Education Secretary Michael Gove has described the current ICT syllabus in UK schools as “uninspiring” and “dull” ahead of a planned overhaul of the ICT curriculum this September.
His revised vision for the curriculum would mean that “instead of children being taught how to use word or excel, we could have 11-year-olds able to write their own simple programming” within UK schools.
The Department for Education’s consultation paper on the new curriculum argued that “existing Programmes of Study and Attainment Targets for ICT were no longer fit for purpose” and called for a “the opportunity to develop and deliver more ambitious ICT provision, including computer science” in schools.
School children in Leeds have already had the opportunity to get a taste for computer programming thanks to the introduction of a simple computer called the Raspberry Pi.
Dr Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi founder and trustee, commented:
“I am really pleased today to have taken these youngsters through how simple it is to use the Raspberry Pi and I can only hope that they will get hooked on it and become the programmers of tomorrow.”
In 2011, Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, stated that he was “flabbergasted” that pupils in the UK routinely used computer software without a working knowledge of the mechanics behind different programmes.
Professor Steve Furber, who chaired a Royal Society report on computing in schools, argued earlier this year that children need to be fully equipped for a world that was continually advancing technologically.
In a report entitled Children and Young People’s Home Use of ICT for Educational Purposes: The Impact on Attainment, written for the Department of Education and Skills, the following benefits of ICT usage were identified:
- There was a statistically significant positive association between pupils’ home use of ICT for educational purposes and improved attainment in mathematics at Years 6 and 9, and a modest but more extensive association with attainment in English and mathematics at Year 11.
- ICT was motivational because it contributed both to making school work more enjoyable and also to pupils’ perceptions of achievement. It may be a route to how to help children concentrate in class.
- The majority of parents believed that computers helped their Year 2 child to learn useful skills and knowledge.