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With a new low cost programmable computer - educators hope to rebuild the programming base of the UK.
I think its been too long with the UK not teaching its kids how to get a job in technology, meaning that all the high skill value jobs are being fulfilled with well trained overseas talent. Great for companies but crap for voter's family's.
I hope in time this means more original development within the UK and more skilled worker tax and spend kept in the UK fuelling economic growth and filling a thirst for knowledge and career fulfilment amongst the young. Of course we still have to learn to work hard not not expect a free ride.
And of course you too could now program you own Ethernet controlled photography device if you wanted.
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Absolutely. When my daughter was moving to secondary school, I asked what programming they teach. The response was that you don't need to know how to program a computer, just how to use Word, Excel and Powerpoint.....
If you try buying a Raspberry Pi today, you will be asked to "register your interest", you can't buy em yet.
In the 'early' days of computing (in my case I'm talking about the 1980s) I learned to programme in various flavours of the BASIC language, Pascal & Turbo Pascal, 6502 & then Intel 8086 assembly languages, but never found much use for them after leaving various college courses. I think the problem was that you could learn a bit of programming in a 12-week or 16-week module on a longer course in science or engineering, but it didn't make you the expert they usually require in industry/commerce.
Quote: Great for companies but crap for voter's family's
Not great for companies either really. I've been trying to fight the dumbing down of IT subjects in schools for over a decade now (in a small way, locally, i.e. as much as I can without being a national policy setter). IT teachers I know understand the issues and one in particular has been a big advocate for 'proper' IT education. Despite that, it's gradually become harder and harder to recruit great programmers under the age of 30 or so. That makes life tougher for tech startups like the one I work for. 20 years ago that wasn't the case because when kids studied IT they learned how computers worked and how to create software, not just how to use MS Office.
The recent moves such as raspberry pi and attempts to change the focus of schools is really welcome IMO. We have a key skills shortage that's been 15-20 years in the making and it'll take a similar time to fix but at least we're moving in the right direction now and that's really, really good news.
I used to do all sorts of engineering days at schools, great egg race type challenges with a group of us from local companies - do these still go on ?
Must be 15 years since I last did one.
Quote: Absolutely. When my daughter was moving to secondary school, I asked what programming they teach. The response was that you don't need to know how to program a computer, just how to use Word, Excel and Powerpoint.....
I recall my A-level IT class was basically two parts - one building something with Access and the other learning "buzzwords" used "in the industry" for things (well that was what most of the theory side boiled down to). Coding was advanced stuff they didn't even bother with - not even as far as basic webcode for website making.
I think IT has been one of those subjects that has been allowed (in most schools) to slip by rather weak which is a massive weakness (esp when most students end up learning more on their own and faster about basic computer use than the teachers). Heck give it a few more generations and most of the IT lessons taught now won't even be worth teaching as the students would already know all the content.
Great to see something as essential as coding getting into the more mainstream education!
Quote: In the 'early' days of computing (in my case I'm talking about the 1980s) I learned to programme in various flavours of the BASIC language, Pascal & Turbo Pascal, 6502 & then Intel 8086 assembly languages, but never found much use for them after leaving various college courses. I think the problem was that you could learn a bit of programming in a 12-week or 16-week module on a longer course in science or engineering, but it didn't make you the expert they usually require in industry/commerce.
Me too, although my first job was actually coding in 8086 assembler. Moved to C, then C++, C# and Java now.
Haven't touched Basic for 25 years. Same with Pascal, Modula 2, Cobol......
I fancy making a smart browser for my TV with one.
Seems a good plan strawman - I thought I might do the same for a little dashboard at work hooked up to a cheap monitor.
I built a little machine out of spare bits a couple of years back, stuck linux on it and used it with a remote keyboard for TV-based browsing + playing MP3s into the stereo. It works a treat and is far more versatile than I expected (mostly gets used by the kids for Spotify and iPlayer these days). The raspberry pi's far cheaper than if I'd bought the components for mine new so it'll be interesting to see just how much it can do.
I'm thinking home automation.....
My son has just decided on his GCSE options, one of them being IT. But at the Options meeting last week the IT teacher couldnt tell us what that would entail because the government has not fully decided how it will all change yet! One thing he did say was that there is still a demand for general IT skills from business, emailing, spreadsheets, databases etc.
That's true, but seriously, does it take a two year GCSE course to learn that ? My 12 yr old can do most of that already. My 15 yr old calls it "death by tech", because it's "so boring".
On the local news last night (Yorkshire) they said Farnell had sold out all 10000 units within hours of going on sale. You now have to register interest. It looks good and from the site looks like they have plans for other kits.
My daughters lucky, the school she goes to have a "STEM" club for those kids with an aptitude in the Science based subjects. Where they make advanced models, experiments etc including some basic programming (tho she's not got on to that yet). However all that should be standard for all kids.
I will probably get one for her, but my programming knowledge was a few simple program's in simple BASIC self taught 30 years ago so what I can help with will be very limited.
Quote: emailing, spreadsheets, databases etc
I think the issue isn't that those skills are now needed less, it's just that they've gradually become the modern equivalent of holding scissors properly and colouring in without going over the lines - i.e. basic skills taught at primary level which the kids then refine and improve by practice while using them in the natural course of doing other subjects. That might not have been the case 15-20 years back but it certainly is now. Most 8 year olds can put a decent powerpoint presentation together.
At GCSE level, IT needs to get back to teaching more advanced skills worthy of the qualification. Fortunately I think this is now widely recognised. Change will take time but at least we're moving in the right direction for the first time in many years.
Quote: One thing he did say was that there is still a demand for general IT skills from business, emailing, spreadsheets, databases etc.
May as well just bring back the Secretarial Skills classes. This type of comment shows the naive little bubble some teachers live in having never worked outside the education system.
They should migrate basic stuff like that into other classes, e.g Wordprocessing - English, Spreadsheet - Maths and leave IT for proper computer studies. Interfacing, breakdown of a server rack, Mutimedia, software modelling - loads that would make it interesting.
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