ICT in our schools has the potential to be highly responsive to these ways of working and this freedom should have a positive effect on the teaching of ICT within our schools. Technology moves on very quickly and schemes of work often don't reflect changing technologies, times and contexts. We are in a position to personalise the curriculum in what children learn, how they learn, where they learn, with whom and with what resources.
As children develop their skills using ICT both inside and outside school with innovations such as the internet, broadband, games consoles, Wiis, Nintendo DSs, iPods, iPads etc, children could be in the position where they use more technology outside school than in the classroom and perhaps even 'dumb down' as far as their achievements and their understanding of what technology can do. The knowledge, skills and understanding of our children varies greatly depending on their experiences with technology outside school.
In order, to utilise the skills that the children already have, in school we encourage teachers to allow the children to choose when it is appropriate to use technology (and when not). We also suggest teachers don't teach children a set of skills as a whole class but teach skills as and when it's appropriate. Teaching a skill at that point of need is key to children remembering it and using it again. To encourage a more flexible use of computers, we have asked schools to re evaluate traditional ICT suites in favour of having the technology on hand in the classroom as and when they need it.
The use of ICT suites and timetabled lessons can limit student access to IT. The ability of students to make creative use of ICT as and when their learning requires can be inhibited if ICT is delivered as a standalone subject. One example would be, edit these sentences adding capital letters when necessary using the shift key. It would be better to teach the usage of the shift key at a time when the children are typing letters, addressing envelopes, postcards linked to a geography topic, letters to a pen pal or a thank you note. The skill they need to be taught needn't wait until their timetabled lesson later in the week or term but when they are asking for the answers.
Having the freedom to choose how the children learn under the direction of the teacher and what technology and software they use, enables teachers to support children with different learning styles, personalising learning and addressing multiple intelligences.
Traditionally, ICT has focused on supporting children who's strengths lie in linguistic and logical (math
ematical) intelligences. However, a look at the range of intellegencies children possess, indicates that we are in an ideal position to support learning across all intelligences.
The publication of the Independent Review of The Primary Curriculum (Rose 2009) highlights the role of ICT as “across all areas of learning” rather than it being a separate subject.
In summary, the report states that specific requirements for ICT are rightly linked to each area of learning and ICT should be taught through other subjects applying skills in cross curricular studies. It als
o indicates the need for discrete teaching of specific skills.
We believe there should be two aspects of ICT teaching:
ICT has the potential to transform learning.
Too often schools substitute paper based activities for computer based ones. Which undermines the capacity of technology and is wasteful of resources. A vast range of solutions, information, examples and perspectives can be offered only through the use of ICT (such as looking at geographical features or ancient sites using Google Earth).
Our next task is to move ICT from augmenting to transforming learning.