Rethinking ICT

As many of you know I have been spending the past few months rethinking our ICT curriculum – dividing it into four strands: Digital Literacy, Digital Creativity, Digital Technology and Digital Society. The reason for this was to try and address some of the issues that people had with ICT in its current form. As I have been working on my plans I became aware of others doing something similar and it became clear we were all reaching similar conclusions and we began to share ideas via Twitter, blogs and email. This is all very well but what I really wanted to do was to be able to get together with these people, sit down and actually discuss these ideas and this is where the idea of a one-day conference was born.

Yesterday I was given the go ahead by my Headteacher to organise a conference in July to discuss ICT which seems even more important following Michael Gove’s “It’s all over to you” speech yesterday. I envisage a day in which anyone interested in teaching ICT from primary, secondary, independent schools can get together and brainstorm ideas on what the ICT curriculum should look like. This could be based around a Teachmeet model in which people share some of the things they are currently doing, followed by workshops and brainstorming sessions where we sit round a table and a big piece of paper and just write down ideas.

I also think that following Gove’s speech there will be even more need to support schools who are already struggling with their ICT. ICT in primary is quite often praised for being more innovative and engaging but there are many primary schools who do not have a specialist ICT co-ordinator – many having someone with that role simply because they have to have one. How do we support those schools? My suggestion would be an informal network of ICT teachers willing to go and offer training, support, INSET sessions in other schools. This list of people could be available online for others to see and request help.

These are only the initial thoughts but ones I really hope to develop. Gove has given us a huge opportunity to make a difference and we need to grab it while we can.



9 thoughts on “Rethinking ICT

  1. There seem to be two elements to this conference – one is the traditional approach to conferences providing an inspirational day which will move school practice forward. The second element is the even more exciting part which looks at creating a network of likeminded schools or individual teachers who can support each other as a result of the time together.

  2. Chris, as you know, I am very much on board with this idea and have spent a lot of time mind mapping the strands that you have put forward, although I have labelled digital society as digital citizenship in line with Brian Sharland’s proposals on his blog . I am very excited about a big meet up and hope that the mind maps can be developed by more teachers in the run up to the conference. An index of the maps is available at – if anyone wishes to contribute please send your email via @teachesict and I will give editing rights. The more teachers that we can get to contribute to the brainstorming at this stage, the more productive the conference could be.

  3. Chris, this is right up my street, my only plea would be if would be able to bring it forward! I am more than happy to contribute, help, pester – even participate!

    1. Unfortunately it will be very difficult to move it forward. For me to be able to host it at school this week is the best.

  4. It is interesting that the nature of ICT goes from a broad, roomy and inclusive approach in primary school with the use of a variety of different tools to being a narrow results driven one-track process in secondary schools. FE and HE all managed by monolithic archaic management systems. Within this one subject you have an almost perfect analogy to underline the thoughts of such as Sir Ken Robinson. Thoughts which suggest education is stuck in 19th Century thinking and models. As an employee of a large FE/HE College responsible for delivering Functional Skills ICT I only have to take one look at the current online exams to want to throw my hands in the air in despair. However, whilst I welcome Gove’s words I also would question why there is so much unadulterated support for his proposals. the consultation process will mean that come September schools will have no cohesive approach defined due to time constraints, there is no suggestion as to whether ICT will ever return to the curriculum – just a carrot tied to a, potentially, very long stick.

    The dialogue between the entire compulsory education continuum needs to be extended with students being exposed to ever widening resources and opportunities that build on each other. The monolithic management systems have to be streamlined (my college has a total of 36% teaching staff, which in theory should mean we could all have a personal assistant) and the focus has to shift from results. Finally, it has been my experience that the biggest barrier to ICT in schools is teaching staff and administrators for whom fear of change and the unknown overrides their primary responsibility – to assist students to develop. Until these issues can be addressed in open debate I fear that, for those of us who champion change, the fight will continue for quite some time to come.

  5. Superb idea. Don’t forget we need ideas men and developers but also many more competent users and not all schools have a cohort destined to be code based developers or the proverbial rocket scientist. Drivers don’t understand how the engine of their car works but the principles were hinted at in school. For many users digital literacy and a hint of the magic behind the tools they use is sufficient as a foundation.

  6. Interesting timelines. Need to have something in place for Sept so there is a need to do some benchmarking over the next few months and have an improved offering in place knowing it is an interim measure ie an 18 month project. July conference will be a good time to monitor progress

  7. I’m hoping to dive back into the world of freelance educating next September after a period back at the IWBface. In the past I’ve offered training and support to schools but almost invariably with the backing of funding bodies that now no longer exist. Would there there room for paid freelancing in an “informal network of ICT teachers willing to go and offer training, support, INSET sessions in other schools” I wonder?

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