What is happening is that the national curriculum’s worthy aspirations to educate pupils about ICT are transmuted at the chalkface into teaching kids to use Microsoft software. Our children are mostly getting ICT training rather than ICT education.
And if you can’t see the difference, try this simple thought-experiment: replace “ICT” with “sex” and see which you’d prefer in that context: education or training?
How we got to this ridiculous state of affairs is a long story. It’s partly about how education departments, like generals, are always preparing for the last war. Thus, while we’re moving into a post-PC age, our ICT curriculum is firmly rooted in the desktop computer running Microsoft Windows. It’s also partly about the technophobia of teachers, local councillors and officials. But it’s mainly about the chronic mismatch between the glacial pace of curriculum change in a print-based culture, and the rate of change in the technology.
I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.
- Government Reservists 2 – an idea for the Big Society? | Podnosh – "We do need government to change itself and fast. Might government reservists now be a way for active citizens and government staff to understand each other better, work together more closely and wrought change?"
- Open Data: Challenges & Opportunities « West Midlands Regional Observatory – Interesting event in Brum on 15th July.
- Swansea Scrutiny – Great WordPress based blog site for Scrutiny in Swansea.
- Open Source: Give as well as take – "To this end, I will be encouraging all new WCC application development projects to distribute their source code and documentation under an open source license. The first example of this is the application that drives our open data catalogue, developed using Ruby on Rails and hosted on Heroku."
- Easy Business Finance Software, Simplified Small Business Accounting and Cashflow Planning | inDinero.com – A SaaS accounting package for small businesses. See Kashflow, Freshbooks etc
- How to Build Engaging One-of-Kind Facebook Fan Pages – "Don’t let anyone tell you it is easy to create a successfully engaging Facebook Fan Page. It is not."
- Will the iPhone and iPad finally kill off the Mac? – "Until recently, I would have said that the (open, permissive) Google/Android system would win out over the (closed, tightly controlled) Apple device. But sales of the new iPhone lead one to wonder if it will be Apple, and not Google, which replaces Microsoft as the company we love to hate."
- The Big Society #2: Strengthening local leadership – "Whether they’re called community leaders or organisers, local champions, or bastions of grass roots democracy doesn’t really matter; current and future councillors play a big role in supporting the Big Society."
- 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Opening Up Public Data – 100% Open – "What economic and social value can be generated with all this data? How can we make more innovative products and services for less?"
- Guest Post: A Developers’ Guide to the Linked Data APIs – Jeni Tennison | data.gov.uk – "Linked data offers some great advantages for publishing government data. The approach makes it easy to publish information in a way that allows it to be combined with other sets of data, without an up-front agreement about exactly what information should be published."
You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.
John Naughton is consistently one of the – if not the – best writers we have about technology. His A Brief History Of The Future is a simply fantastic introduction to the internet: why and how it came about, from Vannevar Bush‘s vision of the Memex through Douglas Englebart‘s ‘Mother of all demos‘ to Arpanet and Tim Berners-Lee‘s use of HTTP and HTML to form the world wide web. It was the first book I thought to lend Breda when she joined my little team at Learning Pool.
His blog and Observer column are well worth regularly checking too. Occasionally I am lucky enough to meet up with John, along with that other titan of technology, Quentin Stafford-Fraser, for lunch in Cambridge. It’s difficult not to feel utterly fraudulent during these conversations, but I do my best.
John’s name has been punted all round Twitter during the last couple of days thanks to a feature article that appeared in the Observer on Sunday, called Everything you ever need to know about the internet. It’s a great context-setting piece, reminding us all how new this stuff is – and yet, at the same time, that many of the issues involved are as old as time.
This ties in with some of what I have been thinking and writing recently about people’s attitudes to the internet – such as the fact that it shouldn’t be viewed as just another channel, and that it is a profoundly creative space. I suspect a lot of this comes down to a lack of real understanding of what the net is about.
So, go read the article. Then print it out and put it in your boss’s in-tray. The world will be a better place.