The end of ICT my friends

It's a while since I put pen to paper. I wrote weekly for seven years about IT in education. It barely seems possible that there was that much to say about the subject but, as is the way of things, eventually there was nothing left to say, and so...

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It's a while since I put pen to paper. I wrote weekly for seven years about IT in education. It barely seems possible that there was that much to say about the subject but, as is the way of things, eventually there was nothing left to say, and so I stopped.

A job change to a College that runs entirely on Google Docs and Chrome books only reinforced the feeling that 'it's all over now'. 'It' just works, for staff and students alike. However the move has prompted me to look back as I did when I started writing blogs eight years ago.

A review of my past posts revealed a narrative beginning when the Labour Party, Microsoft and BECTA were in their pomp. They document a period characterised by excess: an early excess of optimism (as to the role of computers in schools), and an excess of reckless procurement. The blogs finish in a post recession, post ICT midden of decline. Computers and ICT are now mostly ignored and unloved.

Here is a selection of themes from those blogs.

Eight years notable for what did not happen:

Microsoft did not lose market share, did not lose money and did not define the future. Most schools buy their stuff, pay their dues to MS... mostly because they have to. XP, an interface largely unknown to children outside schools, did not get replaced and chugs on quietly.

The Desktop did not change. Linux did not appear neither did Open/Libre Office or The Gimp: despite being free.

Children did not write code or learn how computers worked; girls abandoned computing almost completely.

By the Summer of 2013, UK school ICT had been so castigated by Schmidt of Google fame it resulted in the deprecation of old ICT and the creation of 17 disparate new ICT courses, none of which are compulsory.

Plans to protect children's freedom from the mother of all big-brother databases were dropped and then ever so very quietly un-dropped giving carte-blanche to outsourced private companies to gather unprecedented volumes of data about our children on the Government's behalf.

Last and indeed least, we did not succeed in raising standards. The OECD's survey of Literacy, Numeracy and ICT skills put the UK 22nd out of 24 of the developed countries.

Meanwhile outside La La land everyone seems to be sporting those new fangled pad things, smarty-pants phones and the only sight of Microsoft 8 is a trickle of bewildered consumers who did not have enough money to buy an Apple from PC-World and are still wondering why their printers have stopped working.

Job done. Just leave it to the teaching establishment, give them plenty of cash, make sure that no-one in charge is technically savvy and within 10 years they will have wrecked the ship. They made it in less time than that... driven by a target on the P: drive no doubt.

Good news. My interest in blogging has been re-awakened but has moved more to vocational science in schools and colleges.This is a very important area of national importance..and it's in peril, naturally.

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