Regular readers will know my views about the need to completely reinvent the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) curriculum in schools. Having written a few pieces on the subject I was invited along last week to an interesting meeting of representatives from industry and education (including Google, Microsoft, Rewired State, Nesta, BETT, the IPA and UKIE) who have come together to structure a response to the government-sponsored Next Gen report which called for a radical revamp of the tech curriculum.
The good news is that there seems to be real consensus about the need for change and a constructive approach toward building a new curriculum that will better equip our shcools and teachers with a relevant course of study to replace the old one as it is phased out, and better equip our kids for the kind of world they will emerge into as adults. It will be interesting to see how this response shapes up over the next few months and how the government will react to it, so watch this space.
In the meantime, it's worth taking a look at the Shut Down Or Restart report from The Royal Society (another attendee at the meeting) which provides a great summary of key issues and recommendations that have provided some good focus and direction for the response. Critical to the report are recommendations around terminology (disaggregating the amorphous 'ICT' into clearly defined areas such as digital literacy, Information Technology and Computer Science to enable proper focus on under-represented areas – notably recognising Computer Science as a rigorous academic discipline and making it available to every child), recognition of the shortage of specialist teachers, industry help with the continuing professional development of teachers, the development of fit-for-purpose technical resources and school infrastructure, and proper incentives, resources and qualifications to help teachers build long-term change.
This is a subject I believe to be critical not only to our education system and our kids, but to the future of our country.