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Embedding ICT in the curriculum ? debate for BETT

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by bcsquals, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. Hi all

    At the BETT show this year there
    will be lot of focus on embedding ICT across the curriculum, as this is
    something that Michael Gove has strongly hinted as something that will come out
    of the Education White Paper.

    As part of BCS - The Chartered
    Institute for IT, I’ve been tasked with collating as much feedback from teachers
    as possible on what they think about this. How are some schools doing this?
    What challenges does it present? Would it work? etc,

    We’ll then collate all the comments
    made and present some responses at BETT to make sure that voices of ICT teachers
    can be heard (input from computing teachers is also definitely

    We’ll then present the comments at
    the show and allow more input from those attending.

    So, how do people generally feel
    about all this talk of embedding ICT across the curriculum? Are there any
    success stories out there? Or is everyone worried about the lack of ICT skills
    of non-ICT teachers?
  2. Talk about going around in circles. We have all been here before about 10 years ago. Cross curricula ICT rarely works. Subject teachers can't 'do' ICT over and above basic Internet, PowerPoint and Word work. Indeed newer teachers are struggling just to write in sentences and add up simple numbers let alone push ICT forward. Quality regular training is rarely available for teachers, and they certainly cannot be expected to be good at 'ICT' if they use it once or twice a year and then have long periods where they don't, because there aren't the facilities for example. Their main job is to teach their subject, so who will push the bounderies of ICT, the new newer technologies and get kids using them - not your average History teacher, that's for sure.
    Another waste of everyone's time, like APP, OCR Nationals, those utterly stupid and impossible-to-implement controlled assessments and Hollyoaks.
  3. Nobody teaching ICT, that's for sure. It's all minimalist Office skills in pursuit of grades. In fact, ICT is now held in such low regard that it is something that only needs a TA to teach it. In the same way that supply work has become a job for someone with two GCSEs, ICTis now a subject that requires no qualifications at all.
  4. Speak for yourself.
  5. colwynexile

    colwynexile Occasional commenter

    As much as it pains me, I have to agree with most of what Mymouse has said. What would be the reaction of English if we started ICT to teach the little darlings things like proper spelling and grammar that they should be coming to us with anyway. How would they react if we insisted that as part of pursuasive writing the also created a web site that would attract and hold the attention of a teenager using Serif, or god forbid Dreamweaver.
    APP, Grade Ladders, Controlled assessments - all pointless additions design to justify someone else's exisitance check this data. Back to exams and exam practical, good old fashions gold plated stuff (and I always defend Nationals which has its place for those of lesser abilities / exam fears but for only the equivalent of 1 GCSE)
  6. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    If you search this forum for the words cross curricular then you will find a myriad of threads with about a 5% support for the idea and about 95% saying it's a fool's paradise. Bottom line is there is not the global skills base outside of ICT departments at this moment in time to do anything meaningful accross departments, end of.
  7. robot1

    robot1 New commenter

    <font>Cross-curricular ICT on its own didn&rsquo;t work in the past and will not work now. Those people on this forum that put down ICT and ICT teachers should remember that this isn&rsquo;t a debate about what they think about the current ICT curriculum. This is a debate about whether there should be an ICT curriculum at all.
  8. I think robot1's post is spot on and we need to approach this in a different way - that is that ICT can enable learning across the curriculum, but that it needs to be be very much led by ICT teachers and in specific ICT lessons. When looking at using audio software, digital media, creating websites, etc then there is a perfect opportunity to tie it to other curriculum areas.
    This way we are not only giving students good ICT skills, but also allowing them to develop and demonstrate their knowledge in different ways. I work with colleagues to see how we can tie in what they are doing in other lessons - in a lesson on using audio software we did some podcasts as radio plays for Romeo and Juliet where they created their scripts in English and then recorded and edited in the ICT lesson, and I've similar examples with other projects.
    I feel this not only helps to raise the profile of ICT in schools but also helps get it recognised for how important it can be - as well as actually making a valid contribution and variety to the way students can learn.
    It's not about getting other teachers to teach ICT, but to be aware of the opportunities it creates and to use them where possible - this is what I think we should be promoting as an embedded approach.
  9. An entirely cross-curricular approach to ICT is problematic due to (normally) low Staff ICT Capability and technical knowledge; poor Staff ICT pedagogical skill; the ICT learning assuming a secondary position; lack of ownership for assessment; lack of consistency in assessment...... not least, OFSTED don't seem to like it!!!!
    Please contradict me on this last point.
    I'd to would be interested to see some evidence (not anecdotal) that suggests that it could be done or is being done successfully? And in a "normal" school, not a high-flying wizzy academy city technology college.
    The model that works for us here in a "normal" school is the one whereby students recieve discrete ICT teaching and then embed their skills across the curriculum. We don't do great but don't do too bad either.
    And where are these strong hints from Gove that ICT is going cross-curricular, I missed them - please point me in the right direction?
    Good luck with your research on behalf of the BCS. I suggest however that you will find out the following things.....
    How are some schools doing this? With difficulty
    What challenges does it present? Too many to be workable in the long term
    Would it work? No, everyone involved went on long - term sick: discrete ICT lessons now back on the menu!!!
  10. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Michael Gove left compulsory education around 1985, a year after the BBC Micro, and before computers had made any major inroads into KS4, so why would he see the need for specialist ICT in his brave new education system? Isn't he simply trying to rewind to the pre National Curriculum educational provision he experienced at school before it all went 'wrong'?

