Sunday, January 03, 2010

Why we still need some discrete ICT focus modules

The best way to teach ICT in a primary school is though an embedded curriculum. Where ICT skills are taught within other curriculum focus. However this good trend has often led to important elements of ICT being left off the curriculum in favour of Word Processing and Desktop publishing in its many new guises.

Only a small percentage of primary teachers have the full range of skills and understanding of the many strands of ICT to be able to successfully integrate them all into the curriculum. This leads to database, spreadsheets, logo and control being eased out of the curriculum in many classes*. Some teachers have the skills but just don't see the point as these are not important in their own lives. The sad thing is that there are kids who just don't enjoy desktop publishing or word processing who will never experience the logical challenges of logo or spreadsheet modelling.

In my school there are about a quarter of the staff who I could say these are the areas you need to cover go for it and I could return to monitor at the end of the year and find most of it covered. The other three quarters would revert to what they think is best or what they are more comfortable with. Which means we still need a skills based curriculum albeit with other curriculum areas as focus of these skills.

However as software becomes easier to use then we can evaluate and adapt this. I think most primary staff could handle building key word processing and desktop publishing skills into the wider curriculum. I think this is true because most staff use these things themselves and therefore see the point. All I would need to do as an ICT manager would be to write a progression of skills, encourage teachers to find simple assessment opportunities and monitor work samples once a year to make sure it happens.

The test for me of whether an ICT area can go fully integrated is to ask staff to find their own curriculum focus for a module. If lots of staff adapt the planning to find their own focus then it is ready.

What do you think?

*I say this based on schools I visit as an ICT AST

1 comment:

  1. Have you checked out


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