A turn up for the iPads?

It seems that nice Mr Osborne is now having his say about education, with today’s surprise announcement that ‘Schoolchildren will be taught to design apps for smartphones’.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23950435-osborne-puts-apps-on-school-agenda-to-boost-digital-skills.do

In yet another carefully thought-through joined-up strategy, one wonders how many existing teachers are experienced enough to lead their classes in the design of apps? Perhaps a scheme in which schoolchildren teach their teachers how to design apps might be more successful?

And then there’s the little problem that, also reported today, it seems that mobile phones and wi-fi are about to be banned in schools:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/mobile-phones/8514380/Ban-mobile-phones-and-wireless-networks-in-schools-say-European-leaders.html

which might just dampen Mr Osborne’s hope to “produce a Zuckerberg or Brin of the future”?

Meanwhile one wonders what nice Mr Gove is making of all this. Has he perhaps been persuaded to add ‘the design of apps’ to the requirements for the EBacc? If so, maybe it will shortly be appropriately renamed the e-Bacc?

But perhaps the most surprising statement Mr Osborne made was:

“For politicians of my generation, the incredible disruptive impact of the internet is not a threat – it is an opportunity.”

I wonder if he will be speaking at next year’s ‘Learning Without Frontiers’ Conference?

The All New Variety Bac

Now you’re probably not aware that, separately from the current national curriculum review, on February 11th the Commons Education Select Committee quietly announced “a new inquiry and call for evidence into the English Baccalaureate”.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/education-committee/news/new-inquiry-announced-e-bac/

The submissions, which need to be returned by the 8th March, must:

  • be no more than 3,000 words in length;
  • have numbered paragraphs; and
  • (if in electronic form) be in Word format or a rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

I knew those essay writing and number skills I learned at school would come in useful one day…

One of the problems with the e-bac is that it only promotes a rounded (though in reality extremely narrow) academic education that is seen as having any value. So, assuming the e-bac is here to stay, then let’s at least suggest some alternative e-bacs to run alongside the current academic e-bac. This way everyone gets the opportunity to succeed in their chosen e-bac specialism. These are not ‘dumbed down’ courses, but, within their own context, highly challenging. For example:

  • a technology e-bac which consists of English, maths, science, IT eco-systems* and design and innovation*
  • a science e-bac covering English, maths, and 3 sciences
  • a creative arts and media e-bac covering English, art and design, music, drama and media studies
  • an itech e-bac consisting of English, maths, information systems and design*, enterprise and innovation*, IT eco-systems*
  • a sports e-bac that includes English, PE, science, management studies and the history of sport and leisure*
  • a modern languages e-bac with English, German, an oriental language, European studies* and economics
  • a vocational e-bac, with English, maths, business and enterprise studies*, communication studies and ICT
  • a classical e-bac – English, Latin, Greek, History and RE
  • a humanities e-bac, with English, History, Geography, RE and a MFL.

Courses marked* do not yet exist!

To add more flexibility and personalisation there would be some ‘either/or’ options.  Of course students still take further GCSE courses outside their specialist e-bac area.

Suggestions please for further eBac specialisms – humorous or otherwise!

Meanwhile there’s an excellent analysis of the current e-bac proposals here.