Friday, 4 September 2015

Hattie Politics of Distraction and of Collaborative Expertise

These are two Pearson ‘Open Ideas’ pieces that could well have been published as one paper because the second makes less good sense unless read after the first.

Full marks to Pearson for publishing these as they aren’t entirely supportive of Pearson’s commercial interests. Just goes to show that there is always dialectic in organisations even within seeming monoliths.

In the first Hattie attempts demolishes some assumptions, developed by governments and commercial interests to underpin a distinct approach to educational policy.

His first point is that “too much discussion is focused on between-school differences when the greatest issue is the differences within schools”. He quotes this evidence that “the variance between schools, based on the 2009 PISA results for reading across all OECD countries, is 36 per cent, and variance within schools is 64 per cent”. The evidence doesn’t utterly convince me. I need to know what exactly the in-school variance is measuring. If it is the difference between the highest and lowest achieving students in the school then that isn’t necessarily (or even probably) teacher variance. If it is the difference in outcomes for different teachers within the schools then possibly that’s a variance in teacher effectiveness. A raw score comparison between a teacher with two bottom sets and one with middle and top sets doesn’t prove a difference in the quality of their teaching. This may merely be the variance in student ability. The more you consider this the harder it is to imagine analyses that convincingly demonstrate variances in the effectiveness of teachers. The fact that PISA is the source reinforces that view. As far as I know (and someone correct me if I am wrong) but PISA doesn’t record who taught the individual students taking its tests. Measuring teacher effectiveness is a very difficult problem that a great deal of research money has been thrown at, but sifting through, for example Shanker Foundation criticisms of the Gates Foundation work on teacher effectiveness it becomes obvious that there isn’t yet a reliable way to do this.

I am much more persuaded by his other policy shibboleths. The standards assertion is this; schools have low expectations so when government sets higher levels of required achievement it will lift outcomes. But as Hattie points out “in any education system with standards that are set ‘just above the average’, it is highly unlikely that all students will gain the standard, as it is not possible for all students to be ‘above the average’”. He is hard to disagree with when he states that the goal “should not be to get 100 per cent of students above the standard (unless the standards are set very low), although this is what the current politics demands of our schools”. The argument politicians deploy against this is usually emotional and not intellectual; i.e. “giving up on disadvantaged”, “tyranny of low expectations”. There could also be an argument that this approach gradually pushes up the average over time, but there are very real costs in student self-confidence and teacher morale.

Hattie also attacks policy based on narrowing gaps. He says “this is a problem, but the solution is related more to getting all students to improve – especially those just below and just above the average – and not being overly obsessed with those at the bottom”. He is concerned that a focus on the bottom end of the distribution can reinforce stereotypes by associating certain ethnic or social groups with the “tail”. All ethnic and social groups contain a spread of attainment and policy that supports the upper end can help provide role models and a more positive story about that group.

I found myself nodding in agreement at his dismissal of “flatlining”. “The notion of flatlining places too much emphasis on rankings and not enough on performance, which can be misleading, particularly when the number of countries participating in assessments such as PISA and TIMSS increases.” It is difficult not to see our own government’s use of this argument as a deliberate misleading of the public, especially when the OECD has cautioned against drawing conclusions about changing performance over time where rank places go down.

Hattie is clear that he sees no evidence for a wide range of solutions that are very popular. He states that school choice is a distraction. “Why do we provide choice at the school level when this matters far less than the choice of teacher within a school?” He is absolutely right when he states that all the evidence is that private schooling is no better than state. He is also right that class size reduction isn’t strongly indicated by the evidence as an effective strategy for school improvement. Similar beatings are visited upon curriculum change, knowledge based learning (“deep learning, or twenty-first-century skills … is a false dichotomy”), testing, new building programmes, new types of schools, transformational leaders (an approach business is also finding it hard to be weaned off). His criticism of school forms as a means to educational improvement is worth reading, especially as it is so much promoted in our country. He finds no long term impact, for example charter schools effect size “across three meta-analyses based on 246 studies is a minuscule .07”. Hattie agrees with evidence from the world of business that performance pay undermines collegiality and intrinsic motivation. As he says “the effects can be the opposite to those desired: teachers in performance-pay systems tend to work fewer hours per week and are involved in fewer unpaid cooperative activities”.

