ICT Curriculum Strands


Over the past year and a bit I have slowly been gathering ideas in order to overhaul the ICT curriculum in our school. I now feel that it is beginning to really take shape in my head and this year I will gradually be introducing some of the new ideas before introducing it completely for next year. I have gathered ideas and inspiration from so many people via Twitter and hopefully put them together in a way that really suits our school. We teach ICT as a separate subject for all year groups from Year 8 all the way down to Nursery and I want to take full advantage of that in order to introduce some of the computing elements such as programming and computer technology. I also hope to encourage a cross-curricular use of ICT in other subjects. Already, our music and art departments cover some of the objectives that are in our current ICT plans.

I have split the curriculum into four strands through which I hope to cover everything I want the children to learn. These four strands are ….

Digital Literacy
This will cover…

  • basic keyboard and mouse skills in the Early Years.
  • An understanding of the common, key functions in most software such as Save, Open, Print, Copy and Paste.
  • Basic skills in commonly used software.
  • Touch typing
  • Internet research skills
  • Using Web 2.0 tools
  • e-Safety
  • Collaborative tools
  • Blogging
  • Copyright
  • Use of other ICT equipment – cameras / scanners / microscopes / microphones etc
  • Data v Information

Digital Creativity
Or Making Things Happen. This will include…

  • Digital art and animations.
  • Photography and Video
  • DTP
  • Web design
  • Computer programming
  • Creating Games – 2DIY / Scratch / Kodu etc
  • Control – Logo /2Go etc

Digital Technology
This will cover

  • being able to recognise basic hardware such as monitor, mouse, keyboard in Early Years
  • An understanding of bits, bytes and binary.
  • Comparing digital and analogue
  • History of computer / communication technology – i.e. “The Victorian Internet”
  • Telecommunications technology
  • The future of computer technology
  • Control technology

Digital Society
This will cover…

  • Issues relating to how ICT is used in the real world – such as computer technology in shops / hospitals etc
  • Environmental issues regarding computers such as the recycling of old technology.
  • Topics to debate such as age ratings on games / websites.
  • ICT in the News, such as the role of social media in the Arab uprisings and the Summer riots.
  • ICT in other cultures.
  • How future technology will affect our lives etc

I imagine that Digital Literacy and Digital Creativity will take up most of the curriculum and that there will be a lot of crossover between the different strands. The ideas listed above are far from the final list and I am always open to sugegstions on how it could be tweaked and if there is anything glaringly obvious I have missed.

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16 Responses to “ICT Curriculum Strands”

  1. I think this is a comprehensive and rigorous foundation for your curriculum.

    I’m just starting some research on the effect of apps on early readers. Because apps are a genuinely multimodal experience, I’ll be interested to see how your music and English ties in with ICT as the curriculum evolves.

  2. Just a suggestion:

    “Ubiquitous computing” (In Digitial Technology section perhaps)

    – Mechanical systems (the ‘pepper grinder’ calculator, slide rule) – potentially covered in history of computing.
    – microcontrollers and physical computing (DIY – arduino and so on – and commercial – boiler controls, microwaves, toys, etc)
    – midrange controllers, smart subsystems (eg old nokias or ipods, top end microcontrollers to RISC ARM chips.)
    – – processors in mobile personal devices
    – laptops to desktops
    – multicore by design clustered computers, Blue Gene, Earthquake simulators, etc.

    Goals: increase knowledge and awareness of the widespead uses and dependancies, knowledge of applications. Arduinos, Nanodes, or something of that ilk would provide the potential for a good cross-domain (science) lesson as well.

  3. “Blogging”
    “Computer programming”

    Firstly, fantastic to see them amongst the points here, especially the latter! Scope might be an especially hard thing to get right for these two so I would be interested in a bit more information on what you think should be covered?

  4. Chris, that’s a pretty fantastic curriculum. The kids are lucky to have an innovator driving their ICT program. Our company delivers ICT curriculum and certifications in over 100 countries and we’ve found that digital literacy should always include key applications, computing fundamentals and online tools. Check out certiport.com/ic3 for the learning outcomes. It might help you hone your thinking. Email me if you want more information.

