A-Z of computing: C is for Computer Science

Specifically, teaching kids what makes a computer tick. This is about ICT lessons teaching less MS Excel and more motherboards; less grab-an-image-from-Google, more programming – you get the idea.

This is a hot topic in 2012, with the current ICT curriculum to be wiped and a massive, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to resurrect Britain’s historic excellence in computing and provide us with world-class industry expertise which is not only an industry in its own right but which will underpin developments in sectors including manufacturing and service.

We can’t cover this topic without mentioning open source. Microsoft and other proprietary software houses have done much to lock schools into a very narrow, software-focussed view. This has pandered to the limitations and fears of teachers inexpert in computer use and done little to equip children with a good IT education and clear understanding of the technology. IT teaching in future must take advantage of the right software for the job, which frequently will be open source. Distros such as Tuxedu provide an excellent basis for teaching maths and science and are not only available to schools free of charge, but to pupils, parents and the rest of the world. Access to open source software is simply not an issue, unlike access to proprietary packages commonly used in schools at the moment.

In future, no teacher should cheerfully admit to being “hopeless with computers, ha ha” – it’s not acceptable, it’s not funny: it’s a serious obstacle to educating children.

The Guardian’s manifesto for teaching computer science in the 21st century

Young coders: ideas for change

Young coders: the teachers’ view

Why all our kids should be taught to code

Google to fund computer science teachers

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