    Maintaining school computer networks for specialist teaching is costly. Trimming down on computer spending will save money. Will any more debate actually achieve anything?

    I came into ICT in the early 80s from a non-specialist background via re-training. I have been teaching ICT in various forms in KS3 and 4 ever since. I have always helped to train staff from other subjects to boost their ICT skills and have supported and encouraged them in other ways. I have designed and run ICT courses for students that have benefited their work in other subjects, and have been doing so for over 25 years.

    Not once in that time have I seen any evidence to suggest that advanced ICT skills can be effectively or consistently picked up by students through their work in other subjects. I have however seen other subjects blundering through ICT use, taking appalling shortcuts, and paying little attention to the quality of outcome. Most non specialist staff appear to be in permanent awe of the colour printer - anything emerging from its sacred orifice is treated like manna from Heaven, divinely inspired and beyond reproach or criticism. "Look! They did it on a COMPUTER! That's got to tick some OFSTED boxes surely". Pity a lot of it is pure **** that an ICT teacher would have pointed out very early in the process.

    If Mr Gove wants to produce a generation of very limited students who rarely extend their ICT use beyond Word, Powerpoint, and the odd Excel Graphing exercise, cross curricular ICT will suit him just fine. Sadly, all the quality stuff and advanced ICT use will die on its **** as a consequence.
  11. BrianUK

