The first draft of the new ICT curriculum designed by the British Computer Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering was unveiled on Monday, as the government hopes to improve the teaching of IT in schools.
V3 has compared this draft with the last curriculum, which the government announced it would bin this year for being irrelevant and boring, and has found it shows a significant improvement on the old curriculum.
The draft curriculum for five-16 year olds (Key Stages 1-4) is up-to-date with present day technology and terms, and is much broader in its focus, with more attention given to computer science disciplines, digital media, the web and e-safety.
This compares favourably to the old curriculum which was heavily focused on teaching students how to present and use information, which led to lessons being heavily reliant of Microsoft Office applications.
Key Stage 1
In Key Stage 1, the old curriculum said pupils should be taught how to gather and store information in different forms, retrieve information, use tables to present information and tools to select information.
The draft of the new curriculum at Key Stage 1 still mentions the need for pupils to store and retrieve information, and present information digitally, but then demands that pupils also learn a host of other, more interesting skills.
Pupils should be taught how to use software on ‘a range of devices' and evaluate ‘digital media' in a range of formats, says the new draft curriculum. The multiple device world we now live in, and reference to the now common term digital media were both clearly absent from the old ICT curriculum.
The new draft curriculum also outlines the need for pupils to understand what algorithms are from an early age. This is needed at Key Stage 1 for pupils to start writing simple programmes, it says.
Furthermore at Key Stage 1 pupils should be taught how to use the web as a tool for learning, and be given an understanding of e-safety.
Key Stage 2
At Key Stage 2 in the old ICT curriculum pupils were required to continue learning how to present information. The advancement was that pupils would, at this older age, learn the beginnings of multimedia and how to identify patterns using spreadsheets.
Also at this key stage pupils were given an understanding of the different ways information can be gathered (eg the difference in collecting data from class surveys and online surveys), and were taught how to explore a variety of ICT tools like graphics software.
In comparison, the draft of the new ICT curriculum at Key Stage 2 sets much higher expectations.
At Key Stage 2, students are expected to be able to present information in different formats but also have an understanding of ‘design principles'.
Pupils will need to be able to use a variety of software on a range of electronic devices, understand search engines, use algorithms to solves problems, and write programmes.
Also at this stage, pupils should be taught their responsibilities online, like the need to respect intellectual property, secure themselves, and the ethical impact of technology.
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