[LINK] Computer Science in Australian Schools

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Sat Jan 30 12:40:10 AEDT 2010

Craig writes,

>> .. Aussie education to be in the vanguard of technology. A position
>> we still hold specially compared with many European schools.
> I've done a lot of work with computers in education. 

Haha, and believe me .. ditto ..

> the 80s and even up to the early 90s, there was a lot of work done
> (by enthusiastic teachers) on using computers as teaching ads, to
> deliver course content, revision tests .. that's pretty much non
> existant now.. the teachers just aren't using it or are only using
> it in the most basic manner. I'm quite surprised by how it's turned
> out .. there really should be support and funding (and, above all
> vision) State & Federal Education Depts with teams of programmers
> and course developers .. if they can spend hundreds of millions on
> equipment, surely they can spend a few million annually to hire
> developers to make good use of that equipment? craig

Yes! Agreed whole-heartdly, Craig! We need to be teaching programming
open-source and developing widely and across the board, in my opinion.

I've been hammering this in every available Ed-forum for over a decade.

But it's been a voice in the wilderness. At the school level your wide
spectrum of faculties have fought hard for class-access to the school's
computer resources, and WILL NOT give it up for the intensive timetable
hours required for computing-science-type teaching. That is for example
the Art teachers want the school computers for graphics, Maths teachers
want them for maths classes, English teachers want the school computers
for word-processing, and net research with classes, etc etc, ad nauseum.

And at the State ED Dpt level the thrust has been for 'computers across
the curriculum' .. mostly from well-meaning but very short-sighted folk.

And leaving very little school time, and, ICT resources, now devoted to
what Australia REALLY needs in future .. and that is, ICT professionals.

. sigh .. 

So, please Linkers .. for all our sakes, if you get the chance, join us
very few who are hammering for Computer Science type curriculum & times
being made available in Aussie schools. Sure, competent programmers and
developers etc are rare and can get lots more money out in industry but
your country needs you .. in schools .. training our next generation of
ICT colleagues. And, State Ed Dpt need to get out from under soft-heads
who want computers-across-the-curriculum and 'fairness' for all subject
areas in terms of school computer access. That's ok but NOT at the cost
of future ICT professionals, as is currently the situation in many/most
Australian schools and State education systems. Eg, visiting developers?

With most schools now having 1:1 kid/ICT ratios at least for the senior
levels, all we need is a school-based expertise, with ICT professionals.

And frankly it's a wonder to me that the ACS is not jumping up and down
and *demanding* a strong emphasis on computer science school curriculum
available across the board, and in all Australian schools. We need this!

Cheers Craig
Stephen Loosley
Member, Victorian
Institute of Teaching

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