Misconceptions

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“Good teachers expose misconceptions they do not hide them”

At Teachers Training College when learning how to teach Mathematics we spent considerable time on the identification and correction of misconceptions. Likewise learning pedagogical practices to teach mathematical concepts. What we learned was grounded in decades-centuries of teaching Mathematics to students.

When it comes to Computer Science particularly programming we are just learning how to teach programming to younger students i.e. Year 5 and up to secondary school. At Teachers Training College with Computer Science (Digital Technologies) buried under the Technology Curriculum area (with Food, Fashion and Hard Materials) we were never taught to teach computer science or programming. In hindsight this seems pretty strange and explains in part why we are no where near as efficient or effective as we could be teaching the subject.

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One Response to Misconceptions

  1. Gerard says:

    I think one of the issues that is being faced is that before 2010, Computer Science and digital technologies wasn’t even taught in our schools. Yes, there were pockets of programming and software development, but most students would have been taught Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Databases, Desk Top Publishing as that is what the resources, learning workbooks and assessments were in and it gave students a broad outline of what it was to be a user. Natcoll came in the early 2000’s with the Creating Futures pathway that gave students opportunity to develop websites, animation and graphic skills which is now DIgital Media.
    The unit standards were an issue for a number of years and when the DTG came out, ideas changed but the assessment qualification was still the same. We have a large amount of teachers who came into Information Management, Computing, Information Technology, Technology and Information Technology, Computer Studies for a large number of years with the Unit Standards in Business Administration and Computing looking at the National Certificate in Computing Level 2 and Level 3. These teachers are now struggling with the work of a ever changing learning strand and software the changes a complex skill to a basic skill within a new version.

    It is with the changes of the learning strand that new ideas are being picked up, some teachers colleges are changing, but it is the same issue, how does a teachers college tutor suddenly change from teaching computing to computer science when they haven’t done it themselves, who do they goto to help change their teaching. We are in the third year of a significant change. We are only just getting ourselves up to date on how to teach this, assess the new standards, incorporate 5 strands of digital technologies into our programmes, work out that we do not need students to do massive amounts of writing to show that they meet an Achieved.

    Going back to the how do we get teachers to be able to teach the computer science strands, they need professional development. We have had three years of professional development in Google CS4HS, the association has supported the introduction of a university paper to assist with this through the University of Canterbury EDEM626 paper. It is now time for teachers to ask for the schools Professional Development money to support them in developing change in a new NCEA Subject. It is also time for teachers to make time to go through and learn, modify, change their practice to support this and other professional development opportunities.

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