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Should homework be set for ICT lessons? A common argument against the idea is that it’s unfair on those students who don’t have access to computers outside school. My answer to that is: set homework which doesn’t need access to a computer.
I suspect that much of the antipathy I’ve encountered towards setting homework is that it smacks of traditionalism. The very idea of homework is, in this sense, the antithesis of all we ed tech people like to believe we stand for: cutting edge, innovative – if not digital natives, then at least digital explorers.
I don’t see that at all. Homework can be used to ensure that the work in the classroom proceeds as quickly and as smoothly as possible. If much of your teaching style involves project work, then why not set a generic homework like: Do whatever you need to do in order to work effectively on your project next lesson? To make that work, it’s a good idea to ensure that the last five or ten minutes of the lesson is given over to identifying what has been achieved and what are the next steps. That way, students can see for themselves that they will need to, say, find out local supermarket prices in order to create an advertisement for a new product.
There is another reason for setting homework. If you work in a school in which homework is expected to be set, then by not setting it for ICT you’re declaring, in effect, ICT to be a non-subject. Non-subjects don’t get timetable time. Non-subjects don’t get first refusal when unexpected funds become available. Non-subjects don’t get much more than subsistence capitation (budget).
So for both political (with a small ‘p’) reasons and educational ones, homework in ICT is absolutely necessary. As The Commodores said in “Slippery When Wet”:
Having fun ain’t no good, leaving homework undone!