After this brutal assault on these highly favoured approaches to school development it isn’t surprising that in the second paper “What Works Best in Education: The Politics of Collaborative Expertise” he argues for a different solution. He proposes teacher professionalism, a ‘practice of teaching’ so “that there is a difference between experienced teachers and expert teachers; and that some practices have a higher probability of being successful than others”. He says “the greatest influence on student progression in learning is having highly expert, inspired and passionate teachers and school leaders working together to maximise the effect of their teaching on all students in their care”. Of course this is only to better define the problem, how to get to this Promised Land is the question. He answers that by setting out a list of tasks to get us there.

Task one is “the need to reframe the narrative away from standards and achievement and to move it towards progression”. He wants an aspiration that every child should make a year’s progress every twelve months. His second task is to define what that means, to “secure agreement about what a year’s progress looks like”. He cites New Zealand where “it is possible to go into any secondary school … and there is confidence in the comparability of how teachers evaluate challenge and progress”. This task requires teachers to undertake “a robust discussion about progression based on the teachers’ judgements of growth”.

He proposes that teachers should expect this level of progress. He states that his research shows that “the greatest influence on learning is the expectations of the students and the teachers”. Hattie argues that new assessment tools are required. He thinks that as well as measures of knowledge we also need measures of learning capability, “such as the extent to which students can engage in collaborative problem-solving, deliberate practice, interleaved and distributed practice, elaboration strategies, planning and monitoring, effort management and self-talk, rehearsal and organisation, evaluation and elaboration and the various motivational strategies – the ‘how to’ aspects of learning”.

These tools will make it possible for school leaders to involve staff and students in developing a clear understanding of the impact they are making. “Leaders need to create a trusting environment where staff can debate the effect they have and use the information to devise future innovations.” Hattie doesn’t say so but this kind of culture isn’t nurtured in a situation where teachers feel vulnerable. Grading teachers as ‘outstanding’, ‘good’ or ‘requiring improvement’ alongside performance related pay is antithetical to Hattie’s vision. Driving on even greater progress for students means teachers must be experts at ‘Diagnosis’, ‘Interventions’ and ‘Evaluation’.

“To be expert at diagnosis requires understanding what each student brings to the lesson, their motivations and their willingness to engage. To be expert at interventions requires having multiple interventions so that if one does not work with the student, the teacher changes to another. It also involves knowing the interventions that have a high probability of success, knowing when to switch from one to another and not using ‘blame’ language to explain why a student is not learning. To be expert at evaluation requires knowing the skills of evaluating, having multiple methods and working collaboratively and debating with colleagues to agree on the magnitude of the effect needed for an intervention to be successful.”

Hattie’s policy proposals are compelling. In the UK we seem to spend a great deal of time celebrating schools attended by affluent students. Parents with an interest in education compete to get their children into schools seen as successful and thereby facilitate even better results and more competition for entry. Teachers, Leaders and Government don’t know where excellent work is being done because all of this choosing and examining prevents a clear view of those teachers who do better in getting students to make good progress.

The titles of these papers raised an expectation that intrigued me and ultimately frustrated me. The first paper touches a little on the politics of school improvement, but the second doesn’t at all. Politics is about power, how it is exercised and the interests of different groups struggling for power. Hattie isn’t talking about politics in that sense. He is talking about different policy options. The analysis of whose interests are served by the distraction he describes needs to be done, because that would reveal much more about the politics of education than Hattie’s two papers do.