    BrianUK New commenter

    An excellent and well informed response magic. You need only look a few posts down in this very forum where we find an Art teacher expected to deliver GCSE ICT and clearly incapable (through no fault of his/her own) of teaching basic data handling.
    Certainly there are aspects of ICT that cross naturally into other subject areas - as one would expect it to e.g. Art, Graphic Design, Mathematics to name but a few. But certainly at KS4 and KS5 you will find very few teachers devoting any classroom time to delivering IT skills that up until now the pupils have been taught in ICT lessons. Results matter FAR more.
    I personally would like to see the shift to computational teaching getting some REAL momentum in the near future where I see it sitting in the mix alongside professional industry standard awards in IT. Very much like it already is in some specialist schools.
    I cannot see a future where ICT skills of any real value can be taught by those with little expertise or experience. That is, of course, all you want are Powerpoint experts. How sad.
  12. There's the idealism and the reality. The reality is MS Office skills at a very low level and a key stage 4 curriculum designed to boost the A*toC results. The problem is that Gove sees the reality and probably realises that most of it can be delivered by a TA at much reduced cost, having seen the example in a growing number of schools.
  13. As an ICT teacher who began my training using computers in 1980! Building my ZX80 led me into the world of ICT . . . . . ., but enough nostalgia. I am a late starter in terms of teaching ICT to KS3 and KS4 pupils with only 6+ years I would welcome any TA to try and teach the elements of ICT we regularly use. Industry standard programs - Macromedia, Adobe, Office (of course), are the usual fare with a smattering of Multimedia interactive movie making sound producing blog writing photo-editing control sensing live data modelling . . . . pause for breath . . . . In answer to your statement : Me and others like me who believe that everyone should have the opportunity to use ICT that works for them in their subject, yes even History.
  14. I'm doing it right now thanks and it's well within the capacity of anyone who can read and do basic arithmetic.
  15. If embedding means applying already gained IT skills in other subjects then I'm all for it. If it means IT being taught by non-IT staff then I've seen enough of that in a prior employ, it just doesn't work. There are too many hobbyists in the job as it is without timetabling staff short of their contractual hours as a filler. My last post was in an FE college where 'embedding' key skills (IT, numeracy & comms) in the curriculum was nothing more than that and often done by agency staff on &pound;15 an hour and always timetabled last.
    So what do I propose?
    Years 7 - 9 teach IT skills, a variation on CLAIT/ECDL if we must or perhaps a vendor qual to give them the basics and a certificate to say so. At GCSE they can apply (OK embed) the gained skills in the subject areas and even select more specialist IT/ICT/Computing subjects at GCSE and A Level.
    For those not attaining the basic qual, I would not have a problem with a national-like (but more practical and interesting) vocational IT course but no mention of what it could be equivalent to please - a level 1 or level 2 course in IT is what it is on its own merits.
  16. Embedded IT?
    1) It was attempted before in the 90s and early 00s. It didn't work then and it won't work now.
    2) There are still many people about with the title 'ICT Coordinator'. Their cross-curricular brief has all but disappeared in most schools and been replaced with 'teaching' ICT.
    3) Subject teachers just don't have the time to keep skills up-to-date, experiment with new software, even if they have the ability.
    4) Schools rarely give teachers a half day of ICT training a year, and that is usually given by some LEA advisor or on 'Child safety' or Health and safety issues. Subject teachers would need two or three weeks a year of quality training (i.e. not by LEA people) to be able to do this, and it won't come cheap if it is to be done properly.
    5) Cross-curricula ICT will inevitably have targets, needing meetings between lots of different subject teachers, bench-marking, coordinating and so on. This was a nightmare in the 90s. No one has the time to do this. No one has any incentive to do this. There are too many other meetings and targets to meet yet another 'bolt-on' target.
    6) What is ICT? It now covers so many things. There were over 30 different ICT qualifications at the last count. The subject has completely lost its focus and meaning. Employers, universities, students and parents don't know what it is and can't compare differentqualifications and different grades. Cross-curricula ICT would simply muddy the waters further.
    7) What should happen, is there should be ONE Functional Skills qualification at different levels, ONE Computing qualification at different levels and then ICT teachers should have the brief to support class teachers in their lessons. IT teachers need to come off timetable, but that is an expensive option, and sooner or later someone will say that they aren't necessary.
    8) And of course, most schools just don't have the ICT facilities to let lots of subject teachers have good, regular access. God knows that I have trouble putting down a piece of software like Flash for 6 months in between teaching units of Flash and then picking it up again, so how will non-specialists cope.
    9) Controlled Assessments have completely ruined access to the computer rooms this year, as many subjects now MUST have access to complete these long, very complex and silly pieces of coursework. Whoever thought up controlled assessments needs to be removed from their job, as they clearly were unable to think through the consequences. When I think of Controlled Assessments, I always imagine that the person who came up with this idea is like that n-ob 'Stu' out of The Apprentice.

  17. Given that key stage 4 ICT courses can be taught by a TA using simplistic materials on the VLE, it seems wasteful to spend a fortune on teachers to do it.
    There are several schools doing ICT successfully cross curricular including one in the top 100. I applied for their ICT co-ordinator job a few years ago but they specifically didn't want an ICT teacher.
  18. " I " ......
    This thread is about embedded ICT. Who cares about you talking about yourself and what jobs you have and haven't applied for? Do you really think someone who is clearly TA material and who I am sure is working at the right level for their ability will even get a look-in leading an IT department? And you need to be able to work in a team, like the reindeers pulling santa's sleigh.
  19. s'il vous pla&icirc;t gar&ccedil;on.
  20. ...and of course, the typical ICT teacher is like mymouse, a thoroughly nasty piece of work and thick with it. It's no surprise that schools want to replace them with TAs, who probably do a much better job.

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