The ‘Wiki Curriculum’

Posted on September 25, 2012 in Uncategorized by Sarah  Tagged , , , , , ,

After reading Helen’s Blog on the changes to the ICT curriculum I was interested to hear that Michael Gove has announced that the ICT curriculum has been scrapped, to be replaced by a new curriculum in September 2014, leaving a two year vacuum. Gove proposes to experiment with a ‘wiki curriculum‘, which if successful could be used for other subjects. I can see how a ‘wiki curriculum’ could help to inspire innovative teachers to create a more up-to-date and creative curriculum, as well as leading to better collaboration between schools with regard to resources, schemes of work and lesson ideas. However I also understand the concerns that by not having a ‘static document’ for ICT, some teachers may be tempted to push ICT aside as highlighted by Joanna Poplawska of The Corporate IT Forum’s Education and Skills Commission.

Helen’s blog also discusses Gove’s view that the former ICT curriculum was ‘dull’ ‘demotivating’ and that pupils were ‘bored out of their minds’.

However, in my opinion, it is understandable why the curriculum has remained relatively static over the past decade. Technology is forever changing at an extremely rapid rate and therefore it must be difficult for teachers to keep up and adapt their schemes of work, resources and lessons at the same pace. It would involve a great amount of work for an individual teacher to implement a new piece of technology into a scheme of work. Firstly, they would have to do the initial research into the technology and check its suitability. Then they would have to investigate whether the department have the necessary financial or technological resources available, as well as overseeing any installation onto school networks etc. Schemes of work would have to be re-written to incorporate the teaching of the new resource and new lesson plans and ideas thought of and created. Doing this every year to keep up with technological changes would prove challenging, even for the most dedicated of teachers. Secondary schools may have an advantage if there are 4 or 5 members of an ICT department and the workload can be shared, but a single primary school teacher may have the sole responsibility of creating and adapting the schemes of work. With this in mind, I can see how a ‘wiki curriculum’ could benefit schools by enabling them to share ideas and resources as well as collaborating and creating a more innovative and forward-thinking curriculum. After all, communication between schools is no longer restricted to ‘partner’ or ‘feeder’ schools in the local area, and a school in a small village in Northamptonshire can now, very easily, share resources and ideas with a school in Australia, Malaysia or the USA.

Ofsted have reported that a higher percentage of primary schools delivered ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ ICT lessons than secondary schools in the schools visited between 2008-2011. This surprised me slightly as my experience of non-specialist teachers delivering lessons in ICT suites was more about letting the pupils ‘get on’ with a task using a programme the pupils were already very familiar with, rather than planning for and delivering a lesson that could be rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. However, primary school teachers clearly have the skills and aptitude to deliver interesting and effective ICT lessons, even if some may not be confident in their own use of ICT. Clearly some teachers are going to be more able than others at keeping up with and understanding rapid technological advances and changes, and if they can share their abilities with others then surely ICT lessons will become much more stimulating and relevant for many pupils. A ‘wiki curriculum’ could help teachers unlock the potential in pupils and help prepare them to succeed in this digital era. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the ‘wiki curriculum’.

2 Responses to 'The ‘Wiki Curriculum’'

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  1.   Gareth said,

    on September 26th, 2012 at 10:00 am     Reply

    Thank you for this informative summary Sarah – it will be interesting to hear you reflect more after you have spent some more time in local schools. I wonder how much difference the wiki curriculum would make in schools that aren’t already proactive in seeking out new and good practice

  2.   Andrew said,

    on September 26th, 2012 at 4:33 pm     Reply

    Nice blog. No centralised curriculum equals more freedom; bring it on! Joanna Poplawska is too cynical- if teachers dismiss ICT at the first chink of autonomy then education has more serious problems than marginalised ICT.

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