Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Computing is... again!

We had another meeting today of the group of people considering the future of Computing Science education. There was another attempt to define what we think Computing is and we are perhaps slightly further forward but once again, we found it easier to say what Computing isn't. It isn't ICT.

It seems so obvious to me that there is a distinction between ICT and Computing that I may on occasion just state it as a fact and assume that people will go, "Of course! I see it now..." Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case.

I don't want to get too depressed though because some people get it. For example, three recent articles/letters in the Times Educational Supplement (No bytes at the back end, What lies underneath and Put computing in its rightful place), a post on the BBC web site (End of innocence for Mac fans) and the Guardian article that I've already blogged about.

The main problem seems to be the people in charge. In particular our Scottish Government don't seem to get it. For example, I wrote about our ideas for placing Computing in the Science area of a Curriculum for Excellence in my post Digital World. We pulled these thoughts together, made the distinction between ICT and Computing Science and presented what we thought was a good case to Maureen Watt (Minister for Schools and Skills). We received a reply - not from Maureen Watt but from someone else (a civil servant we assume). This reply assured us that ICT was firmly embedded in the Scottish curriculum and ICT was being taught very well and ICT would be even better with a Curriculum for Excellence. (I paraphrase... just a bit.) It basically said, "Thank you for your letter. Now go away." Bah! Did they even read our letter? If they did they completely missed the point. We may or may not be doing well at teaching ICT but ICT is not Computing!

We're going to try again. :-)

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