Wednesday, 3 October 2012

UoB School?

Ayup everyone,

As this is the first post of this academic year and I only know one person in the whole class, I have little idea about what interests the majority of you. What I am sure of though, is that we are all students of the University of Birmingham. Therefore, I hope this story, released this summer, will provoke at least a slight reaction from you.

In a nutshell, the government has approved plans for the university to open a school, based near the main campus, for 11-18 year olds. It's due to open in September 2014 so only those staying on for a fourth year will see its completion. If it means more kids clogging up the Spar and Joe's at dinner time though, I'm already not looking forward to it.

Full story here:


  1. The new school certainly is a radical step for the University, but perhaps I could shift the conversation a little so that it bears more directly on the content of Hacking the Book. What digital skills do you think students should learn at school before they come to University? Should they, for instance, know how to code? Should they be formally introduced to social media etc? Should they all blog?

  2. I believe that there should be more computer classes for people to become comfortable with using computers. At my school ICT lessons were torture with the teacher expecting me to be able to do things without teaching me them in class, which caused me to lose intrest and refuse to type out essays for GCSE, preferring to handwrite numerous drafts and count each word manually, until my teacher demanded I type one out at least one of them to show the marker I was aware of technology. This has had adverse affects for me now and at my A levels; my typing speed is painfully slow and when I try to go faster my spelling deteriorates as I hit the wrong keys. Furthermore typos are a common feture in my work with my punctuation becoming worse because I feel I have less control over it without a pen in my hand. If I am perfectly honest typing still feels slightly unatural to me.

  3. I don't think encouraging younger students to write about their lives on the internet is a step in the right direction for schools. Children will use social networking sites whether they're taught about it in class or not and because technology is such a big part of everyday life now, and it would be pointless to teach children about things that they will pick up in their own time. However, I think there would be a lot of value in teaching secondary school children how to code. Last Thursday's session made me wonder that I'd never thought about how websites are created, and how I hadn't even heard about the processes behind it until now.

    1. But would it not be better to introduce children to blogging etc, and at the same time make them aware of possible dangers, how to protect their privacy, etc? If you post your party details on FaceBook and a riot breaks out (see the recent incident in the Netherlands) it is already a bit late. It's so easy to do something silly without realising the consequences. Such as sending your boyfriend a nude photo of yourself which then gets posted all over the world and basically cannot ever be deleted. These things happen, and I wonder if it is ignorance of the possible consequences.

      As for coding, this will be covered later in the module, but writing web pages is not programming, but encoding of data. Very important difference, that many people are not aware of. This should indeed be taught in schools at least at a basic level, in my view.

  4. It is definitely beneficial for students to have a certain level of IT proficiency before coming to university, though I would imagine they would be competent with computers long before coming to university. The ECDL qualification is taught in many schools, which gives students skills which will certainly benefit their academic work. With the increasing importance and presence of blog sites and twitter (which both have the power to enhance learning), the subject of blogging should arguably be touched on in schools.


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