ICT has, for a number of years, been considered as a key skill for students as well as a tool for improving the way lessons are taught. But the current curriculum has been consistently criticised for failing to test students or provide any useful skills. As Michael Gove rather effectively said; it was, “Demotivating and dull”.
Despite the fact that I don’t usually tend to agree with Mr Gove on his educational policy, I feel that his ideas regarding the ICT curriculum or ‘computing’ as it is likely to be known come September, is a necessary change. For many it appears to signal the demise of PowerPoint and Excel based exercises and gives way to a new generation of coding and programming.
The concepts of teaching the younger generation how to create their own applications or how to develop software seems to be something that is long overdue and essential to allow the continual development of an exclusive and rapidly advancing industry.
Naturally there will be issues with a reform of the ICT provision and it will clearly be tough for schools to acquire staff with the knowledge to teach these courses considering the tight budgets that many schools have to run on. Despite this, it seems that by developing the system to work in a way designed to provide students with a more diverse range of skills would be a worthwhile endeavour.
But do all children want – or need – to learn the intricacies of programming or how a computer’s hardware functions? It seems foolish to exclude this from the curriculum, but it equally seems pointless to force such a topic on students without an interest in the admittedly specialist topic.
A possible solution to this could be to change the curriculum structure itself slightly by adding in a computing programme, but to maintain an ICT course that runs alongside to allow students more of a choice. Consider the possibility of having two different ICT choices for your GCSE so a student who wants to work in the technology industry could specialise whilst a student who only wishes to learn some basic core functions could through the standard ICT qualification.
Nevertheless, despite the transitional stage the reform is likely to encounter, I for one am genuinely excited at the prospect of meaningful developments in a subject that is so essential in keeping the UK a strong economic force and enabling the next generation to have the skills needed in a competitive industry.