Stephen Heppell and Big Data

Stephen Heppell – “This is not scary, this is exciting!”
This is a short paper full of big ideas about Big Data. It is a frustrating read in many cases because (surprisingly for an academic) there is no evidence for most of the assertions.
The paper can be found here
There are some propositions I am happy to go along with, for example “it is disappointing that our measures of effectiveness, and our management data are both so poor in 2015. As a result, a lot of what we do in schools is simply convenient rather than optimal.” But the observations that follow from this seem poorly informed.  “An athlete in any sport would have a precise understanding of their nutritional requirement and the impact of various meal options on their performance”. I’m no sports nutritionist but “an athlete in any sport”? There isn’t a precise understanding of what foods make for strong performances in all sports. Cycling is the one sport I know well and here many individual elite performers often have strong historical data to help them determine what might be better foods to consume. But that often means they stick to foods that have worked well in the past. If they have never eaten kale and borlotti bean stew ahead of a day of racing they wouldn’t know how it might impact on their performance. A gifted amateur athlete outside a development programme won’t even have anything like that data. They would just have generic guidance to rely on.
This is also pretty obviously facile “as part of a research project, we asked students for indicators that their learning on a particular day was exceptional; one said “that would be how fast I eat my dinner” because he knew that on a really good learning day he would eat fast to get back to work!” What is the significance of this? The student’s own view of what is significant data doesn’t offer any help for the analyst of a data set from a wide range of different individuals. There may be many possible reasons why a student eats quickly. Where lessons are timetabled and they start at precise times there would be no reason to consume a meal speedily. Also “If a school declares that Wednesday will be a Discovery Day, a day of immersion and of project based, mixed age work, and on that day the children come to school faster and stay longer, we would have learned something important about engagement.” Would we really? Correlation isn’t the same as causation, what if that was a very wet and cold day?
In other places it’s unnecessarily opaque. For example what does this sentence mean? “Knowing that in office environments a minimum lux level for conversations would be around 250 lux, whilst for close work like typing and writing it would be above 450 lux we started exploring.” Presumably a ‘lux’ is a measure of ambient light? I don’t think the use of the term or the numbers add anything to the argument. Much simpler to say that research from Offices shows that most school exam rooms do not have an optimal level of ambient light. Stephen Heppell has been a proponent of new builds as a tool for educational improvement so it’s not a surprise that he finds deficits in buildings. These are important and shouldn’t be discounted. Levels of CO2, ambient light and noise must make a difference. The problem is that he doesn’t quantify that difference. Without quantification it’s possible that a school could spend a great deal of money to achieve only marginal gains. Knowing that a factor has a positive or negative impact on learning is just the start of a process of decision making. Suggesting that schools act quickly whenever they find one possible source of poor outcomes isn’t helpful. A phone company may find that consumers say they would prefer a titanium model, but if the extra 20% cost of the material only increases sales by 3% and reduces margins, then it’s probably not a good investment.
All of this is frustrating because the overarching suggestions make excellent sense. It is a shame that they have been padded out with examples and ideas that seem half-baked. The big problems for Big Data in schools aren’t examined at all and that is a serious weakness. There is nothing about ownership of data and how schools have to manage the increasingly rich datasets they hold. A more level headed analysis might allow that individual schools won’t be tackling Big Data in the commercial sense, at least not in the medium term. Businesses like Amazon and Google (where Big Data is a reality) have datasets with trillions of data points. Even if a school were to retain ten pieces of data on every school meal eaten in a year that would only add up to a couple of million data points for an average secondary. Even more problematic is linking that to attainment, progress and other data. It is worth pointing out that no UK state school is at all likely to be in any kind of position to achieve this in the next five years. Schools are at the start of their data analysis journey and their data is relatively small. Stephen Heppell makes the exploration of the potential of data analysis less rather than more likely by portraying highly ambitious aspirations as relatively close at hand.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Authentic Learning for the Digital Generation by Angela McFarlane

Angela MacFarlane covers a wide territory in this book, both chronologically and thematically. She draws upon research from the early 1990s through to the present and finds value in all of these. She looks at an extensive breadth of educational technology themes, from esafety to data representation. The journey swoops in to look in detail at some of these themes but with others takes a much higher level view of the landscape. For example she describes the intricacies of how teachers need to be most careful in developing activities that involve the representation of data and yet describes broad issues around user-generated content in learning.
I’m sure I’m not alone in finding the online manufacturing of a debate about skills versus knowledge intensely tedious. McFarlane dispatches these spurious disagreements with aplomb; “Given that it is impossible to work with information in a vacuum, you have to have some content to work with, and content knowledge without the understanding to use it effectively is pretty pointless, the skills vs. knowledge dichotomy breaks down on even cursory examination”.
I like as well her warnings against digital utopianism and very practical insights, for example when looking at the widespread ownership of devices amongst school age learners she cautions that “it is dangerous to assume this physical access equates to deep and meaningful use of these technologies”.

A useful book brimming with wise, experienced and penetrating insights into every one of the themes she examines, it isn’t an argument or a coherent narrative but is worthwhile nevertheless. For example her insistence in many places that it isn’t the technology but how it is used that matters should be at the forefront of the mind of anyone beginning a procurement of technology. There are gaps, for example her chapter on games neglects the highly fruitful new study of gamification. There is one error, Becta was disbanded in 2011 not 2007 as she states. These are minor quibbles, for someone wanting to have a good understanding of key issues relating to technology in education this is great starting point.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Teacher CPD on Computing

We taught the first session of a six evening set of twilights at our centre on Tuesday 14th January to a group of 8 teachers from Doncaster and Sheffield. The session was lively and interesting with lots of ideas about the Computing Programme of Study and the challenges facing teachers.

