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State of IT in Education

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by welshwaynejack, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. welshwaynejack

    welshwaynejack Bit Poster

    Since education has come up a lot lately I thought I would like to ask everyone their views on the current state of IT in education. In other words what are your feelings of IT being taught in the national curriculum, colleges or universities?

    From my personal experience IT especially in schools needs to be brought into the 21st century very quickly. My experience in school was mainly learning Microsoft office and playing the very dated Grannies Garden game, while being taught by teachers who had no real IT experience or knowledge...College was an improvement but that was down to myself enrolling on a BETEC course which, offered some reason insight into proper IT and some tidy lecturers who knew their stuff...University on the other hand was a big let down with out of date subjects, poor lecturers who didn’t know what they were talking about and to be honest wasn’t worth the fees paid...On the bright side my masters university is a huge step up but still could be improved....

    Do you think IT in education needs a fresh approach? Should universities incorporate base line certifications into their course modules to improve the standard of education taught? Should the BCS have more say on the content of IT taught in schools?

    Would really like to know what you all think/Experiences etc?

    Thanks for your time and sorry for any grammer or spelling errors I suffer from dyslexia
    Certifications: Bsc Computer and Information Systems
    WIP: Msc Computer Forensics
  2. westernkings

    westernkings Gigabyte Poster

    We can't assume that everyone wants to work in IT when they are older. IT in School is IT usage and that is how it should be. College IT should be refined with courses either about improving IT Usage (making you more attractive because of your IT skills) or on our side of the IT coin, which is supporting.

    Teaching everyone how computers are built isn't particularly beneficial. Not everyone wants to know or cares, but then again, the option should at least be available for people who DO want to know.
  3. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    This takes too narrow and literal definition of IT for me, the subjects not just vocational, some theory is useful too, we don't teach maths just with a calculator for the same reason.

    There was no 'IT' in school for me, it was Business Studies or Computer Science, now Business Studies was taught extremely poorly but could have been a good way to learn office style skills in a non techie way. Computer Science was what it should have been which was basic Von Neumann arch, Boolean Algebra, Binary Arithmetic / Number System, introduction to programming in Basic, some history / background on computer hardware.

    I think many colleges are doing a great job with masters courses and vocational courses, I think there are some padding or out of date modules on many standard Computer Science degree courses. You either have to get intro a great Uni or just make the best of it by studying around the subject off your own back. Potentialy going on multiple courses from multiple places.

    I actually think most people that want to work in IT should know the basics of how a computer works. Just like a mechanic should know how an engine works, even if he specialises in gearboxes. Good rally drivers also learn basic mechanic skills, why not raise the bar rather than lower it ?

    IMHO there are already too many people in IT who don't know how a computer works...
  4. L1ONE

    L1ONE Bit Poster

    IT in school is abysmal, I didn't even get put forward for my GCSE because apparently I was under achieving in that class. The reason I was under achieving was because it was so boring literally every lesson was either make a database in access, or add clip art into word, everything was written out in some monotonous step by step routine. At the end of the day, they expect all homework to be done on computers these days, so kids obviously have knowledge of Office.
    Certifications: CompTIA A+, MCDST, MCP
    WIP: N+ maybe.
  5. danielno8

    danielno8 Gigabyte Poster

    I think WK's point was that teaching how a computer works to people who DON'T want to work in IT is not beneficial.
    Certifications: CCENT, CCNA
  6. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    As a teacher, I share your frustrations.
    However, there are a few things you need to consider.

    Firstly, a national curriculum is always going to be a dinosaur. Making changes to it is never easy. First you have a commitee to spend months if not years deciding 'out IT curriculum needs updating'. Then you have a drawn out investigation into how it should be updated. Then you write it up and decide which textbooks get used. Then you make sure it isn't sexist or racist or non-pc. Then you change it because some jobsworth decides it unfairly favours a particular technology or manufacturer. Then you test it, then you roll it out... By which time it's out of date by a few years again.

    Secondly, although steps have been taken to improve this over the years, education isn't always there to prepare you for real life. It teaches you generic skills and processes, but very rarely actual vocational practices. Remember 'O' levels? Generations of people with French 'O' levels who couldn't speak French, but could quote from a few bits of literature. GCSEs were supposed to change all that so you could ask for directions at least.

    Thirdly, you need to cater for all aptitudes and abilities. Many people have no interest in IT and even more have no aptitude for it, so the curriculum has got to cater for the lowest average which will always leave those with ability feeling frustrated. Sadly, our education system is not designed to help people maximise any potential they may have, in the same way that Bernard Matthews wasn't really interested in putting the best of the turkey into his fritters.

    When I was at school, IT didn't really exist as a subject in its own right - it was some kind of nerds offshoot of engineering. I learned to program in Fortran at Uni for goodness sake, and I've never seen it since.

    So, yes, it's bound to suck.
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  7. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    When I went most GCSE modules other than English and Maths picked by preference, and so are further and higher education courses and modules? Is IT a mandatory module now? So only those who are interested in IT would take Computer Science / IT modules, and if they want to work in IT they should be prepared to learn a few things abut computers ?

    The people with no interest in IT should probably avoid the subject and chose another option no ? Agreed on the points about a curriculum and dumbing down for mass audience though.

    Well acutally I prefer the engineering aspects of IT and think a lot of good stuff was done in those days and still is from places that see aspects of IT as Engineering. Fortran is still very much in use in certain fields, its still an excelent language for Mathematics programming and used in many fields, LAPACK is written in Fortran as is very popular.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  8. Jiser

    Jiser Kilobyte Poster

    If you want to get a job in I.T. students should have the sense to go out and find more, read around the subject and find contacts in I.T.

    Yes alot should change in education but its just to broad a subject and ever evolving to get right. Its up to the individual institutions to employ the right staff to make it happen for the kids.

    For example, I.T. staff who have worked in I.T. or who are well placed to assist career queries. Simple things such as those students who show an aptitude for I.T. and interest could be placed in the schools I.T. support department a few hours a week to learn more, shadow and assist. Although this perhaps differs to the big corporate world or business it would be a start.
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), PGc, MCTS:Win 7, MCSA W7/MCITP EDST, ITIL Foundation, Prince 2 Foundation, C&G: Web Design, MOS 07: Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook.

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