Shutdown or Restart? A Report on Computing in UK Schools.

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, National Curriculum, Uncategorized | Posted on February 10, 2014

The Royal Society

 

I have just read a report on the future teaching of ICT in schools and it was really interesting. The report was published by The Royal Society and looked at whether the teaching of ICT needs to be revamped to better support pupils, or whether it is relevant to be taught in schools. It was interesting to read the views on using the term ICT in the National Curriulum. I have often thought that ICT is a very broad area and gives much flexibility to teachers to use it as they choose. I agree with the point made in this report that because it is such a broad description, it does allow teachers to deliver it at the lowest possible stage and I have seen this in practice. Due to the teachers lack of confidence in using the technologies it was not something that was often present within the classroom. Visits to the computer suite were short, brief and didnt appear particularly of value as the children were completing work they could freely access in the classroom on the PC’s that were available. There were no new skills being developed and no guidance to access new programmes or software. With this is mind I agree with the points made in this report that suggests teachers need to have structured training and Continuing Professional Development to improve subject knowledge, skills and confidence. However I think this training needs to be carefully managed to appreciate the lack of confidence some teachers have around ICT. Resources within the schools could also prove to be a hinderance to providing computing in some schools. Schools are currently managing tight budgets and may not have endless funds available to constantly update technology hardwares and networks. The report suggests working with businesses and individuals to improve both skills and resources within our schools.

I found this report quite interesting to read, and the recomendations all seemed to make sense. I have written previously in my blog about my worries about having to teach Computing as a subject rather than ICT in its current form. Reading these recomendations in this report I can still see the positives of teaching computing, and the benefits to our children in later life, and if these recommendations are taken onboard it would make it a little less daunting.  I can also see the points that are made by traditionalists about not allocating time to Computing and instead focussing on other subjects such as Mathematics. Unfortunately the world we live in is racing forwards at great speed when it comes to technology, computing and ICT and the need is definately there to try to keep our children up to speed. With trading and business frequently carried out online, with cars for example becoming more computerised and with more use of robotics, we need to ensure our children have an understanding to allow them to compete with thier peers from across the world in later life. i’m yet to be convinced children as young as 5 need to be taught about programming, but with time and seeing the benefits within the classroom this view may change.

If you would like to read the report summary, Please click on the image below for the link.

 

I have also included a brief video clip of an interview with Professor Steve Furber FRS talking about Computing in UK schools.

 

 

 

 

Computer Masters to Teach the Teachers

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, National Curriculum, Uncategorized | Posted on February 9, 2014

 

 

 

After my previous blog post, I found a recent article about how the Government will employ Computer Masters to teach the teachers in preparation for the delivery of Computing lessons in primary schools and Computer Science in secondary schools. The article doesn’t really explain exactly how the teachers will be taught about computer programming, but it does allay some fears I have about teaching this in the new curriculum. I would still be interested in hearing the views of other trainee teachers or teachers about how they feel about teaching this new subject. Is it really going to be much different from how we use and teach ICT in schools now? Or is it just the name and the language the curriculum is written in that makes it more scary? To read the article, click on the image above.

Computing in the New National Curriculum

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Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Early Years, National Curriculum, Uncategorized | Posted on February 9, 2014

Just taken a look at how Computing features within the new National Curriculum from 2014. I have to say I find this extremely daunting! As somebody who left education a number of years ago, computing is something I have had to almost teach myself as the technologies have changed. I haven’t been able to come from school, where we used smartboards, laptops and iPads knowing exactly how to use these resources and hardwares. Looking at the language which is used is in itself really quite frightening to me, let alone the thought of actually having to teach it! Some of the points in the curriculum such as staying safe and storing and retrieving data I do all the time, but Algorithms and debugging simple programs? Pass! It does worry me slightly that a lot of learning is becoming very ICT based and that traditional skills are being lost. I wonder how many children understand the process of writing and posting a letter? I’ll bet most children understand how to write and send an email! I’ve linked the National Curriculum page to this blog for you to take a look at what is expected to be taught. I’d be interested in other peoples thoughts on what’s involved, and how people feel about potentially teaching it. Click on the Department for Education logo for the link.