Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3, the old ICT curriculum taught pupils how to obtain the information they needed, use search engines, and how to question the plausibility of information they found.
Pupils were also taught how to use ICT to respond to problems, and predict and discover patterns. They were also taught basics of information sharing, such as video conferencing, web publishing and email.
Meanwhile the draft ICT curriculum is again more advanced in its demands, and requires pupils to be more hands-on in ICT lessons.
Pupils need to be able to use a range of applications on different devices to meet the needs of known users, says the draft. They need to know how to use and design digital content, develop programme solutions to solve computer problems, and understand the hardware components that make up a computer system.
Pupils will also be given an understanding on the implications of technology innovation, such as the effect of e-commerce on the economy.
Key Stage 4
At the final Key Stage 4, when students are required to begin their GCSE studies, the original ICT curriculum laid out the need for pupils to design ICT systems and techniques to suit needs, solve problems and automate events.
However the new draft ICT curriculum only gives light requirements for pupils at Key Stage 4. They should be taught how to manage their online identity, participate in online communities and critically evaluate digital media, it says.
The reason for this light touch is that the BCS and RAEng argue students will be busy with GCSE demands at this point. Those students who choose not to specialise in technology related GCSE qualifications, such as Computer Science, IT or Digital Media, should not be compelled to continue ICT study. Instead the Key Stage 4 requirements should be delivered in a cross-curricula way.
"In the past some schools, obliged by law to provide ICT for all, have provided a token but compulsory ICT course for unwilling students. Such classes have little purpose and drag the entire subject into disrepute," says the BCS on its website.
The BCS and RAeng were instructed to coordinate the draft document with the help of a small working party that included several school teachers, along with representatives from a number of education bodies such as Vital and Naace.
While V3 welcomes the steps forward the group has so obviously made in the published draft document, we still believe there is the need for further input from teachers and members of the IT industry.
V3's Make IT Better campaign calls for the DfE to form the draft ICT curriculum only after holding a wider consultation with the education sector and the IT industry.
A national consultation on the government's curriculum reform is occurring next spring but this is too late if a draft is already underway.
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