get used to the input devices at the same time.
For some bizarre reason I had images of slave driving these 4-8yr olds infront of word getting them to type stuff (which of course it can, but not just limited to that).

>>>The problem is that computers help you to learn how to use computers, but thats about it...
It is sooo depressing to see you say that. We fought so hard to move on to fun, instructive educational software (and gadgets like my Joypad) that would integrate the virtues of IT into the everyday curriculum. Computers can be used to teach so much more than just IT.

Its clear that you KNOW what your talking about, and I don't. I think Im trying to say that I get a concern that PC's could be used as a clinical passifier, that they end up taking over from teachers, dumbing down kids rather than engaging them, and be used in a VERY dull and boring way.
I think Im begining to see that that is NOT what your saying is happening and I've totally missunderstoof the role of ICT in primary education classrooms.

>>>Schools got dragged into the expensive support/upgrade cycle by he who must not be named, and they just lost the plot. I mean, what French teacher in their right mind would prefer expensive and buggy Windows software to UK developed text books? What Head of IT has time in between reboots and printer outages to find and install decent Physics software for the kids to play, er, I mean learn on?

EXACTLY, thats the stage I remember at middle school, cutting back on teachers jobs to install a new IT infrastructure that nobody knew how to use and, christ it was so boring, there seemed a total lack of imagination. It was only at secondary school that we could see people producing art on a PC, scanning photos we'd taken in and using PSP and some weird effects, spending a similar amount of time and effort as on a more traditional canvas etc. In science we were doing basic robotics with lego and old BBC's, , it made logic gates interesting which is no easy task. In history, instead of just reading out of a text book, we used the doomsday system (yet more BBC's) to get more local information, then field trips to actually visit these places. In all areas it was used a complementary device, I think that worked well.

Crap, your right that its depressing that I've become extremely narrow minded over the last few years, I've got to get a new job :cry:

Perhaps not an teacher in ICT though :lol:
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Postby M0PHP » Wed May 11, 2005 10:53 pm

A lot of schools just, sort of buy on impulse. It's the people at the top who hear a buzzword (ala VLE, Video Conferencing etc) and make the definitive decision "we want this" and from there on it goes down-hill. It is then the technical staff at the bottom of the chain that get to hear last and a deadline to have it implemented by. For an example, our school is heading for this specialist school status in the PE area. Building work began on a large sports hall (with other miscellaneous rooms) at the beginning of this year (plans drawn up last year) and now has the foundations laid and main steelwork erected. Only now is the question being asked by our management team "well what IT is going into the new building then?" and of course we are unaware of any as nobody has come to us and said anything.

But getting back to the topic ;)

I do think school's have bought into IT and then wondered what they want to do with it. Computers are a great tool for use in education if they are used correctly. At a primary level I feel it is quite important for them to grasp the technology but not let other things slip (such as writing).
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Postby andychannelle » Thu May 12, 2005 10:24 am

I think there are degrees of use issues when it comes to PCs in the classroom. They are not a substitute for a teacher, but in the right hands can augment a child's learning enormously, just as a book, audio tape or television can. To go to the argument in primary schools, it's unlikely that a child's writing book will be replaced with a PC due to cost (writing book and pencil: 60p; personal computer £300 (not including support)), so children tend to get short sessions on the computer - often supervised by a helpful parent - while the teacher gets on with the rest of the class. Sometimes the children sit down in front of an interactive whiteboard while the teacher does stuff at the front, just as my teachers would have done 28 years ago with the blackboard - I was also surprised (in a good way) that a lot of this type of software didn't try to "make maths/English exciting" with lots of flashy nonsense, and the kids really responded to the simple idea of counting beads on a string.

On that token, will Linux drive an interactive whiteboard?

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Postby linuxgirlie » Thu May 12, 2005 12:58 pm

andychannelle wrote:On that token, will Linux drive an interactive whiteboard?


What do you mean by drive? You can have a computer attached to an interactive whiteboard and it will work, but you wonit get all the nice fancy features, as that is driven by the software not the board itself.
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Postby guy » Thu May 12, 2005 5:47 pm

nordle flipped and wrote:
quy wrote some of these quotes, but I can't be arsed to keep using the quote brackets, if theres an easier way please let me know wrote:


Let's go for it.

>>For some bizarre reason I had images of slave driving these 4-8yr olds infront of word getting them to type stuff (which of course it can, but not just limited to that).

It still goes on :(
My 8 year old knew more techy stuff about the school PCs than the head of IT, and had to help him out with things like copying files from one PC to another. The lessons were just typing things in Word and dropping in clipart, so the kids played mutli-player shoot-em-ups while he was out the room. They were the only class in years to do well in their IT exam. :lol:

>>Im trying to say that I get a concern that PC's could be used as a clinical passifier, that they end up taking over from teachers, dumbing down kids rather than engaging them, and be used in a VERY dull and boring way.
>>I think Im begining to see that that is NOT what your saying is happening and I've totally missunderstoof the role of ICT in primary education classrooms.

Sadly it happens that way all too often. I see FOSS as liberating the school IT admin to become a hacker again. BASIC was great for that - a generation of software authors started out writing stuff for their own school, whether as teacher, parent, or pupil.
You could never do that on a PC. Try animating Spot the Dog in DOS/ncurses or VB. And no, even if the Flash GUI were simple enough for teachers to use, they couldn't afford it. Teachers have dumbed down the kids because the Wintel badwagon has dumbed them down.
Enter FOSS. Freedom to hack. Free as in beer tools. Freedom to be more than just a Windows reboot slave again. Why, the Head of IT might get to enjoy their job again! And if that happens, the kids are sure to pick up the infection....

>>Crap, your right that its depressing that I've become extremely narrow minded over the last few years, I've got to get a new job :cry:

>>Perhaps not an teacher in ICT though :lol:

Certainly not. Teach a different subject and then bring in a Linux box running the software the kids "really, really need" :roll:
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Postby coleridge » Sun May 15, 2005 9:17 pm

Quote I saw somewhere which may be apposite:

"Education is about lighting fires, not filling buckets."
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Postby Nigel » Sun May 15, 2005 9:58 pm

coleridge wrote:Quote I saw somewhere which may be apposite:

"Education is about lighting fires, not filling buckets."


Unfortunately, today education is about ticking boxes and passing artificial tests to get good position in league tables :(
Hope this helps,

Nigel.
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Postby coleridge » Sun May 15, 2005 10:09 pm

I know. My day job is as a teacher!
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Postby TonyLB » Tue May 17, 2005 4:04 pm

As an ex teacher who spent years trying to get Linux into the classroom, there are a few issues that are consistently ignored by advocates. The main one is software availability. By this, I don't mean browsers, office apps etc., but things like RE or language software which has been incorporated into schemes of work. Several history teachers I know have build part of their year 7 - 9 programmes around history info and simulation packages which have no open source equivalent which presents the same material in the same way.

Why should they and many others spend large amounts of precious time redoing all of their worksheets, handouts, programmes of study etc? And Wine isn't the answer. As I know only too well from experience, there is a lot of education software out there which is badly written and which doesn't work properly (or at all) under Wine. That's why I still have to maintain a dual boot machine.

Now add to that the MS licensing scheme. As long as you have to run Windows on some machines, or at some times, so as to run this educational stuff then it is often as cheap to get a full licence to include Windows and Office on every machine.

What we need is pressure on the educational software people to provide non Windows versions. Possibly the exam boards too. About three years ago one GCSE IT paper asked students how they would do something using Excel! We complained of course, but by then it was too late.

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