The fact that the current UK ICT curriculum is pants has been a much discussed topic within the tech community for a long time. It’s focussed on consumption not creation, it ignores younger children and even if I were being charitable I’d say, at its best, it is preparing our kids for the kind of jobs they might have found in the office of ten years ago.
In the last week this topic has had some limelight after Eric Schmidt’s talk at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, prompting the mainstream media to write about the subject.
Of course the big question is… what do we do about it?
Whilst its right to shout loudly about the inadequacies of the current curriculum
(can we call it the ‘legacy’ curriculum?), it is the easy option. To be credible we need to propose a solution – put up, or shut up.
Earlier today I mooted on twitter
that we need an open-source alternative ICT curriculum – its not an original idea by any means and I know its been talked about before. Quite rightly Emma Mulqueeny
) responded with a “theres been talk, but whats needed, whats the first step?” challenge.
I have absolutely no experience of building a curriculum so I might be talking complete rubbish, but here are my starter-for-ten thoughts – they are unpolished and completely up for comment etc.
1 – Find the people who are at the intersection between….
- Caring deeply about this stuff
- Knowing what works and doesn’t work in the classroom
- Writing a curriculum that would be credible in the eyes of whoever it is that judges whether a curriculum passes muster or not
2 – Break it down into something small
Theres no point in sitting in a room for years word-smithing an overarching curriculum (I’m guessing thats how we ended up with what we have now). I’m far more in the ‘whats the fastest experiment we can do to see if this has legs?’ camp. So I guess the question is do we take a narrow part of the curriculum and develop something for all ages… or do we take one age group and develop a fuller curriculum for that? or is there a better way to slice it?
3 – organise it like an open-source software project
In the sense of having a public repository (git-hub or similar) and a means to incorporate contributions / changes / bugfixes – I’m quite taken by the idea of a bug fix to a curriculum
4- find the fastest way to test out the first iteration
There are already plenty of enlightened teachers who do ‘get it’ – are they able to go ‘off-curriculum’ ? (I know thats easy for me to say and probably very difficult in practice). Would they be able to translate the objectives of the curriculum into free available lesson plans that could be more widely tried out?
5 – Learn from the above and repeat until we get it right
…Incomplete thoughts and rough round the edges I know, but is this (or a refinement of this) a workable way forward?