Rethinking ICT – what comes next?

After much build up and eager anticipation it was finally time for the Rethinking ICT conference being hosted by Chris Leach ‏(@chrisleach78). It was introduced as an opportunity for people to get together to discuss, plan and work towards a new ICT curriculum. This is a huge feat to work towards but the atmosphere was buzzing with lots of ideas.

The day began with a series of talks; these were interesting with lots of ideas to get us thinking about the possibilities but the majority of the magic happened in the afternoon. The afternoon session was full of ‘break out’ rooms which meant you could choose what discussions you began. I started off in the Digital Leader room as I am interested in getting these underway in September (see my Digital Leader blog post here: http://swaygrantham.co.uk/?p=121). Here I had some interesting interactions with people looking at setting up their own leaders as well as those with them underway. Next, I went across to the ‘Assessment’ room which was discussing the use of badges as a mode of assessment similar to achievements you earn in games.

I found this room really interesting as this is an idea I had considered for a long time. To be able to differentiate lesson effectively we need to know where the children are currently so we can take them to the next steps, they also need to know how to take themselves to the next step. For each area of the curriculum there could be a set of awards, these could be ‘bronze’, ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ and if a child thought they had achieved the criteria for one of these badges they could demo it and then submit it, if the teacher agreed they would be awarded a virtual badge. This is obviously a vast amount of work as for each area of the curriculum the different stages would need to be established. At the moment it is not a priority for me to implement a new assessment criteria but this is something I will be planning for the children, I hope that the children will be able to be involved in its planning.

Finally at the event Ian Addison (@IanAddison) share his new curriculum planning; you can view it on http://www.ictplanning.co.uk. What I like about this curriculum design is how he has broken the curriculum down into different areas relevant to the technologies we currently have. He has the following strands:

  1. Animation and Video (stop-frame, pivot stick figure, movie maker)
  2. Art and Image Editing (drawing pictures, combining images, editing photos)
  3. Communicating and Working Online (email and website design)
  4. Programming and Game Design (Scratch, Kodu, Bee-bots, Pro-bots)
  5. Digital Publishing (word processing, creating ebooks, typing and word clouds)
  6. ICT in Maths (spreadsheets, forms, databases)
  7. Modelling and Simulations (creating 3D objects, running ‘what ifs’)
  8. Presentations (powerpoint, prezi, pen and paper, collaborating through GoogleDocs)
  9. Research (searching online, presenting research, using mapping tools)
  10. Sound and Music (composition as well as editing)
  11. Digital Society (basic file management skills, social networking, copyright, esafety)

I feel that this is an incredibly clear way to break down the curriculum and it shows the variety of experiences a child needs in this modern age of ICT. For now I am going to begin by aiming for the children to experience a least one aspect of each of these 11 areas and build up from there.

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