One of the key issues was a lack of understanding in school leadership about the significance of the change that ICT teachers are facing. In September 2014 they will be faced with the prospect of teaching a different subject to the one they have taught for the last decade. This is unlike the changes to most other subjects where the change is about the content of the programme not the organising principles and ideas. It is a mistake to underestimate the nature of the challenge. As one delegate said - "I didn't become a teacher of ICT because I wanted to teach programming ... I'm hoping that this course will make me excited about the prospect of doing that."

I was pleased that the delegates were able to see how vague and open to interpretation the programme of study at KS3 really is. This was one of the aims of our session - to make it clear how much scope departments do have to construct a KS3 curriculum that fits with their students' aptitudes and interests. It is a very different approach to the old National Strategies philosophy which was to prescribe in detail what needed to be taught and how. Whilst we may not like every change of the last 4 years this move to give teachers greater professional judgement does have its merits.

These are a couple of things the attendees said in our post session survey: "The session provided a great platform for the rest of the course"
"The session was very informative and enjoyable, I feel future sessions will be equally useful and look forward to them."
If you want to attend a future instance of this course look at the dates scheduled here. If you'd like the course run in your location we can do that too - just email ajones (a) sheffieldclc dot net

Friday, 10 January 2014

Secondary Computing

This post is a collection of ideas about Secondary Computing that have arisen from two years of work on these issues with and for schools. In particular I have been heavily involved in the last three months in working with a CAS (Computing at School) Master Teacher and a couple of helpful people at Sheffield University Computer Science Department to create a sequence of six twilight sessions on becoming a teacher of Computing.

The Computing at School organisation has taken a prominent role in supporting the new curriculum. Their site here has a list of events that offer CPD, apart from those directed at helping deliver GCSE Computing the biggest other group of events are ones looking at a particular programming language, for example there is "Python 3 programming for beginners" or "Python in a Nutshell". Numbers of teachers are paying to be taught programming languages of one kind or another. This is a mistake, a very understandable mistake but a mistake. Teachers are very concerned that they will be teaching something they don't know how to do. It isn't clear how a half-day training will enable teachers to become expert Python coders, but even if it did teachers would then face the much more daunting task of teaching this material themselves. Possibly they might reproduce the training they have received and deliver that to the young people in their schools. A careful reading of the Programme of Study indicates that if they were to do so they would be unlikely to cover what is required at KS3. The programming elements of the Programme of Study are daunting to teachers who have no experience of coding, but I believe (based upon my own experience in the classroom) that programming can be taught very well without an expert knowledge of the particular language being used. Most of the key ideas in programming can, and possibly should, be taught away from a computer. I think the first priority for ICT Teachers who want to be able to teach Computing is to understand the demands of the new PoS and the conceptual framework of the subject.

The Programme of Study for KS3 starts with this "A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world". It doesn't seem very sensible to ignore "computational thinking" (CT) if you are trying to develop a scheme of work to teach at KS3. There isn't, unfortunately, an authoritative definition of the term.

Steve Hunt, from the School of Computer Science, University of Hertfordshire discusses what CT means in the latest issue of the CAS newsletter (here).
"Computational thinkers gain the ability to model problems in a manner that makes them amenable to computational solutions. Where others merely see instructions, actions and things, computational thinkers are able to see algorithms, processes and data.""Where 'ordinary' folk make little distinction between what needs to be achieved and how it should be done, the computational thinker is aware of the difference between results, and the processes by which results are obtained, and can see how to decompose problems, and how to use computing to solve them."

