Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The future of senior secondary ICT

Published by The Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts
in June 2006 is a document called 'Building Australian ICT Skills - Report of the ICT Skills foresighting working group'

Page 10 of this document is in the 'Key findings and recommendations' section and deals with ICT in Schools.
The Working Group expressed concerns that the quality of ICT teaching in schools, and the outmoded image of ICT work presented, may be deterring students from considering ICT as an option for further study at university/TAFE and as a career choice. This was an issue that also received considerable attention at the partICipaTion Summit.

In particular the Working Group raised concerns about the teaching of ICT as a specialised subject in the later school years. The Working Group considered that the focus should be on teaching fundamental ICT principles, useful as a foundation for further study, rather than on specific programming areas.
It then goes on to make the following recommendation
Recommendation 7
The Working Group recommends that action be taken to review and enhance the teaching of ICT in schools. The working group suggests that:
• government fund detailed research on school ICT teachers to assess the characteristics (e.g. gender, age), qualifications and challenges of ICT secondary and high school teachers; and
• ICT industry bodies and leading ICT vendors work with education agencies and professional bodies to assist and support school ICT teachers and teaching staff in universities and TAFEs.

As a current 'later school years' ICT teacher I have an interest in the implications of the above statement. They say that the focus for my work 'should be on teaching fundamental ICT principles, useful as a foundation for further study, rather than on specific programming areas.' They reckon that schools "may be deterring students from considering ICT as an option for further study' because of 'the quality of ICT teaching in schools, and the outmoded image of ICT work presented'.

At this stage I just want to note this and reflect on it for a while. My gut reaction is that
  • fundamental principles have always been what I was after
  • programming areas is important for accessibility reasons - industry standards are bit like bathing costume seasonal fashions - important but doesn't need to prevent you from taking a dip.
  • it adds weight to Bill Kerr's thinking and work around the advantages of using Squeak in secondary education (and mine in the related Scratch)
  • my ideas for an IT student online community have had significant reinforcement
Final thought
A department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts?
Struggling to see the relationship. Why not stick Immigration in there as well? Or should it be called the Department for bits that we couldn't put anywhere else.

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