The Changing face of ICT, both in itself and in the Curriculum (Vision Statement)

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Posted by Shane | Posted in Cross-Curricular, Curriculum, Vision Statement | Posted on November 22, 2012

In 2012, new draft National Curricula were introduced for the core subjects of English, Maths and Science but for ICT however, which many teachers view as a core subject due to the dominance of technology in society, a rather different process was outlined. Although it has been stressed that ICT will remain a statutory part of the National Curriculum in all four Key Stages after 2014, in primary schools it has been detailed that teachers will no longer be restricted to the Programmes of Study and children therefore will no longer have to meet the set attainment targets.  Whilst it is to be expected that there will be some criticisms associated with these strategies it must be noted that the DFE outlines greater flexibility in teaching as ‘by removing this requirement, maintained schools will continue to be under a duty to teach ICT as part of the National Curriculum, but teachers will have the freedom to determine ICT curricula that best meet the needs of their pupils’ (2012). These therefore gives teachers in schools greater capabilities to use ICT in other areas of the Curriculum, a topic that, many researchers state, needs to be balanced.

One such researcher is Abbott who describes how ‘there is an unresolved tension around the issue of ICT as a subject in its own right or as a set of tools with which to deliver and absorb the other subjects’ (2001, pg 44). The arguments however for how much ICT should be used throughout the curriculum have differing view points, with Ager, for example, (2000, pg. 15) stating that ‘ICT must be used across the curriculum in the same way that a pen and pencil are used in most subject areas’ implying that it used be used very frequently, and even perhaps wherever possible. A different perspective, with a cautious view, is provided by Kennewell et al. (2000, pg. 68) who describes that ‘teachers must ensure that pupils have the support they need for developing their ICT capability, while providing them with contexts which stimulate learning in other subjects as well’, implying that whilst technology can aid other subjects it must not hinder the teaching of the ICT skills themselves.

This research therefore outlines that teachers need to achieve a level of coverage with ICT,  providing opportunities to use it in many areas, which Twining supports by stating that ‘we need to harness the potential of ICT to enhance learning’ (2004, pg. 41). On the other hand we must remember not to overload children with technology that manages to avoid developing their ICT skills. One way in this can be avoided, a method I will implement in practice is to refrain from repeatedly using certain software, with Word and PowerPoint usually being the key examples. Children must be provided with the opportunities to use as much software as possible and therefore, if possible more hardware. Children are commonly asked to either create posters or presentations using this software but instead could use video cameras to make documentaries, or use Photo Story to flash images on screen that they then explain, as opposed to reading a PowerPoint, or at a simpler level could even use digital cameras to take and use images of themselves in their work rather than internet images. Another key factor for teacher’s to remember is that whilst ICT is a powerful tool, it is not the be all and end all, and cannot replace all teaching strategies and approaches. Selinger, as an example, highlights how ‘the visuals and dynamics of ICT can play an important in developing student’s understanding of mathematics’ suggesting that model’s can be used to support children’s learning and indeed they can, but more powerful still, in many cases, but unfortunately not all due to budgeting, are physical resources that children can manipulate with their hands whether this be; weights in maths, materials in science or paints in art lessons.

Physical resources such as these however, are not the only resource to be effected by finance with ICT in many schools being drastically dependent on funding. As an example many schools will not have enough computers for a full class of 30 children, possibly due to space but more likely due to the matter of it costing vast amounts of money. This however is not the only issue that can arise, concerning the ‘ICT budget’ in schools, with another problem being highlighted by Kennewell et al. (2000, pg 69.) who state that ‘plans for ICT activities have a limited lifespan, with the need to replace them to take advantage of new resources’. The plans only have a limited lifetime as the technology only has a limited lifetime, eventually breaking, becoming incompatible with other newer software or even with newer hardware rendering it obsolete. However many schools, and especially those that are state-funded, will not be able to buy new resources instantly meaning that schools are usually not running the latest versions of software or purchasing the newest versions of hardware as they simply cannot afford it whereas children may be using them at home, leading to a potential for confusion between home and school.

 

References

 

Abbott, C. (2001) ICT: Changing Education. 1st Edition. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

 

Ager, R. (2000) The Art of Information and Communications Technology for Teachers. 1st Edition. London: David Fulton Publishers.

 

Department for Education (2012) Disapplication of the National Curriculum Programmes of Study, Attainment Targets and statutory assessment arrangements for ICT from September 2012 [online]. London: DFE Publications. Available From: http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/o/orders%20consultation%20results%20report.pdf [21.11.12]

 

Kennewell, S., Parkinson, J. and Tanner, H. (2000) Developing the ICT Capable School. 1st Edition. London: RoutledgeFalmer

 

Selinger, M. (2001) Information and Communication technologies and representations of mathematics. In: Loveless, A. and Ellis, V. (eds.) ICT, Pedagogy and the Curriculum. London: RoutledgeFalmer. Pp. 152-178.

 

Twining, P. (2004) The Computer Practice Framework: a tool to enhance curriculum development relating to ICT. In: Monteith, M. (eds.) ICT for Curriculum Enhancement. Bristol: Intellect Books. Pp. 41-56.

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