‘ICT is not only the future of our childrens’ education it is the present; and we need to make the investment in ICT now!’
Technology is rapidly changing and progressively becomes a more important factor in today’s society. Therefore, the future of Information Communication Technology (ICT) within schools is uncertain due to this progressive development (Potter & Darbyshire, 2005). It is inevitable that the upcoming ICT technologies have implications on school and education. Therefore, education is faced with the challenge of updating and reflecting upon what ICT skills need to be taught in the classroom, as it is not uncommon for children to enter statutory schooling with profound capabilities. However, this challenge should be embraced by primary schools because when ICT is used effectively it can improve education in many ways.
The Programmes of Study were developed in 1999, when computer access was relatively limited. In fact, technology such as iPhones, Wikipedia and Facebook were unheard of. Therefore, with the rapid increase in children’s knowledge and capabilities with technology, it is imperative the Department of Education re-evaluate the primary framework. Looking at the ICT Programme of Study and the new draft curriculum, it is nice to see that the teaching of ICT is changing to reflect the society we now live in. The purpose of the draft Programme of Study is to offer children a high-quality ICT education. It will teach them how to understand the world around them through computational thinking and provides a sense of empowerment in using digital technology.
A society in where technology has been changing the way students view and interact with the world (Santos, 2011). The framework highlights the importance of children being exposed to a vast range of technologies within the classroom. It highlighted three key areas that the education of ICT should include:
- Digital Literacy
- Information technology
- Computer science
The playful, purposeful experimentation with technology that fosters understanding is something which can be modelled by teachers rather than taught. Therefore, it is important that teachers, and to some extent children, have a secure understanding of these terms and what the terms entail. Moreover, as a trainee nearing the end of my course, it is essential that I have a clear understanding of what these changes mean for ICT teaching and how to integrate them in the curriculum.
Digital Literacy (DL) focuses on the ability to access, use, and express oneself using digital technology, including a critical understanding of technology’s impact on the individual and society (Naace, 2012). The single most important digital literacy skill is the ability to find
information on the Internet. Primary school children should be taught how to use search engines effectively. In fact children who cannot locate information on the internet are, in many ways, functionally illiterate. However, simply being able to locate information on the internet is not enough; student must be taught the skill to be able to critique and evaluate the risk of the online material.
A final, important part of digital literacy involves writing for a digital audience. Digital writing does not simply mean using a keyboard instead of paper. Instead, children should be taught how to use hyperlinks and basic HTML tags to enhance their online writing. When writing in an interactive online space, such as a blog children need to be taught how to engage the reader and pose questions. Schools have always had the goal of developing literate, productive, empowered citizens who can lead their country into the next generation. Today, simple teaching students to read, write, and understand basic mathematics is not enough to accomplish this goal, children must be digital literate as well.
Information Technology (IT) covers the use and application of digital systems to develop technological solutions purposefully and creatively (Naace, 2012).
Computer science (CS) is the subject discipline that explains how computer systems work, how they are designed and programmed, and the fundamental principles of information and computation (Naace, 2012). If Computer Science should be taught at school we must answer the question “just what is Computer Science, viewed as a school subject?” Computer Science is deeply concerned with how computers and computer systems work, and how they are designed and programmed. Another dimension of the revised curriculum is computing itself, including an introduction to the craft, art and science of programming.
Starting in primary school, children from all backgrounds and every part of the UK should have the opportunity to: learn some of the key ideas of computer science; understand computational thinking; learn to program; and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of excellence in these activities (Naughton, 2012).
Toolkits like scratch make it easy for pupils to create scripted animations and their own interactive games. Google’s App Inventor provides a similar ‘building block’ approach for developing mobile phone apps.
Look at the following articles about computer science:
Now we have seen what computer science involves do you think children should be taught programming as part of their school day?
Take a look at the article below which is a poll to whether children in the UK should be taught programming:
So to see a Programme of Study of ICT that reflects this, offers me hope as a teacher.
The use of computers in education can provide better learning results and it can be made adaptive to the individual learner. Most importantly ICT is fun and develops skills such as collaboration, critical evaluation, planning and organisation.
Education is faced with the challenge to incorporate computers and communication discretely and within other subjects across the curriculum. There has been much debate and a vast amount of research into whether ICT should be taught as a separate subject, or whether it should be embedded within other areas of the curriculum. The answer is that ICT should be taught as a discrete discipline and used within other areas of the curriculum. Discretely teaching ICT allows children to develop the ICT skills and embed the technology, into other areas of the curriculum allows children to test the technology for a range of purposes and audiences, collaboratively and individually (Condie et al, 2007).
Overall, ICT is important educationally. It requires logical thinking and precision. It encourages innovation, collaboration, and resourcefulness: pupils apply underlying principles to understand real world systems, and to create purposeful artefacts. This combination of principle of principles, practice, and invention makes ICT an intensively creative subject, suffused with excitement, both visceral and intellectual. A firm foundation in ICT provides pupils with the knowledge and skills to contribute to the digital economy.
Will we break the cycle as teachers to teach a relevant and sophisticated ICT curriculum?
Santos, A.N.E. (2011) Blogs as learning space: creating text of talks. Contemporary issues in Educational Research. 4(6), 15-19.
Potter, F., and Darbyshire, C. (2005). Understanding and teaching the ICT National Curriculum. London: David Fulton Publishers.
Condie, R., Munroe, B., Seagraves, L. and Kenesson, S. (2007) The Impact of ICT in Schools: A landscape review. Coventry: Becta.
Potter, F., and Darbyshire, C. (2005). Understanding and Teaching the ICt National Curriculum. London:David Fulton Publishers.