This, at first glance, is very good news:
In his speech later, Mr Gove will say: “Imagine the dramatic change which could be possible in just a few years, once we remove the roadblock of the existing ICT curriculum.
“Instead of children bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word and Excel by bored teachers, we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations using an MIT tool called Scratch.
“By 16, they could have an understanding of formal logic previously covered only in university courses and be writing their own apps for smartphones.”
Those of us who are able to imagine anything like the above – in relation to the potential of ICT as a driver for future economic worth, intellectual engagement and general societal progress – can only say “Hallelujah!” at this apparent proclamation of educational virtue. My children, all IT-proficient and intelligent users in their own lives, have without exception (and that’s now all three of them who’ve expressed the same opinion) hated ICT with a virulence other subjects have simply not engendered.
My own thoughts, as a moderately tech-savvy parent, are clear: Britain’s education system has been in the thrall of an exclusively proprietorial model of software, hardware and curricular objectives which has meant it is impossible to install – never mind teach – the kind of software that automatically encourages you to get involved with IT in the way Mr Gove appears to wish. I posted this link to a video in 2009 on a European alternative to Microsoft – and it still best inscribes what I believe in this matter.
I do wonder how full an understanding of the matter the man really has, though, when Channel 4 continues its report by underlining what the Department of Education sees as the example to follow:
As examples it cited the British Computing Society and Computing at School which have created a curriculum for secondary schools with support from Microsoft, Google and Cambridge University.
So we’ve arrived at where we’ve arrived by installing expensive hardware and unnecessarily costly software licences – and then whose help do we go and enlist? The very same software publisher which encouraged schools to invest in “boring” Word and Excel in the first place. As Paul Clarke points out on Twitter this morning:
I for one am glad to see Microsoft at the heart of revamped schools ICT. So important to build skills in bloated, inferior, doomed software.
An example of how Mr Gove – out of ignorance – gives with one hand but then takes with the other?