Breaking News…. ICT ‘deleted’.

“We have ways of making you learn”

Herr Gove announced today that from September, the National Curriculum requirements for teaching ICT are to be scrapped from September 2012. Schools are free to do what they want.

“Our school system has not prepared children for this new world. And the current curriculum cannot prepare British students to work at the very forefront of technological change….Imagine the dramatic change which could be possible in just a few years, once we remove the roadblock of the existing ICT curriculum.”

It would seem to be extremely naive of him to believe that just by ‘deleting’ ICT lessons in schools we are going to somehow move to the forefront of technological change, especially as last year nationally only three teachers with a computer science degree became teachers, and many traditional subject teachers would still rather not have computers in their classrooms.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the long-term. Presumably what will emerge will be a great muddle, sorry, diversity, of provision, with some schools going overboard on coding (which many kids will find even more boring than current ICT lessons), and others ignoring IT all together, or specialising in just one area, and with very little sense of continuity and progression. Some really good, balanced, coherent guidance and CPD is needed, but in the current economic situation this seems unlikely to happen?

Comments please!

7 comments on “Breaking News…. ICT ‘deleted’.

  1. I’ve been doing some work recently on the computer science course offered by a certain international education organisation which offers a wide range of subject choices within its diploma programme. The computer science qualification is rooted in real-life application, allows teachers to construct the course that best suits their students, is rigorous but appropriate to the age group – and is doubtless much enjoyed by the students around the world who take it up. But the number of students around the world who choose to take it up is absolutely tiny! To me this suggests that ICT should continue to be pitched at the IT skills the majority of us rely on everyday. Someone needs to tell Michael Gove how to get IT right!

  2. Dominic emailed to say:
    It is what they do with all this technology that is of value. A ‘Computer Science’ lesson where time is spent writing code to get a robot to go in a circle, isn’t of great value.

    It doesn’t mention Microsoft Office in the NC Orders, so a free for all is no guarantee of quality either.

    Interesting re ‘three things technology can do for learning’ – there’s nothing on learners collaborating!

  3. Derrick emailed:
    I have heard of kids who taught their classmates A level computing as they knew more than the staff – maybe it’s an opportunity for the teachers and kids to talk about technology, I did do an after school club once and started of by asking the kids what they wanted to do with computers – then we set about doing the different things. The group was made up of all ages and they started sharing skills, etc. I was asked not to return after a few sessions – apparently the parents and staff had expected the kids to learn Excel and Word, I was not meant to let them print things out in full colour and the noise coming from the classroom disturbed the meetings the head was having.

    Maybe the solution is to make IT a thing that parents and kids can attend together – sharing the projects they do with technology after the end of the formal school day or at the weekends?

    • Thanks Robert! I’ve been wondering about ‘coding for all’ for a while. I’ve been successfully using IT systems now for some 20 years and have never written a line of code (not quite true – I did do some on a course in January 1980!). And learning French to O level while at school has been of no real use to me. So I’m intrigued to know why all children need to learn to code? In the future there will still be many jobs that do not require being able to code, and many people who do not have an aptitude for it? But I certainly believe all children should have some exposure to the underlying concepts of coding while at school, so as to encourage those who have the potential to do so to consider a future career doing so – something that certainly isn’t the case at present.

  4. I agree with you. Exposure to the underlying concepts – this is vital is we are going to raise a creative, progressive, mentally agile generation. The internet, gaming, Facebook et al. doesn’t just happen, people created it from nothing. We are in danger of raising a generation of pure digital consumers who do not have the tools to create. This isn’t an entertainment issue this is an information issue. Look at how Wikileaks are able to outwit governments with coding – whatever your politics the weaponry is vital. I fear that we are in an Apple bubble where we are fed devices that do not challenge the user to circumnavigate the system and create. Insert PC v Apple debate here…

    Learning French at school – At least we learnt that ‘out there’ people spoke another language, that if we put our heads to we could learn and communicate on another level if we ventured beyond Dover. Same should be for exposure to code at least at a science, maths, language cross point.

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