Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ICT in the Australian Curriculum

For some time now educrats at ACARA have been working on a new Australian Curriculum.

English, Maths, Science and History were covered in Phase 1 and are pretty much done and dusted. Phase 2 is now underway looking deeply at Languages, Geography and The Arts. Phase 3 is set to cover design and technology, health and physical education, ICT, economics, business and civics and citizenship.

ICT competence is listed as a general capability along with literacy and numeracy. Let's be clear, this is a Good Thing. But is it enough?

Should ICT be a distinct learning area? Should it be included with Design and Technology under the general heading 'Technologies'? That's what seems to be under consideration at the moment.

The Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACCE) has just released a position paper and is seeking comments on their website.

What do you think?

I think ICT is more like maths, arts and science than woodwork, cooking, jewellery making and textiles.

I do see a facet of the old 'trades' in ICT - there are profoundly technical hands-on elements to the body of knowledge encompassed in ICT technology. ICT certainly requires design and development skills and methods.

So maybe "Technologies" is right. But it doesn't feel right.

What about algorithmic or computational thinking? What about learning the basic skills needed to create ICT, not just use it?

ICT is not just about responding to a design brief - it's about dreaming the design in the first place. It's about making our lives easier and connecting us to each other. It's about solving problems using our brains, and getting machines to amplify, disseminate, sort and store our thoughts.

I know, I know. I'm probably just hopelessly idealistic and naive. But to me ICT seems very very different to woodworking, cooking and textiles.

Personal computers were only just being introduced when I was at school - now they are an integral part of all our lives.  I think we should all give some thought to the place of ICT in the new Australian Curriculum.

We should talk about it. Debate it.

Get involved.