So many things I've been meaning to write about but just not finding the time. Couldn't let this one go without comment though. Today, it was widely reported that Michael Gove, the education secretary for England, announced that the current ICT curriculum is "demotivating and dull" and a "mess". (See for example, School ICT to be replaced by computer science programme and Michael Gove to scrap 'boring' IT lessons.)
|Computers, a photo|
by amberlynnlane on Flickr.
While Mr Vaizey was talking about the "digital economy" and the importance of game design, Mr Gove was talking about Latin and the Kings and Queens of England. In November 2011, when the government finally got around to commenting on a report published in February 2011 (Next Gen - Transforming the UK into the world's leading talent hub for the video games and visual effects industries), there appeared to finally be an acknowledgement of the importance of a Computing curriculum in schools (see for example 'Seismic shift' in computer education), as well as some attempt to make a distinction between ICT and Computing.
Two: I think Mr Gove is still hugely underestimating what children can do with technology. He is quoted as saying:
"...we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations using an MIT tool called Scratch."Never mind "could have", it is amazing what 11 year-olds are already doing with Scratch! And not just 11 year-olds but children much younger than that too. And as for "simple" have a look what an 11 year-old has already done and tell me it's "simple"!
-- The Guardian
Three: In Scotland, we have had a Computing curriculum for over thirty years and have trained and qualified teachers in Computing teachers since the mid eighties but we are not without our problems. We too are seeing falling numbers of pupils taking the subject and see reports of children bored in the early years of secondary school with courses that lack relevance, excitement and challenge. Seeing that there is a problem is important. Knowing how to fix it is trickier. It's something we have been wrestling with in Scotland for some time. I wonder though if English and Scottish Computing education people are talking to each other?
What do you think? How do we develop an appropriate computing curriculum for schools and how do we re-engage the pupils that we have managed to put off the subject? Any thoughts?