There has been much discussion about the curriculum in general in England recently, and the ICT curriculum in particular. I wrote about the latter a few months ago, in an article entitled 5 Characteristics of an Ideal Programme of Study for ICT. Now, three months and two draft versions of a new ICT Programme of Study later, I should like to put forward a few comments, both about the area of “ICT curriculum” in general, and about recent developments in the UK in particular.
There is something romantic about an old manual typewriter. The clattering of the keys sounds somewhat industrial, which connotes “industrious”. Bashing away at a typewriter is what real writers do. No spellchecker, no thesaurus, no internet, and no forgiveness if you make a mistake. So typing something that looked reasonable, and which didn’t involve too much correction fluid, gave one a sense of achievement.
I recently discovered a fairly new educational technology and ICT news service. Published daily by UK ICT veteran Leon Cych, Learn for Life News is a welcome – and different – addition to the plethora of information sources currently available.
Why “different”? Because it is not just another source of news but, as Leon himself describes it, filtered news. Leon is acting as a human filter of what is currently being discussed on the UK ICT grapevine.
How would you rate the apple pie shown in the photo? Yes, I know the first thing that comes to mind is probably “Disgusting!”, because my food presentation skills are not what they ought to be. (Believe it or not, the apple pie depicted has not been eaten.) But how you assess my efforts must depend on what exactly you’re looking for. (I realise this is kind of obvious, but please bear with me.)
What are the potential benefits and challenges of introducing a Bring Your Own Device policy into a secondary (high) school? In this, our latest case study, we look at the experience of The Arnewood School Academy in England.
You may not know this, but there is not a lot of difference between a Lee Oskar diatonic harmonica (the type used by blues and folk musicians) and a Hohner Blues Band harmonica. The Lee Oskar is said to have been engineered to give a “sharper” edge to the tone, which suits the blues sound, whereas the Marine Band, being slightly “softer”, works well for folk music too. Unless you’re a purist, there is probably not much in it. As someone once said:
“A difference is only a difference if it makes a difference.”
Adobe has rolled out an exciting series of online courses called Adobe Generation, which are designed to help students between the age of 14 and 19 develop new skills that will put them in a better position when exploring career options in the creative industry.
ICT Direct, who sell refurbished business-standard computers to schools at a fraction of their original cost, will be demonstrating an innovative and exciting project on its stand at the BETT Show, called “Project Touch”.
I’ve seen a lot of great practice with iPads and other tablets in schools. The students are engaged in what they’re doing, teachers are excited by the learning taking place, and there’s a good, collaborative atmosphere.
So why do I have the feeling that there is something – a quite fundamental “something” – missing?
St Crispin’s School is a slightly larger-than-average secondary school serving the town of Wokingham, England. An 11-18 school, it has 1102 students. The number of students with special education needs is about average, whilst the proportion of students from ethnic minority backgrounds is below average. Relatively few students are eligible for free school meals.
St Crispin’s was attracted to the idea of BYOD because, as Mike Elward, Assistant Head/Director of e-learning says
The general thrust of education these days is on student-centred learning. This is often expressed by depicting on the teacher’s role as being the guide on the side rather than the sage on the stage. Regardless of whether you agree that that’s how things should be (and as it happens I don’t: see Please! No More Mantras!), the often-stated philosophy these days is that students know best.
But does stating that philosophy mean that it is observed in practice?
George Spencer Academy is a mixed secondary school in Nottingham, England, with 1350 students aged 11-18. Although it is located in a large town, it has only a small proportion of students who are eligible for free school meals.
The school decided to go down the BYOD road in order to be able to explore the potential of personal devices without incurring costs of purchase, training or technical support. The idea also fits very well with the school’s vision, which is concerned with giving a personalised learning experience to all students.