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MirandaNet Fellowship Article

Membership List | Publications | Research | Specialist Area List | Braided Learning Ejournal

Computing curriculum consultation 2013: Miranda’s views

Christina Preston

Year of posting: 2013



In the MirandaNet submission to the Department for Education on  the draft of the Computing curriculum members’ advise that, in the final document, the balance between Digital Literacy, Information Technology and Computer Science should not be weighted too much towards coding. MirandaNet Fellows agree that with Scratch and Raspberry Pi computer science can be an exciting activity, however, some children will not find coding absorbing if this is the main or even the only activity available to them.

The MirandaNet membership is also concerned that adequate plans do not yet exist to train existing ICT teachers to code.  The after-school clubs run by volunteers and funded by industry are a worthy attempt to fill the gap – but do not constitute the kind of national programme that the potential multinational employers and computer science departments of universities can have confidence in as a preparation for further study and work.

In fact, much of the discussion about the detail of the new computing curriculum is academic since academies, free schools and private schools do not have to follow the programme. Another challenge for the schools that do opt for the new Computing curriculum as it stands is that these schools will not pass their OFSTED inspections because the new programme is so limited.

What concerns the membership most are two points about the relationship between government and professionals in educational matters. This first  is the lack of respect for the professionalism of organisations like MirandaNet, ITTE and Naace who have been central to the design of the ICT curriculum in  the past and already agree that now is the time to make some radical changes in terms of more computer science in line with global opinion. Yet these organisations were by-passed in the initial curriculum planning. The second concern is about the democratic process behind this consultation: the current Computing draft was changed behind closed doors by members of the BCS, CAS and BAEng after the consultation with other professional bodies and individuals was completed. Debate is a better way of gaining the support of professionals in a democracy than stealth.

For the sake of citizens of the future, governments and educators in a democracy should be working together to gain the best results for schools. We hope will be the future pathway will be true consultation. In particular, the MirandaNet Fellowship would like to offer their expertise in the design of ICT professional development for teachers that will make a difference to children’s achievement.

Read the full report

Other submissions and concerns

Background to the MirandaNet report

Since the announcement of the proposed disapplication of the ICT curriculum by Gove at the BETT12 exhibition the arguments have progressed in MirandaNet about the best way to respond. The final submission considers the balance between Digital Literacy, Information Technology and Computer Science and concludes that there should be an equal balance between the three in order to provide a rounded education. MirandaNetters had significant concerns about the current  lurch towards coding which in concentration would not be the aspect of computing that attracted all students equally.

A repository of different perspectives follows below

The Westminster papers

The Westminster Forum on 28th February showed the breadth of our vision as a membership. Christina Preston presented the questions that were presented on MirandaLink that was also the material for an article: thanks to the insights from James Abela, Dai Barnes, Miles Bery, Carol Humphreys, David Fuller, Maria Kingham, Claire Johnson, Eric Knutsen, Marilyn Leask, Dominic Lukes, José Ramos, Geoff Scott Baker, Neil Stanley, Alan Stevens and Sarah Younie. Read more…

Rachel Jones, a MirandaNet Ambassador, gave the industry perspective from her Steljes standpoint.

Professor Carsten Trinitis, a Senior Fellow, Professor of Computer Science at Munich and Bedfordshire, looked at the plans from an English and German perspective.

Other contributions from members

Miranda’s ICT curriculum, the first draft developed at the Bedford conference in November, from the co-ordinators of MirandaNet contributions to the ICT curriculum consultation: Christina Preston, MirandaNet; Ian Lynch, GEBOL; Theo Kuechel, MirandaNet; Andrea Forbes, Texas Instruments; and, Iris Lanny, Oracle. Read more…

Other collaborative contributions have been building up as well:

ICT or ‘Computing’? Dr Noeline Wright, Waikato University, NZ, offers an outside perspective on the British educational current issues landscape suggesting that education is a political football in the UK.  Read more…

Can schools throw out their computers now that the ICT Curriculum is being threatened with disapplication? Comments from MirandaLink on the proposed disapplication of the ICT curriculum. Read more…

Changes to the ICT Curriculum. Some of Miranda’s first thoughts on this subject Read more…

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