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Blog » A Vision for ICT in schools

A Vision for ICT in schools

Monday 3rd September 2012

The two underlying beliefs of schools that use IT effectively are:

  1. IT can be used to engage learners
  2. IT can be used to make learning more efficient

How this is achieved:

  1. Integrate ICT into the curriculum
  2. Offer Computer Science as a discipline
  3. Significant wireless capabilities
  4. Appropriate multimedia capable computers on a regular upgrade cycle
  5. Students have their own tablet computer, used in lessons appropriately

Integrating IT into the curriculum

Previous attempts have failed owing to a multitude of reasons. Some staff are not ready and no time has been given to analysing curriculum requirements and seeing how IT can be integrated. The person responsible for this implementation will be an IT expert and understand educational needs.

Broad Integration

Within the next 5 years, students will be using tablet devices probably Microsoft Surface on an everyday basis. Longfield Academy in Kent have caused a media storm by encouraging every student to have an iPad through their computer scheme. Their network is completely based on Apple architecture. With present PC-based networks, it makes more sense to wait for Microsoft Surface and use the Londfield funding model (either to be purchased outright or on a monthly contract) to make this a compulsory piece of school equipment from 2014. There are 5 reoccurring benefits of tablet devices:

  • Fast access to knowledge for basing assignments provided students are taught how to research effectively.
  • Efficient means of recording and recalling information, e.g.
    • Taking more memorable photos of science experiences instead of drawing them
    • Recording activities for later analysis, e.g. recording someone completing a PE exercise and analysing it, or using sensors to quickly record results of a science experiment - see www.globisens.com
    • Typing assignments out quicker - faster than writing
  • Presenting information
    • Sending instantly to a teacher via VLE
    • Saving to a "Dropbox" (an online storage repository)
    • Saving directly to a teacher's wireless USB dongle
  • Efficient and durable form factor makes for easy transport. Modern tablets are the most powerful computers and suitable ergonomic light-weight form factor that has ever been readily available.
  • Intuitive and engaging user interface appeals to students, even in the longer-term.

In order to prepare for a wireless revolution, there needs to be significant investment to improve the present wireless and network capacity. This is one of the most fundamental updates required to support improvement.

Specific Integration

All subjects will iterate:

  • Good research methods
  • Digital Wisdom
    • Acknowledging sources
    • Safe use of IT
    • Responsible use of IT
  • Online communication methods for sharing and seeking feedback, e.g. social media, blogs
  • Appropriate presentation style (an extension of English and Art)

IT integration could initially look like this:

SubjectSkills*Essential
Citizenship/Digital Wisdom (AKA digital citizenship)Yes
ArtPhoto editing, DrawingNo
DesignRoom design/CAD e.g. SketchupNo
HumanitiesResearch & Presentationyes
MathematicsSpreadsheet modellingYes
MusicDigital music creation/sequencingNo
Media, English, EnglishMovie making, Animationno
MFLCommunication, e.g. Microsoft Lync, Skype, BlogsYes
ScienceSpreadsheets for recording devices and use of hardware sensorsYes

*This would require appropriate software and hardware

Students will also have access to organised digital content, created either by themselves or by professionals, e.g:

  • Tutorial videos
  • Documentary videos
  • Interactive quizzes
  • Etc.

As such, teachers will have the time and facilities to create their own tutorial or informational videos for reuse in school or indeed schools around the globe. It may be that a team of educationalists produce material for many schools. This requires:

  • Time
  • Video editing facilities and hardware
  • Appropriate software, e.g. Premier, Camtasia

Videos are ideal for learners to revisit tricky learning concepts and for revision.

Budget for:

An initial budget should consider all essential hardware, software and web services, e.g.

  • Improved wireless capabilities
  • Canvas printing
  • Blog hosting

Computing for 2013/2014

Computer Science is not for everyone. It is only for those with a keen interest in programming. This typically includes students with an interest in maths and physics, although this is not exclusive.

Year 6

In Year 6, teachers will run a Tim Bell style Computing for Fun (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpDDPWVn5-Q) show to set the seed for what computer science is all about.

KS3

ICT will be replaced as an extension of the design faculty rota. This is most logical as creative ICT has most overlap with design, and secondly because this is likely to fit more neatly into the timetable.

Subjects covered in 6 hours:

      Using Scratch to create animations and games
      Understanding binary and basic computer architecture (fetch, decode, execute)

KS4

Programming games, e.g.: YoYo Games Mission Maker/GameMaker and/or Computing GCSE

KS5

A-Level Computer Science