It is commonly agreed that CT is a set of thinking skills. The skills that should be included are contested in the academic literature. A review in 2013 by Shuchi Grover and Roy Pea (available here) offered the following summary of the skills involved
  • Abstractions and pattern generalizations (including models and simulations)
  • Systematic processing of information
  • Symbol systems and representations
  • Algorithmic notions of flow of control
  • Structured problem decomposition (modularizing)
  • Iterative, recursive, and parallel thinking
  • Conditional logic
  • Efficiency and performance constraints
  • Debugging and systematic error detection
Whilst this list is comprehensive it isn't terribly helpful to a classroom teacher trying to organise content for students. For example it's very difficult to understand, yet alone teach students, what is meant by "parallel thinking". Anyone reading this who can offer a simple explanation of that idea; would you please add it as a comment?
I think the formulation by Cynthia Selby is much more useful for organising curriculum content. She wrote a paper for the TiCSE Conference 2013, at the University of Kent "Computational Thinking: The Developing Definition" where she offered this formulation: "computational thinking is an activity, often product oriented, associated with, but not limited to, problem solving. It is a cognitive or thought process that reflects the ability to think
  • in abstractions, 
  • in terms of decomposition, 
  • algorithmically, 
  • in terms of evaluation, and 
  • in generalizations.”

Having a set of thinking skills that are revisited explicitly with students as they move through KS3 is a very good thing to do. A meta-analysis by Dehnadi et al. (2009) found one factor that is a strong predictor of success in a programming course: a mental model of programming knowledge. Students with a mental model of programming that they applied consistently to solving computing problems had an 85% pass rate compared to students without a consistent model, who had a 36% pass rate (Dehnadi et al., 2009). (from Subgoal-Labeled Instructional Material Improves Performance and Transfer in Learning to Develop Mobile Applications - Margulieux, Guzdial, Catrambone). John Hattie in Visible Learning offers compelling evidence that meta-cognitive approaches in many contexts have a strong effect on learning.

The criticisms of ICT that were made by the Secretary of State and others in 2011 and following were a caricature. There were many places where ICT was simply taught as "one damn thing after another", but there were places where it was a stimulating and engaging experience for students. Looking at the Computing PoS it looks to me like we may be in danger of replacing one problematic subject with another. Without an organising conceptual framework for the subject Computing could just as easily become a succession of seemingly unrelated topics; python for three weeks then how the CPU works for four more. CT offers a way of providing coherence to the subject. A spiral curriculum where skills are revisited across the key stage would offer students a way of tracking their own development, teachers a way of linking work in differing programming languages and a framework for assessment. For example a problem that students decompose in year 9 may be utterly different from a problem that was tackled in year 7, but the skills of decomposition, abstraction and algorithm design can be directly compared. Students with a view of their own developing mastery of a subject are not only better motivated but also more likely to have a deeper knowledge of the subject.

If you want to learn more about these ideas and other insights my team and I have been developing then sign up to one of the iterations of our 6 session ICT to Computing courses.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Final Computing National Curriculum

I have just been looking at the new document and have summarised the changes to Key Stage 3 in below. I've tried to organise the statements around three headings, Problem Solving and Programming, Hardware, Software and Data and finally Use of ICT as a Tool. I'll leave others to critique this taxonomy, and I can see that it doesn't entirely succeed in capturing all the mandated subject matter. I'd welcome suggestions for a better way to organise the content. But first the overall statement about the subject has changed fairly significantly. The original statement says;

"A high-quality computing education equips pupils to understand and change the world through computational thinking. It develops and requires logical thinking and precision. It combines creativity with rigour: pupils apply underlying principles to understand real-world systems, and to create purposeful and usable artefacts. More broadly, it provides a lens through which to understand both natural and artificial systems, and has substantial links with the teaching of mathematics, science, and design and technology.
At the core of computing is the science and engineering discipline of computer science, in which pupils are taught how digital systems work, how they are designed and programmed, and the fundamental principles of information and computation. Building on this core, computing equips pupils to apply information technology to create products and solutions. A computing education also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world."

The replacement states;

"A high-quality computing education equips pupils to understand and change the world through logical thinking and creativity, including by making links with mathematics, science, and design and technology. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, and how digital systems work. Computing equips pupils to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of media. It also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world."

The opening sentence drops the idea of computational thinking (that reappears later) and instead proposes that the power of the subject arises from "logical thinking and creativity, including by making links with mathematics, science, and design and technology". That means that the rest of that first paragraph is gone. Peter Twining and many others have argued that the computing programme of study was diminished by the de-emphasis of creativity so I would expect that this change will be pleasing to those people. In the second section the phrase "computing equips pupils to apply information technology to create products and solutions" is altered to "equips pupils to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of media".This change also widens the scope of computing by introducing the idea (correctly I would say) that the creation of media artefacts is as much part of the subject as writing code. The statement about digital literacy thankfully remains almost unchanged.

