V3 has become increasingly concerned that current measures being taken to overhaul the IT curriculum and GCSE syllabus will not lead to young people being taught the technology skills needed by the IT industry.
The V3 Make IT Better campaign, launched in partnership with the Corporate IT Forum, calls on the Department for Education (DfE) to give the ICT curriculum reform process transparency and to include the views of more teachers, education advisers and IT professionals from the start.
As part of this campaign, V3 will publish regular accounts from teachers and IT professionals on what they want to see in the new ICT curriculum. Here we speak to ICT teacher Ilia Avroutine, who works at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe.
Avroutine says he fully backs the government's decision to reform the ICT curriculum, although he calls on the DfE to open up the consultation process on the new draft ICT curriculum immediately.
At the moment, the draft is in the hands of a small working party, led by the BCS and RAEng, and many teachers have not been able to share their views on what content they believe needs to be included.
"The ICT curriculum needs to be reformed, and can't continue in its present form. It is a laughing stock that we would be embarrassed to admit to other nations," begins Avroutine.
Avroutine says he has witnessed first-hand the boredom experienced by pupils in their ICT lessons.
"Instead of doing an ICT project, pupils spend most of their time writing essays about why they did this and that a certain way. Pupils currently come out of ICT with next to no new knowledge, full of stress about writing pages upon pages of repetitive nonsense that's made up at best. It's a waste of everybody's time.
"The ridiculous introduction of controlled assessment was the final nail in the coffin. Now for most of the lesson time, a teacher can't help pupils because they're being assessed. This is defeating the whole purpose of education. When can a teacher help them? After school? But the help we give pupils needs to be declared and used against the marking."
Avroutine says there is a need to look to the future when devising the new ICT curriculum, and think about what skills pupils will need. To inspire pupils, schools should share their achievements on sites like Flickr and YouTube.
"I think every school should have a YouTube account where they can post the best example of ICT work in animation, or a Flickr page for Photoshop editing – this is something a good pupil can boast about to mates and a poor pupil could work towards."
Besides this, Avroutine believes the new ICT curriculum should include a focus on HTML design, animation techniques, video editing and sound editing. "Sound editing as in music technology. This could be making hip hop beats, remixing, or cleaning up noisy mobile phone recordings."
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