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"ICT" -- Wot's That?

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"ICT" -- Wot's That?

So, the annual GCSE results are out, and, in time-honoured fashion, the TV news channels have called-in all their education experts to entertain us with their latest hand-wringing acts.

We need people skilled in maths, English, science, "ICT" and modern languages they tell us.

Now, would someone kindly tell me what "ICT" is? I assume it's some fancy way of saying "Information Technology" (IT) or Data Processing (DP). I've heard of businesses having IT Managers or DP Managers, but I've never heard of a business having someone called the "ICT Manager", so why does the world of education find it necessary to invent some non-standard term?

Is it to indicate that what is taught on an "ICT" course is deliberately not intended to prepare someone for a role in an IT department or DP department in the world of work? What is taught on an ICT course, anyway? (And why is it, that by "googling" on "ICT" all the sites returned seem to take it for granted that everyone must know what "ICT" stands for?)

Wasn't there a company in the "old days" with the name "ICT" -- "International Calculators and Tabulators" or something like that? Trouble is, I can't remember if that company subsequently became International Business Machines (IBM) or International Computers Limited (ICL) [now absorbed into Fujitsu]...?

The "science" bit from these commentators also has a quaint ring to my ears. In my day, we gave up "science" lessons at the end of the second year, doing "physics", "chemistry" and "biology" instead, and thereby devoting as much time to each of those subjects as had previously been given to "science". The word "science" to me therefore suggests a vague generality -- the kind of elementary stuff we did in our first couple of years of secondary school -- rather than studying specific subjects in any depth. What's going on here -- do people take GCSEs in "Science" or do they still do "Physics", "Chemistry" and "Biology" as separate subjects?
16 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

"ICT" -- Wot's That?

Ah. Having been someone who's collected my own GCSE reults today, I think I may be able to shed some light...

Firs off, ICT is Infomation Communications Technology. Don't ask me why on earth they've added the C, but they have. :?

On to Science. For the first couple of years, as you say, you learn the general subject of "Science". After that, we have individual lessons in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. However, in general people take what's called a "Double Award"... you do all three papers (one for each science... the papers are exactly the same as they would be if you were doing each field of science seperately), however, you are only awarded two GCSEs for your work. This gives the advantage that a pupil can find out in which area of science they are strongest (which you couldn't do if doing one combined paper), but we have a little less work to do when compared to doing all three sciences as seperate GCSEs.

Thomas
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"ICT" -- Wot's That?

Quote
However, in general people take what's called a "Double Award"... you do all three papers (one for each science... the papers are exactly the same as they would be if you were doing each field of science seperately), however, you are only awarded two GCSEs for your work.


Thanks for the info!

I think, if the papers are the same as they would be for the separate subjects, I'd prefer to do the separate subjects and end up with three GCSEs! I think if you sit three subjects (six papers plus practicals, presumably?) but get only two awards, they should call it "Two-Thirds Award", not "Double Award"! Sounds like a bit of Education Department spin to me! :roll:

I suppose this idea was dreamt up because too few people were doing "science"?

Do they do this "Double Award" thing with any other subjects?

Does the ICT curriculum emphasise communications technologies in any way? Do you write your own TCP/IP stack (or, dare I mention it, OSI?), or is it communications in the sense of the public switched telephone network?

I hope you enjoyed success in your own "Two-Thirds Awards"!
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

"ICT" -- Wot's That?

Lol! Thanks.... I think... Wink

I haven't a clue about ICT, as my school doesn't offer it. However, I can tell you that apparently ICT at GCSE level is hardly worth doing... it's too easy!

For the "two-thrids award" (which, I have to admit, is a tad better that "double award"!) you have one paper for each science, plus a couple of pieces of coursework which go toward all three sceinces. And, AFAIK, the ⅔ award only applies to Sciences.

Oh, and I got 2 Bs for Science. Not that great.. my better marks were elsewhere! Cool

Thomas
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"ICT" -- Wot's That?

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I haven't a clue about ICT, as my school doesn't offer it. However, I can tell you that apparently ICT at GCSE level is hardly worth doing... it's too easy!


I find this even more amusing! We have the academics and educationalists saying "What the country needs is more people doing [science and] ICT" and you're saying your school doesn't even offer ICT because it's considered a "junk" qualification!

Sounds like it's little more than that "Computer Driver's Licence" or whatever it's called. (Since I don't have one, I wonder if, in time, I'll be banned from driving my computer on the "public highway"?)
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

"ICT" -- Wot's That?

Quote
I find this even more amusing! We have the academics and educationalists saying "What the country needs is more people doing [science and] ICT" and you're saying your school doesn't even offer ICT because it's considered a "junk" qualification!

Well.... my school is a bit, erm, different (and controversial in some resepcts). Shockedops:

Thomas
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"ICT" -- Wot's That?

Like you said, ICT is a joke. It covers the very basics, such as spreadsheets and paint.

And I think you're referring to the ECDL (European Computer Driving License) - which also sounds like junk.
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"ICT" -- Wot's That?

But, did anyone see the news report a couple of weeks back? It dealt with some study (by the City & Guilds, if I remember correctly) in which they discovered that one in seven people didn't know how to start(!) or shut down their computer [actually, the OS/2-ers criticism of the post-Windows-3.1GUI is that, as usually explained, to "shut down", you're expected to press "start"] and one in five "struggles to save a document, needs help printing, and can't create tables, but it's a safe bet that most of those people know how to play solitaire" (as reported by Sue Nelson for BBC News).

Actually, I thought the last laugh was on City & Guilds, for it came across as if they thought everyone would know exactly what they meant by creating "tables", indicating they didn't realise there are loads of different sorts of table -- which did they mean?
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"ICT" -- Wot's That?

Here's another turn-up for the books, as spotted on the news a few days ago:


Task force9? to address fairness of system for state school pupils

Well, a few weeks ago I didn't even know what "ICT" stood for, now, it seems, the authorities want "task force" to address the fairness of the system. Talk about the blind leading the blind!

But I will, of course, raise the iniquity of the "two thirds" award!
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Random

ICT is a load a rubbish and not worth doing in the slightest especially when you have a teacher who looks like the honey monster. On top of that they generally only know spreadsheets so if something cocks up they have no idea what to do. I'm also not sure what the Communications bit actually is. Spreadheets are communicating with people.
Its nice to see a person of another generation tkaing an interst in what is happening today rather than just moan about how hard it used to be.
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"ICT" -- Wot's That?

It was "Computing" when I was at school - and thats even whats showing on the Exam Certificiate - and that was only 3 years ago, but then this is Scotland... and we did have an "ICT Co-Ordinator"
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"ICT" -- Wot's That?

When I was at school, "computing" was something done by a "computer".

A "computer" was a person.

A person who "computed".

Using an abacus.

It's good that these valuable and timeless life-skills are still being taught in our schools today.
salis
Dabbler
Posts: 19
Registered: 29-08-2007

"ICT" -- Wot's That?

I take the Applied ICT Double Award GCSE at my school.

It is absolute rubbish. We are a year into the course and it has only just started to get interesting, as we are studying security and networking. And even then, it is still crap.
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Yeah

ICT is the worst subject besides PSE/Citizenship/Whatever you call it in yout school. It teaches nothing. All software used will be obsolete within 5 years. It's totally 100% pointless. It's a new subject but even then you cant blame everything on that can you?
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"ICT" -- Wot's That?

What's PSE? (Anything to do with Social Engineering? If it is, no wonder they use the abbreviation, as, otherwise, it would give the game away!)