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John Simkin

Complaint from a Student

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I am a year 11 student at King Edward VII school, UK. The school always has inspection good reports, but one of the things it has been told to improve in the last few reports has been the ICT department. The schools response seemed to be to buy more computers, but IMO (in my opinion) that was not the problem that we had. ICT can either be very beneficial or a waste of time.

Most of my ICT orientated lessons have been a waste of time. For example, in year 10 we were supposed to be working towards some sort of very low ICT qualification. The ICT staff were very incompitant at teaching. Basically they said "this is what you have to do, do it". I know quite a lot about the hardware side of my PC, i am typing this on a PC i built my self, but i have rarely used excel. One of the things we had to do was a spread sheet for a cafe showing money coming in and out. I tried to ask my teacher what commands did what to get it to add up and times numbers etc but she wasnt very helpful. I had to ask my dad. In the end, i was entered for level one (we could also do level two) because i hadnt done my coursework (which i didnt understand. I kind of did it but you had to prove you had reasearched by making a portfolio which i didnt.) Anyway the questions were of this sort of caliber -

1. How do you spell check a document?

A. Use a virus scanner

B. Encrypt it

C. Spell check it

D. Print it off

2. Here is an example of a letter

Blah blah blah ( A )

Blah blah blah ( B )

Blah blah blah ( C )

Blah blah blah ( D )

Which line of text has a different font than the rest of the document?

It wasn't exactly brain surgery. We also have lessons in ICT. I havn't really learnt much in them either. Other students are always going on other websites and playing games than going to the proper website. Most lessons has been wasted.

On a positive note there have been some good things. Power point presentations in class, and showing videos on an interactive whiteboard. Also in languages replacing tape recorders with laptops. Lessons where ICT was brought into the class room wernt that bad.

If ICT is done well I do think it can have a very positive impact. But, if it is done poorly like any lesson it will be a waste. Our school needs better ICT teachers, not more PC's, interactive whiteboards and projectors.

On another note: Out science department just spent lots of money it had been saving up on 30 wireless laptops. Two days later they had all been stolen. And the school can't claim becuase its insurance would then be a lot more expensive. Made us and the teachers quite anoyed :D

Hmmm, I think Fidel raises some really good points that teachers and managers would do well to pay attention to!  The qualification referred to is Key Skills ICT, I'm sure, and it is true that the whole portfolio-building exercise is a complete bureaucratic anti-intuitive nightmare.  I know cos I've both done it and taught it, and it drove me up the wall!!

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