Where in the world is ICT now?
The latest announcement by the coalition government that the New Primary Curriculum has been dropped combined with the decision to get rid of BECTA filled my heart with dread for two reasons.
- ICT in the ‘old’ National Curriculum as it stands in my opinion is completely unfit for purpose. A curriculum written 10 years ago can in no way reflect the changes in technology and the skills that children need to be taught in the modern world.
- BECTA for all its failings actually gave the teaching profession a technical backup outside Local Authority level. With the reduction of services that the LA now provides, where will the technical expert advice that schhols need come from. Will it have to be bought in and if so how will we know that we are not being ripped off?
I’m worried that the coalition government is missing a trick here to move the agenda forward and help develop a flexible workforce for the future which, rightly or wrongly, seems to be driver behind educational policy. There are many factors which they seem not to have considered thus far:
- The essential ICT infrastructure to move the system forward is already in place and has been paid for. Schools are in a position to develop a new curriculum that delivers ICT skills to the children.
- The majority of the tools that the children may use are free and online.
- The skills of collaboration, communication and creation are necessary in the modern workforce are not directly addressed in the old curriculum.
- The current policy makers are not, it seems, digital natives for want of a better term. I am in no way saying that I am any sort of ICT guru, but I do recognise that we need to address the different ways in which children access and process information. One of the great problems is that if you don’t understand how something works then how can you legislate for a future curriculum!
This is not the fault of government, but does present a problem and an opportunity. The problem is that the the ICT curriculum needs to be developed from the ground up and not from the top down, the opportunity is that there is a new curriculum coming at some point down the line.
So here is the challenge:
Can we as educators develop a skill based ICT curriculum that is relevant and low cost that will deliver for future learners? I am sure that this is something that we can do working together that can demonstrate how and why these skills are important.
To this end I’ve set up a Google Docs Spreadsheet to try and bring together some of the ideas. Please spread the word and lets get something together as a community.