1. Problem Solving and Programming

 Original Statement             Changes Comments
design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systemsUnchanged     
understand at least two key algorithms for each of sorting and searchingThis has been changed to -
"understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking, such as ones for sorting and searching"
Apart from the obvious slight change in the wording so that students should look at more than 2 algorithms, the inclusion of the term "computational thinking" means that although it was removed from the opening statement about the purpose of study it lives on here.
use data structures such as tables or arraysChanged to "make appropriate use of data structures such as lists, tables or arrays"This change is similar to the previous. It widens the possible content and doesn't limit teacher choices.
use Boolean logic and wildcards in search or database queriesThis has been removedInteresting that this has gone. The danger with having a very specific requirement like this and then removing it may create the impression that it positively shouldn't be taught. I am pretty certain that conclusion would be a mistake.
use logical reasoning to evaluate the performance trade-offs of using alternative algorithms to solve the same problem Changed to "use logical reasoning to compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem".I'm glad that the phrase "performance trade-offs" is gone. Utility is a simpler and yet more useful tool for comparing differing algorithms.
understand how computers can monitor and control physical systemsThis has been deletedPerhaps this is now seen as part of Design and Technology. Dropping control from KS3 is a radical step. Perhaps like search queries the removal from the document shouldn't imply a direction not to teach control.
use two or more programming languages, one of which is textual, each used to solve a variety of computational problemsChanged to "use two or more programming languages, at least one of which is textual, to solve a variety of computational problems"Seems a minor alteration. 
understand simple Boolean logic (such as AND, OR and NOT) and its use in determining which parts of a program are executedChanged to "understand simple Boolean logic (such as AND, OR and NOT) and some of its uses in circuits and programming"This is a helpful widening of the content so that Boolean logic isn't confined to coding.
use procedures to write modular programs; for each procedure, be able to explain how it works and how to test itChanged to "design and develop modular programs that use procedures or functions"This looks like the same content but better expressed

2. Hardware, Software and Data

Original Statement             Changes Comments
explain how instructions are stored and executed within a computer systemSimply now states they should understand how    A minor change for logical consistency in the document I think.
understand the hardware and software components that make up networked computer systems, how they interact, and how they affect cost and performanceChanged to "understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems"This has reduced the amount of computer networking that could have been anticipated as part of new school curricula in September 2014. But it hasn't entirely eliminated the need to teach it. The focus seems to be more on internal computer systems.
explain how networks such as the internet workThis is goneLess networking again.
appreciate how search engine results are selected and rankedThis is goneWhy it was first included seems more of a mystery than its removal.
explain how data of various types can be represented and manipulated in the form of binary digits including numbers, text, sounds and pictures, and be able to carry out some such manipulations by handChanged to "understand how data of various types (including text, sounds and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits"It's a relief to me that the statement about "manipulations by hand" has gone, chiefly because I had no idea what that meant. This seems a much clearer statement, so it is a clarification and not a real change.

3. Use of ICT as a Tool

Original Statement             Changes Comments
undertake creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications, preferably across a range of devices, to achieve challenging goals, including collecting and analysing data and meeting the needs of known usersThis is unchanged
create, reuse, revise and repurpose digital information and content with attention to design, intellectual property and audienceChanged to "create, re-use, revise and re-purpose digital artefacts for a given audience, with attention to trustworthiness, design and usability"Correction of typos and changes to the criteria by which stuff will be judged. digital artefacts is a better  term I think than "digital information and content".
There was no e-safety statement at KS3. Widely criticised.New statement added
"understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct and know how to report concerns"
 I for one am pleased that a statement on this topic has been added.

Friday, 21 September 2012

DfE Commits to Producing a New PoS for ICT

If you go to you will see that behind the scenes there has been some activity on the ICT curriculum.
It appears that the hint early this year that ICT specifications may be dropped has been rethought. The webpage states "On the 18th September 2012 the DfE signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) which invites them to coordinate the development of the draft ICT PoS covering all pupils in Key Stages 1 to 4.
The group bringing forward proposals intend to publish the draft curriculum on the website on 1st October they say they "will be keen to get feedback. Block time in your diary to respond because you will only have about one week to do so (all feedback on the first full draft of the ICT PoS has to be in by 12 noon on the 9th October)."
This is very good news for all those who think ICT needs to be a statutory part of the national curriculum. It's also very important to respond to the consultation so that the final proposal represents a wide range of thinking.
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