ICT: The barriers within education

“England’s ICT curriculum has been torn up and rewritten in a bid to bring it up to speed with the changing digital world.” This is something I feel is important and sums up what needs to be done to ensure England stays on top of the technological advancements which are always occurring.  There is one important argument which comes across the minds of many teachers across the country and that is wondering “what can schools do to ensure their provision is best for today’s learners?”

Schools have much to do to ensure their ICT provision is fit for purpose. We first of all need to understand what the biggest barriers were to progress across the ICT curriculum, and how we as teachers and school can do to overcome them.  According to the EdExec article, there are five major points which will ensure that Englands ICT curriculum is up to date and a successful learning tool for students.

1.         Interactive whiteboards as not glorified chalk boards

Use ICT to its fullest, and “not to carry on using tech as simply a flashy, digital version of the same teaching tools schools have used for centuries”.

2.         Leave pupils alone

It has been argued that results can be achieved by encouraging pupils to learn on their own online, could question the use of the teacher. Emma Mulqueeny, co-founder of the Coding for Kids movement, said that while parents and teachers may be wary of what could happen when leaving children to their own devices online, the benefits outweigh the risks. “Often, the solution to the digital renaissance is to close, protect and hide pupils and educators from the digital unknown, but this approach will fail in a digital world,” she said.

3.         Mind the gap

Mary Bousted, general secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers, warned schools to be mindful of the “increasing digital divide”. She believes there are still many young people without access to technology or adequate training, which could be to their detriment on school work. “As these young people often come from lower socio-economic groups, the digital divide widens as technology moves on and they’re left behind,”  This inability to work or be familiar with a computer or the technology now available does certainly strike a worry in me due to the incredible benefits to be had.  Every child should have access to the technology and school is great, safe way to do this. I believe that it is fundamental in this era that every child can access it so that they are not at a disadvantage further on in their academic and personal careers.

4.         Teachers and pupils should collaborate

Maggie Philbin, argues that “In a fast moving subject like ICT maybe we should encourage more student/teacher collaborative explorations of topics.”  I find myself not being able to agree more.  I have seen children who in a world surrounded in technology; know more or as much as a particular topic within ICT.  Why not work alongside the children to see where they are at in terms of technological advancements.  This would allow us to improve their knowledge and not frustrate them by doing mind-numbing tasks they already do at home.

5.         Look past the gadgets

Simon Humphreys, wants schools to look past the technology and focus on computer science as an academic subject on a par with other sciences – and teachers must be supported to do this. He called for a balance between this and “the demands for digital literacy and IT”.

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