Alan Bundy University of Edinburgh. Computing: what shall we tell the kids?. A Lecture in Memory of Tom Conlon. 05/09/12. 1. In Memory of Tom Conlon (1954-2008). Lecturer at Moray House (1983-2008). Teacher, researcher, entrepreneur and constructive critic of education policy.
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University of Edinburgh
A Lecture in Memory of Tom Conlon
Lecturer at Moray House (1983-2008).
Teacher, researcher, entrepreneur and constructive critic of education policy.
Dearly missed by generations of Scottish computing teachers
This lecture commemorates Tom’s unique contribution.
Computation pervades all aspects of 21st century life:
academia, industry, government, defence, entertainment, social life, etc.
ask new kinds of question;
accept new kinds of answer; and
form new kinds of theory.
Computers are all around us:
~100 owned by each UK family.
In many schools, ICT means office product skills,
which kids find boring and repetitive.
Computing is not identified with:
careers at the cutting edge of technology;
using and creating exciting systems.
“When one of the teachers suggested to the parents of one girl that perhaps she should go into computing the parents said: ‘Oh we don't want Samantha just to be a secretary.’ ”
From interview with Karen Spärck Jones, winner of the 2007 BCS Lovelace Medal.
From Royal Society Report: Shut down or restart?
Describes English situation.
Better in Scotland.
Lots of great teaching material.
Backed by software aimed at kids:
Logo, Scratch, Alice, Greenfoot, Kodu, App Inventor, mobile robots, micro-controllers, etc.
Lots of enthusiastic teachers.
Under-pinned by a principled, rigorous, scientific/engineering discipline.
UK-wide Computing at School group.
Self-help group for computing teachers.
Supported by BCS, Microsoft, Google and others.
CAS designed curriculum.
Royal Society report.
Successful lobbying of Government.
Eric Schmidt speech decisive.
“I was flabbergasted to learn that today Computer Science isn't even taught as standard in UK schools. Your IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight into how it's made.”
Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, in 2012 MacTaggart Lecture in Edinburgh.
The best degrees in Computer Science are among the most rigorous and respected qualifications in the world… and prepare students for immensely rewarding careers and world-changing innovations. But you’d never know that from the current ICT curriculum.
This is why we are withdrawing it from September. Technology in schools will no longer be micro-managed by Whitehall. By withdrawing the Programme of Study, we’re giving teachers freedom over what and how to teach, revolutionising ICT as we know it..
Education Secretary Michael Gove responding to Eric Schmidt
“The curriculum aims to ensure that all children and young people in Scotland develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they will need if they are to flourish in life, learning and work, now and in the future.”
Can we take this opportunity to transform Scottish Computing education?
Teachers responsible to develop materials to meet CfE principles.
Liberating and scary!
Exemplification materials illustrate how to do this.
Jeremy Scott seconded part-time to develop materials:
Head of Computing at Edinburgh’s George Heriot’s School;
Phase 1: 11-14 years - Scratch and App Inventor.
Phase 2 just starting: 14-16 years. Phase 3?