CXO

Schools IT: Tech is everywhere so why is it missing from lessons?

Technology needs to be embedded into lessons,and not just in IT classes

Technologies and platforms need to be embedded into lessons where they are crucial to a future career in that subject, says Open University director Kevin Streater.

The Royal Society report released on Friday is expected to make several recommendations about the way IT is taught and used in schools.

Some will be hoping for a clear signal that computer science should be reintroduced as a discipline and that the days of teaching office skills to pupils are numbered. Both those points are valid but bigger challenges remain - along with even bigger rewards for getting IT in schools right.

The direction of travel in education suggests that ICT, the national curriculum subject, might be replaced with a statutory requirement for digital literacy to be a part of the curriculum for five- to 19-year-olds. This approach will explain to pupils how to live life as a digital citizen and introduce concepts such as e-safety.

If pupils are exposed to the way technology is used in the workplace, they will find it easier to succeed in higher education and careers

If pupils are exposed to the way technology is used in the workplace, they will find it easier to succeed in higher education and careersPhoto: Shutterstock

At the same time it's crucial that specific technologies and platforms are embedded into lessons where they are most relevant and crucial to a future career in that subject.

For example, Google Earth should be used in geography, records-indexing in history, data processing in biology and analysis software in maths.

If pupils are exposed to the way technology is used in the workplace, they will find it easier to succeed in higher education and careers where it is an essential part of the process.

There is no doubt that teachers are the experts in education and the IT industry should not be telling them how to do their job.

But the IT industry has a very important role to play in helping provide teachers with the tools they need to create better lessons and inspire their pupils.

The Open University's Vital programme addresses these issues by providing professional development for educators and a source of online materials that has over 7,200 registered users.

This programme works with IT skills sector council e-skills UK, the BCS Computing at School group and a host of industry names to...

About Kevin Streater

Kevin Streater is executive director, employer engagement for the IT and telecoms industry at the Open University.

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