The Royal Society (no less) has produced a report on school ICT hot on the heels of Michael Gove’s breathtaking withdrawal this week of the current compulsory ICT curriculum. No sooner had Mad Mick wielded the axe to rapturous applause from our technical elite than it dawned on a lot of people that implementing a new computing curriculum might prove problematic. The RSC report details just what the problems may be.
Professor Steve Furber chaired the group that produced the report which is a model of clarity, good research, hard facts and damning figures. It’s a ‘must read’ and commendably short, but if I may take the liberty of summing up their summing up it says: we don’t have the teachers to teach computing and what is ICT anyway?
Reading the report is the kind of exercise that Mad Mick will hate. What happens to the reader is the same as with any decent analysis of a complex issue. It is naturally reductive in nature and so you end up much the wiser... and completely paralysed: this is not what men of action need.
The trouble is ICT was never really a school subject like say Mathematics is a subject, it only seemed a bit like one during an odd blip in time during the ascendancy of ‘Office’ programs. Now, in the post-Office era it all looks a bit silly.
We need action, genuinely we do. It is appalling that so few in the UK know anything about the technologies that run the modern world let alone be masters of them so somehow we must educate the next generation accordingly.
The Royal Society’s report would in the hands of the teaching profession create half a dozen GCSE’s in the place of just one because as always happens in education, analysis leads to elaboration. Mad Mick does not do elaboration. The aim of the reform after all is to stop Schmidt taking the rise out of us so coding will have to be taught somehow to someone.
Lets do it, take action, quick and dirty, like all good programmers.
By implication, according to The Report it is futile to ask existing ICT teachers to do so as they euphemistically call them ‘non-specialist’ (dim?). But to a man of action this is no barrier.
Today Friday 13th, Mad Mick announced that teachers who fall short will be sacked in short order.
Problem solved. All you ICT teachers you’ve got 8 months to sort yourselves out. I suggest starting with Java, but some may disagree.