Thursday, August 23, 2007

Digital World

originally uploaded by Swansea Photographer
We had a follow up meeting today for the Schools Computing Workshop we held at Jordanhill in May 2007. Not surprisingly, we turned once again to teasing out the difference between ICT and Computing. We have a concern that although Computing is mentioned in A Curriculum for Excellence, it is placed in the Technologies curriculum area and seems to be subsumed in "information technologies". (Note: IT not ICT!) A distinction between ICT and Computing clearly wasn't on the minds of the people drawing up the Curriculum for Excellence documents. At the Computing Workshop we felt that Computing should feature in the Science curricular area.

The Science area currently groups outcomes under three headings:
  • Our living world: including
    • the diversity of living things, the uniqueness of being human and the importance of cells
  • Our material world: including
    • uses and properties of materials, sustainability, the chemistry of life processes and the applications of chemistry in society
  • Our physical world: including
    • harnessing and using energy sources, motion and travel on land, sea, air and space
    • the development of communication systems.

Following the May meeting, we put forward a suggestion that there should be a fourth heading - Our digital world. I think this is a great idea and we are continuing to develop what we mean by this and to offer justifications for its inclusion. Although, I fear that the Curriculum for Excellence train has left the station and that it may already be too late to make changes like this, I think the discussion and debate about the addition of a fourth heading is still worthwhile.

One of the other aspects we discussed at this follow up meeting reflected Chris Stephenson's comment that Computing teachers were not just shooting themselves in the foot, but in the head. Somehow we seem to have taken a subject that should be fascinating, challenging and exciting and turned it into something that bores teenagers. Unbelievable! However, one of the people attending the meeting said that part of the problem was that most of the things that would fascinate and engage are banned in schools: mobile phones - banned; digital cameras and photo sharing websites - banned; instant messaging - banned; wikis and podcasts and blogs (oh my!) - banned; social websites (bebo, myspace, facebook etc.) - banned. The list goes on. He remarked:
Digital World? - It's more like Forbidden Planet!
Brilliant! As far as I'm concerned that was the quote of the day. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

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N Winton said...

David... I think that quote could just become one of my all-time favourites!

I'm going to take it and adapt it for the sub-title of the talk I'm giving to the PKC NQTs this afternoon...

"Brave New World or Forbidden Planet?" Here we come!

David said...

So how did the talk go? Any conclusions you can share?