  5. Given this aimed at Nursery to Y8 I think it is simply fantastic. An interesting approach, as (focusing purely on KS3) my department recently agreed on 3 strategies (digital skills, creative skills and computing), but probably at the cost of the latter two sections, certainly digital society.

    Although I do think we cover those it’s a bit implicit and I think you have set yourself up with a fantastic foundation for a meaningful and valuable curriculum.

  6. Look s like a really good curriculum. Would be interested in how you deliver the blogging and also the computer programming sections – especially to the younger students.

  7. It’s a great looking curriculum. As you know I’ve been re-doing mine too (as have a few others) and it’s interesting to see what we have all done the same and what we have all done differently too. I think my digital society bit needs fleshing out and I will be magpie-ing some ideas from yours I’m sure.
    Great work and I look forward to seeing how it looks in a few months time

  8. [...] ICT Curriculum Strands « Chris Leach Digital Literacy This will cover… basic keyboard and mouse skills in the Early Years. An understanding of the common, key functions in most software such as Save, Open, Print, Copy and Paste. Basic skills in commonly used software. Source: chrisleach78.wordpress.com [...]

  9. Looks interesting.

    One thing for the technology section that springs to mind is “where are computers”. If you pick anything that has any level of intelligence (from micro-controller upwards), there’s a shocking number of computers in the modern home. eg Sony LCD TVs running Linux, an 8051 inside a Wii Remote, DVB-T set top boxes, consoles, etc.

  10. Think its interesting that you choose to put programming in Creativity then control into Dig Tech.

    • Chris Leach Says:

      The idea of putting Programming into the Digital Creativity strand was that the children will be ‘making something happen’ i.e. they will be creating something.

      Having control in the Digital Technology simply refers to the children having an understanding of how systems such as traffic lights or car parks operate.

      • I agree completely about the placement of programming within the Digital Creativity strand – programming is all about expressing creativity, albeit within the constraints of rules.

        I agree with Nick above that it’s an interesting take, to split this off from control, as historically control has been the closest most ICT programmes of study get to programming, and it has been shifted from pillar to post in terms of where it sits within ICT (or D&T a while back), but I actually like it… I think it makes sense when you look at the curriculum as a whole, and certainly leaves no gaps.

        I’m soon to be starting my own curriculum review here in St Helena, and while I enjoy a few more freedoms than British schools, I see this as closer to what I envision the ICT curriculum to be than it currently stands in the NC & beyond. Like Ian, I’ll be plagiarising mercilessly ;)

        Bravo that man.

  11. I like it! It’s certainly a new approach to planning an ICT curriculum that definitely meets the modern demands of the subject – it will be interesting to discover if the government’s new programmes of study for ICT do something similar, thus forcing more schools to re-examine the suitability of their current curricula too.

  12. Paul James Says:

    Some great ideas here, Chris. Since moving from mainstream ICT teaching to a special school, I have been trying to build a coherent curriculum for learners working from P6 – level 4 that reflects current technologies. The existing NC documents just don’t capture the ideas and skills that are most important. Your headings make a lot of sense. Have you asked your students what they think?
    Best wishes, Paul

  13. [...] At Key Stage 3, we follow the traditional model of a unit on spreadsheets, followed by one on databases, followed by another on Scratch, yet APP has been introduced as a method of assessment. This is a nigh on impossible fit when entire terms can be spent in one Assessment Focus, and has led to some peculiar blips on tracking spreadsheets, where in term 1 a student achieved a level 4b, then in term 2 the student achieved a level 3a ā€“ he happened to be very comfortable with the desktop publishing unit in term 1, but struggled with the database unit in term 2. As a result, Iā€™m going to be leading a curriculum review from Key Stage 1 right the way through to introducing new qualifications at GCSE & A level, where currently the only options are IGCSE ICT and AQA A level ICT ā€“ both tough options for students with low literacy, as many have. So at the moment I have a blank sheet of paper and a mountain of background reading, including the fine work of people like Brian Sharland & Chris Leach. [...]

  14. [...] exactly what digital literacy might look like when fleshed out as topics there is Chris Leach on ICT Curriculum Strands. Does the following represent the key aspects of digital [...]

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