Do Citizenship and overlapping subjects like Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) have a relationship with ICT? I would suggest they do, in the following ways.
ICT as a facilitator
In a general sense, I believe that ICT can work with any subject in a facilitative way. It’s a discipline, by which I mean a way of looking at things, and a set of skills which together make it possible to do things that would otherwise be very difficult.
For example, at the most fundamental level ICT makes it relatively easy to obtain information. Making sure it’s good information is another matter, of course, but the point is that acquiring the information in the first place is reasonably painless.
It is also easy to collate and present information. For instance, any subject can, and has, benefitted from the existence of a well thought-out website. That’s why I was happy to publish two reviews of a new Citizenship website called Your Justice, Your World. If you read the reviews, one for primary (elementary) school teachers, the other for secondary (high) school teachers, you’ll notice that there is a lot of emphasis on how and whether the website works as a website, regardless of the content. The material is presented on a website, therefore the website has to be effective from an educational point of view: the medium is very much bound up with the message.
Modelling in its broadest sense is easy too. Videos abound of people in situations which youngsters in this country cannot even imagine, such as that experienced by the young lady in this video about human rights.
The effects of technology
One of the things I try to do on this website from time to time is look at issues arising from the deployment of technology, because that is on many ICT syllabuses. For example, I looked at what might happen in the event of a cyber-attack on the country. Topics like this blur the lines between technology and citizenship/social perspectives, providing a reason for the subject specialists in these areas in a school to do a bit of joint project planning.
Finally, the use of technology, especially where it involves the internet, raises e-safety issues. This was very much in evidence throughout the Web 2.0 Projects book I’m currently putting together. One or two contributors to that have come up with the eminently sensible suggestion that e-safety and netiquette are issues which ought to be addressed within Citizenship and PSHE, and not only in ICT lessons.
ICT and citizenship do not have to be wholly separate topics, as I hope this article has shown. I believe that to be true of other subjects in the curriculum too. If you have ideas on how other subjects, such as History or Geography, relate to ICT, please considered suggesting an article you might write for these pages.