What a sad obsessive, ICT fan I was, snapping away with my camera during the seminars. I couldn’t help it! I was excited by the content delivered inthese guys presentations!
The two presentations I attended were Russel Ingleby’s: ’Where Next for ICT in the Primary School? ‘ and the keynote: “Accelerating Innovation in Learning and Teaching” by Dan Buckley. I thought both were excellent and I took a lot from their talks. However I will only bore you with some of the messages from Russel’s ‘Primary ICT’ talk.
Key messages and moans:
- The last 10 years has seen a raft of innovations, developments and government initiatives in primary ICT. These are: NGFL , ELCs, IWBs pupil computer ratios Hands on Support, Tech support, NOF and QCA. Some of these have been very helpful, while others. well you decide. Russel asked us had it all been worthwhile. I’d argue that some of those initiative had been worthwhile, while others like QCA and ELCs have left a legacy of low expectations (QCA) and buckling shelves of software (ELCs)
- Following all these changes we are now at a plateu and its time to ask where next?
- Before you read fervantly on to find out the answer to number 2, I might just add that we didn’t arrive at an answer.
- Some startling data from BESA (association of Educational Suppliers)
- Spending on ICT continues to grow 2001 the average per school was 7,000 (approx), rising to 13,000 (approx) in 2005
- The average number of desktops in a primary in 2002 was 17.2 while in 2005 it was 29.2 while laptops have grown from 2.2 in 2002 to 12-6 in 2005.
Yet despite these increases in provision and spending and this is where Russel and others got angry-the level of teacher competence and confidence in ICT has been decreasing
2001 - 61.7% 2002 - 68.4% 2003 - 74.8% 2004 - 70% 2005 - 68.8%
This is surely a disgrace and one that would never be allowed in Numeracy or Literacy.
Yes we all love these and would not be parted from them but there are some uncomfortable questions. A school could spend £24,000 on 8 boards. This includes the hardware, the electricals, the blinds! and the fitting. Though this means we get a fantastic learning resource , think how else that £24,000 could have been spent:
- Another member of staff
- Updating Library
- Cover for PPA
I found this part slightly uncomfortable but it does resonate with me somewhat. It's typical of the way we all behave- rushing out to upgrade and kit out our school, when actually many of our teachers need to be upgraded. I don’t mean in a cyberman way – I (and Russel) are talking about quality CPD . A departure from the hilarious (not) attitude of ‘ oh the kids taught the lesson, because I didn’t know what I was doing’. While generally on many occasions children will out do us with their ICT knowledge and skill, at the same time we do need to aspire to know our subject and strike to keep up. Imagine a maths lesson where the pupils knew more about the topic! And taught the teacher.
- The role of the ICT Co-ordinator is very difficult and should come with a health warning. I wont expand on this as Russel said nothing new, though his stores of pupils bursting into lesson to demand the ICT co-ordinator change a cartridge are all too real.
- Where now?
The Becta review showed up the critical variation of teacher skill both inside and between schools. You’ll have a great year of ICT this year as you’ve got Mr Davies. While the parallel class wont have quite the same entitlement as they have Miss Rees and well she isn’t very keen on computers. As Russel pointed out kids get one stab at this! Perhaps the answer to this falling level of competence and variation is a new 2006 NOF training. It is after all easy to sit and teacher bash, but teachers need quality CPD to give quality ICT lessons. For those of you who don’t know what NOF was, it was a large 6-8 week inset programme that every school received. It had its good points and helped teachers to reflect upon when and how to use ICT. Yet we received it at a time of limited hardware and software. Whereas today many of our schools are very well resourced.
- We were then asked to think about 2016 – but time had run out. A few people called out that in
2016 ICT would be portable and ther’d be VLES. Hardly visionary!
- I hung around and talked to Russel about planning and schemes of work. He described how right across the country its 10:30 – ICT spreadsheets unit 5B and that’s what kids are getting.
Earlier in his presentation he showed some very John D’Abbro style video’s his kids had made, emphasising the creative aspect of ICT we often omit. His response to my concerns over QCA dipendona was that teachers did not move beyond these documents as they provided security. Very true but surely we need to help them move beyond these securities. As one primary consultant I am limited, we need to enlist other Leading teachers, subject leaders,Networks I am order to raise the profile, expectations and creativity in primary ICT.