Originally uploaded by Mark Brannan
With the official dis-application of the ICT Programme of Study (or PoS – and make what you will of that acronym…) schools have the freedom to teach what they want, how they want.
Some have seen that as a sign that ICT isn’t important and can be, at best farmed out to all of the other subjects, and and at worst just simply dropped without trace. This is, of course, incredibly short-sighted and probably likely to backfire. It’s true that Ofsted are focusing much more on numeracy and literacy, but if you listen to what the DfE are saying, their move to disapply the PoS is nothing to do with ICT not being important – quite the opposite.
People like CAS, BCS, the Royal Society, Microsoft and Google are all telling us, and telling those in power, that ICT isn’t doing everything it should (which is not the same as saying that ICT is no good). And so those in power are giving us an opportunity to do what we want. Not in the way that Mrs. C says “do want you want” when she’s in a strop, but in that positive, empowering way of saying “OK, you show me what you want to do and we’ll see where we go from there”.
In two years there will be a new, officially sanctioned PoS. One that will go beyond *just* using Microsoft Office and Flowol (I know that many people have been doing much more than that for years, but not because of the PoS, and it’s scary how many tales I’ve heard of schools that haven’t gone beyond that). What we do now will influence that PoS, so we need to try things out and push the boundaries a bit. Some stuff will work, some won’t, but that’s a part of education. Right?
Writing a PoS for my department was easy. Really easy It took me about an hour. Why? Well, largely because we’ve always treated the PoS with disdain. We’ve made sure we’ve ticked the right boxes, but we’ve treated it as a pretty low floor and pretty ugh done what we’ve wanted to anyway. Gove says we could have 11 year olds making simple 2D animations in a free program called Scratch? Our Y7s were writing Pong and Breakout clones years ago!
Along with that I’ve written what I have called a medium term plan. Now, don’t tell anyone, but I don’t really know the difference between a SoW and a MTP, but it’s a list of units we might do and how they will fit together to meet my draft PoS.
I think the two documents nicely lead through a 3-stranded curriculum, with digital literacy (using a computer on a day-to-day level) at the core and stretching out through creative skills and computing topics alike. There are a couple of notable omissions, specifically in the form of image and video editing. We do intend to teach those, but as the logistics can be tricky and the outcomes very risky we’ve not included them in the PoS – so there is no stick to beat us with if we fail.
This task is being emulated in lots of other places – check out ictcurric and digitalstudies for just two examples of collaborative SoW, but perhaps this might be a useful pair of documents for others.