Today I attended the Westminster Forum to discuss the new Computing Curriculum. Details of the sessions are here.
My brief was to present for 5 minutes on the new curriculum and to see if it was fit for purpose. My question is, what was the purpose? If the purpose is to get more computing into schools, then yes it will do that.
My talk started with an introduction and an explanation that I am a primary school teacher and although I need to know about computing, I also need to be able to teach dance, music, science and a load of other things too. It is hard to train teachers in one aspect of the curriculum when there are so many things to look at.
I talked about my background. I didn’t have any PCs at school and didn’t really see a PC until I was 16 at college. I didn’t program at home on Spectrums etc either. I still went and did a BTEC in ICT and my Primary Education Degree specialised in ICT too. If people want to learn ICT and learn about computers, they will find a way. Even if they haven’t been taught computing.
I then showed the new curriculum and discussed the interpretation. I think this is a big concern. If read in one way, then 3/5 statements from KS1 and 4/6 from KS2 curriculum are focussed on programming and just 1 in each looks at the other bits. So what would happen to all of the ICT we do now? We had already heard from Phil Bannister at the Department of Education saying that it is expected that ICT should be taught across the curriculum and even though this wasn’t mentioned, teachers should do it anyway. My worry is that many schools will look at the curriculum and just interpret is as reducing the need for all of the fun creative ICT that we have been doing already.
I showed some pictures of a few projects from school using Sketchup, Pivotman, Voki, Google Maps, Audacity and many others and asked if these would be applicable in the new curriculum. There are some statements that might help…
Those statements are: