Vision Statement – Reviewing the draft ICT curriculum

Posted on November 22, 2012 by Claire.
Categories: vision statement.

Michael Gove, Education Secretary, stated when speaking to the BBC (2012)

“Because technology is changing so fast we can’t afford to be stuck with a curriculum that is out of date…we should be concentrating on having something that is creative and rigorous so that our children, instead of just using the apps, are creating the apps of the future. Low level [computing] skills [are to be replaced with a curriculum which allows children to be] genuinely creative.”

courtesy of poster-street
http://www.poster-street.com/posters_inner/teacher-posters–inspirational-poster–if-we-teach-todays-students-as-we-taught-yesterdays_we-rob-them-of-tomorrow_84.

On 22nd October 2012 a draft ICT curriculum was released (Naace, 2012a), although this is subject to review and endorsement by the Department for Education.  The focus of this new curriculum is split across three key areas; Digital Literacy; Information Technology; and Computer Science.

Digital Literacy is, according to the draft, being able to access, understand the impact of and use digital technology.  This reflects Borawski (2009); being “digitally literate is to be able both to understand and effectively use the various sources of information and communication in the digital world,” himself reflecting upon the work of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy Panel (2002).  Digital Literacy therefore is not a new concept but one which has, until now, not been (explicitly) included in the National ICT Curriculum.

Information technology is the use of digital technology to solve problems effectively.

Computer Science is the understanding of how the technology works including the design and programming  stages.

 

At Key Stage (KS) 1 pupils are to make use of and evaluate a range of technology including digital media which  could include; cameras; video recording equipment; digital art; audio equipment; to name but a few.  Pupils are also expected to make use of the internet for research and learning purposes.  One key implication of internet use is e-safety.  This is addressed at KS1 with children being encouraged to “communicate safely and respectfully online [and] keeping personal information private.”

courtesy of Farlingaye High School http://www.farlingaye.suffolk.sch.uk/eSafetyforstudents/

Pupils are also to begin using programming software for simple programming purposes.  The ‘Daisy the Dinosaur’ programme (see Computer Programming for the ICT illiterate post) would be an ideal starting point for young children as they learn to piece together the information to solve problems such as making Daisy twirl and roll etc.  This can then be built upon using more complex programming software such as Scratch and Kodu – again refer to the above hyperlinked post.

By the end of KS2 it is expected that pupils will have progressed to having experienced a range of electronic devises; standard PCs; ipads; digi-blue cameras; video recorders; programmable audio or lighting equipment; for example, and used these both independently and for group projects to  collect, analyse and present data/information with thoughtful design.

Internet use is expected to be developing through the use of search engines such as Google and Yahoo, with an understanding of how results are organised.

Programming continues making use of larger problems which need to be broken down into smaller parts.  An example of this could be the ‘Bash the Badies’ scratch program I created – again see above hyperlinked post.  The sprites have to be programmed differently depending upon what you want from them and aspects such as counters and timers can be brought in.  Errors are also to be recognised and fixed.  This was, for me, a natural component of working with the scratch programming.  I made numerous mistakes which needed to be identified and rectified.   The idea of loop structures such as ‘if…then…else’ in algorithms and programs also comes into play.  This could also include making use of software such as Microsoft Excel to create tables which automatically carry out a programmed operation in certain cells and provide the total in a given cell such as finding the total of cells B2-B7 and displaying this total in cell B8.  Data can then be converted into various graphs to make use of the various forms of data representation stated – this forms a clear link between ICT and Mathematics and is likely to be used to display findings from investigations such as those in Science or Geography.  Problem solving in general can also be developed through the use of websites such as ‘The Problem Site’ for mathematics games, ‘Learn for Good’ for a wide range of problem solving activities or the ‘TES iboard’ which contains a wealth of resources spanning the curriculum.

The notion of e-safety continues to be developed at KS2 with pupils securely storing personal information as well as making ethical and responsible use of technology and being respectful of others.

It is anticipated that by KS4 pupils will have enough experience and interest to go on to specialise in specific ICT areas such as Computer Science or Digital Media etc.

 

Much of the new curriculum contains elements of the old curriculum but in a simplified format.  There is however clearly a greater focus upon programming, presenting and staying safe, although the draft does appear to give an unbalanced weighting across all aspects of ICT (Naace, 2012b).  As the old curriculum has been dis-applied teachers are now free to explore aspects of ICT they deem suitable.  It would however be worthwhile investigating and becoming familiar with aspects of ICT related specifically to the draft curriculum such as programming software and algorithms as it is likely these will be a key focus of the implemented curriculum.  The opportunities the draft curriculum provides for individual creativity has been welcomed;

“We need rigorous teaching of computing in schools, but fusing art and technology together. We need to be creators of technology, making games or fighting cyber-crime, rather than just passive users of it. We need an education system that allows art and science to be taught alongside each other” (Hope, 2012).

With the range of technology available today ICT can easily be embedded throughout the curriculum, enhancing learning for all.  With the technological world advancing at such a rapid rate ICT teaching needs to remain at the forefront of those changes providing children with the most up-to-date and relevant education possible as reiterated by Gove the current curriculum cannot prepare British students to work at the very forefront of technological change”.  This then would surely necessitate regular reviews of current requirements and more frequent updating of the ICT curriculum than we have previously witnessed along with teachers who strive to remain at the forefront of technological developments.

 

 

 References

BBC (2012) Michael Gove: Students ‘Turned Off’ by ICT lessons. [online]. London: BBC. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-16515443 [Accessed 15th November 2012].

Borawski, C (2009) Beyond The Book. Children And Technology. Winter 2009. Pp.53-54

Gove, M. In: Department for Education (2012).  Harmful ICT Curriculum Set To Be Dropped This September To Make Way For Rigorous Computer Science. [online]. Runcorn: DfE. Available from: http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a00201864/harmful-ict-curriculum-set-to-be-dropped-this-september-to-make-way-for-rigorous-computer-science [Accessed 15th November 2012].

Hope, A. In: McLean, H (2012) New ICT Curriculum Proposed By Royal Academy Of Engineering And BCS. London: The Guardian. Available from:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/mortarboard/2012/nov/13/ict-computing [Accessed 19th November 2012].

ICT Literacy Panel (2002) Digital Transformation: a Framework for ICT Literacy. In: Borawski, C (2009) Beyond The Book. Children And Technology. Winter 2009. Pp.53-54

Naace (2012a). ICT Programme Of Study Consultation. [online]. Nottingham: Naace.  Available from: http://www.naace.co.uk/naacecurriculum/programmeofstudyconsultation [Accessed 18th November 2012].

Naace (2012b). Programme Of Study Response. [online]. Nottingham: Naace.  Available from: http://www.naace.co.uk/naacecurriculum/posresponseoct2012

[Accessed 18th November 2012].

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