When I first picked up this book I made an error of judgement. Noticing that it seemed quite slim, I thought I could finish reading it in just one or two sessions. However, what I had not counted on was the book’s living up to its title. In short, it made me think. It made me think about what the author was saying in its own right, that is whether or not I agreed with it. It also caused me to reflect on my own practice as a teacher and, now, as a consultant.
In the context of technology, the main issue is that not enough girls go into computer science studies beyond the statutory provision, or computer-related jobs. Various figures are cited, but it seems to be generally agreed that only around 16 or 17% of students in undergraduate courses in Computer Science in the UK are female, and only around 27 or 28% of employees in information technology jobs are women — a figure that is true for both the UK and the USA. So what can be done about it?
“Where are the girls?” is one of the articles in the latest issue of Digital Education, the free newsletter for those with a professional interest in educational ICT and Computing. This article looks at what the issues are and, crucially, offers practical solutions and suggests several resources that you may find useful in this context.
Other articles include:
Sometimes I am not quite sure whether a statement is obvious or not obvious at all. In such cases I try to take the view that if it was that obvious, I wouldn’t need to comment at all. Take the statement “Coding is not debugging”. Of course it isn’t. But to read what some people have written you could be forgiven for thinking that an ability to write good code automatically confers the ability to be good at debugging. Well, like the old Porgy and Bess song has it, it ain’t necessarily so.
There are people like myself, Steve Wheeler and others who think that blogging is a good thing to do for a number of reasons. I won’t rehearse theme here because you can read them in the articles referenced at the end of this one. However, blogging is not necessarily easy. Even if writing itself is not a problem, there are several other factors that need to be taken into account.
There are lots of assessment grids and approaches being developed for the new Computing curriculum, which is wonderful. But how do you know which one is right for you? In this article I provide a few principles of assessment which I hope will provide some food for thought. These come partly from a course I’ve been teaching on the subject.
These are general principles which I have applied to the context of computing and ICT.
Here are 5 assessment for learning techniques you may wish to try out. They are generic, but I think they are especially useful in the context of Computing and ICT. As well as my own work and experience, I have drawn on Dylan Wiliam’s book, Embedded Formative Assessment, Black and Wiliam’s Inside the Black Box.
With the new Computing Programme of Study looming on the horizon, schools do not have an enormous amount of time left in which to get ready for it. What practical steps can you take in order to be up and running in September?
The new Computing Programme of Study has been criticised not only for its content, but also for the terminology it uses. In particular, it speaks about “computational thinking”, “algorithms” and “decomposition”. “Surely”, the argument goes, “they could have used ordinary everyday language?”
Had “they” decided to do that, there would no doubt have had so many people panicking about it all. So, it’s a compelling suggestion. It just happens to be wrong.
Zaneta Stepien explains what the Internet of Things is, and why we should be excited about it.
Technology never fails to bring us exciting developments and always promises to make our lives better. In recent years, there has been an explosion of technological creativity and innovation, with bold projects being undertaken in all corners of the Earth: from wireless power, 3D printing, gamification, autonomous vehicles and Automatic Content Recognition, to mobile robots and -- the topic of this post -- The Internet of Things, or, as some call it, The Internet of Everything. Sounds grand? Well, it's probably because it is. The promise of this enterprise is nothing short of game-changing,
(For the benefit of readers who don’t live in England, in September there will be a new Computing Programme of Study (ie the specification laid down in the National Curriculum), and schools no longer have to use “Levels” to assess pupils’ work.)
I was involved in a conference about preparing for the new computing curriculum recently (see Planning for the new Computing curriculum), and one of the delegates asked me:
“But what are we supposed to do about assessment now?”
“Well”, I replied. “Regard it as an opportunity.”
Cue guffaws of laughter.
Yew Tree Primary School in Sandwell is always on the lookout for opportunities to help improve the learning environments of its pupils. As an Apple Regional Training Centre, the school is very keen on utilising technology to enhance the curriculum with all its KS2 pupils having their own iPad 24/7 365 days a year.
At first sight, it seems bizarre that despite the fact that many teachers urgently need professional development, and time, in order to be ready to teach Computing in September, headteachers are not always allowing them to attend courses during school time. A business planning approach by ICT leaders in school could help.
You may think that a business plan is not relevant to you because you’re not running a business. But actually, many of the things that a business has to do, like marketing and budgeting – and planning – are what you do have to do in one form or another. All a business plan is is a statement of where you would like to be at a certain point in the future, and what steps you need to take in order to get there.
There are many courses being offered to help you plan for, and implement, the new Computing Programme of Study. Here is a short selection of providers to get you started.