The personal learning network for educators
Having just read the Guardian article on the demise of BECTA and the preceived opportunities that this brings I feel compelled to correct some miscomprehensions.
Whenever, there is a wrong which needs righting, and let's face it, there is much about ICT learning which is wrong, we always tend to look for a one hit magic bullet. Today it is the demise of BECTA which will ensure that standards rise.
Interestingly the article talks predominantly about secondary ICT teaching and herein lies the problem.
Secondary school ICT teaching is led and determined by the need to measure progress in tests. Therefore we dumb down the curriculum to ensure that what the Government needs to have tested is easily tested. The ultimate I guess is to test how well a child uses a software package. Oh, hang on, that's what we do!!!
How on earth do you then test creativity, imagination and innovation? Ultimately you can't, but that shouldn't stop us striving to create the environment that allows these qualities to thrive. This isn't the fault of secndary education as schools respond to the system of accountability and how they are judged.
On the other hand primary schools don't have testing requirements for ICT which means that creativity, imagination and innovation flourish and thrive and children create things that are beyond their wildest dreams. When we were recently assessed for the BECTA Quality Mark for ICT, one of my Year 6 children said that he comes to school because he loves ICT and because this is a feature of his learning across the curriculum. He can create stuff beyond the restrictions of the National Curriculum because we encourage children to think outside the box.
In two weeks time he will move into a system which is stifled by Government interference, testing and an obsession with measuring which creates children ready for the demands of the Industrial revolution. How on earth is he going to cope with the loss of his ability to be creative, to be innovative and the imagine his own solutions when he is shoe horned into a Microsoft Office production line?
So, instead of looking around for easy targets like BECTA, let's make the tough decisions for our kids that they deserve and change the system.
Industry bemoans the lack of creativity and innovation in school leavers and this is because we assess in ICT at KS3 to products which have limited creative use. Tests merely compound this situation in forcing schools to dance to the testing tune of the DfE. Essentially we do what we've always done and get what we've always had, and we're surprised! In the meantime the DCSF/ DfE look for scapegoats to blame. Teachers usually get the blame, schools generally and now BECTA but ultimately it is the system which DfE have created which is wrong.
Do the DfE want schools to deliver creativity and innovation? If so they have to withdraw their obsession with old fashioned tests and find new ways to measure innovation and creativity. Where there's a will there's a way but is there a will?
Schools want to go down this route to make improvements to ICT learning but DfE have to be on board.
In the meantime we do what we've always done and get what we've always had, politicians are surprised, blame easy targets and round we go again.
We are at a pivotal moment and every year wasted impacts on thousands of children's life chances.
DfE it's time to grasp the nettle!