Saturday, April 14, 2012

Exciting times in IT curriculum development let's not waste it!

Whilst I am not the greatest fan of the current education minister I
can't help but commend his decision to remove ICT from the National
Curriculum to allow all interested bodies to develop a new more
challenging curriculum that reflects the needs of industry and further
education.

His reported reasons for doing this were because far to many pupils
found the subject boring. Let's be clear I follow on twitter an
innovative group of IT managers from all key stages who I suspect have
never allowed IT to become boring but my experience from talking to
most teenagers in my local secondary schools is that they often found
the subject irrelevant and boring at KS3. Pupils would often come back
to me at Junior school and tell me they had done nothing new for the
first two years. As an ICT AST I often visited junior schools where
their curriculum was also woefully inadequate, the difference lay in
the fact that unfettered by an outdated exam syllabus I could help
them adapt their program's of study to incorporate new technology,
challenge and excitement.

We have at this moment an wonderful opportunity to redesign the
curriculum. As good IT managers we have always responded to change.
Let's keep and improve the best of digital literacy skills that allow
our pupils to function as good digital citizens. Let's work with
business to ensure skills and understanding relevant to existing in a
modern work place. Let's respond to the challenge to explain and
discover how IT works by developing clear strands of computer science
across the key stages.

This process will be a bit messy and I imagine that some head teachers
will think that IT no longer matters. I was heartened to hear the lead
ICT inspector for OFSTED saying that schools would still have to
provide a full ICT curriculum which is at least as good as the old
programs of study or they would find themselves facing needs to
improve.

We can either moan about why the government haven't provided us a
curriculum or we can take destiny in our hands, team up with
interested business leaders, programmers and computer scientists and
build a world class curriculum. We won't get everything right straight
away and we might need to challenge some of our own long held views if
they conflict with providing excellence but I hope the end result will
be a more relevant, exciting and challenging curriculum.

With this in mind I have been working with Dr Les Carr of Southampton
Universities Computer Science department to design a strand of
Computing Science to teach to KS2 (7-11) pupils. I have persuaded a
number of local schools to allow me to teach this next year. I will be
publishing all our new planning at http://code-it.co.uk/ . I know that
the IT curriculum will be improved at those schools and hope that some
of our experiences will benefit the wider debate. I welcome
collaboration and debate.

Phil Bagge

1 comment:

  1. I've just returned from a visit to some UK schools and found the bar for junior digital literacy is set much higher in New South Wales. What about consideration of Robotics, Artificial intelligence, Interactive digital media beyond from Prezi and PPT (Flash?), 3D design and 3D printing using Makerbot, Augmented reality, Adobe suite - Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Web design using Dreamweaver, Movie making, Creating podcasts etc.
    Our yr 9-10 course is project based and the core theory is integrated into these projects, not taught separately. It has also a programming module. We are in the throws of establishing a National Curriculum at present. Check the syllabus out...
    http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabus_sc/pdf_doc/info_soft_tech_710_syl.pdf

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