In their last report, Ofsted claimed that around 20% of the teaching of information and communications technology – ICT in secondary schools – was inadequate. Fortunately, this does mean that 80% of secondary schools are receiving at least a reasonable level of teaching in this area.
With a quick look at the proliferation of equipment that is available from whiteboards to Wi-Fi in schools, it is easy to see why the report suggests that it’s the teachers that lack the confidence and capability to teach the subjects well.
Children learn quickly when they have the tools
Whenever you’ve passed the remote control to one of your children, they quickly know how to program your DVD without looking at the manual.
When your new tablet computer begins to play up, your children will quickly be able to go into the settings, change anything that requires updating and pass back a fully working computer to you.
This and their personal knowledge of programming and using mobile phones suggests that today’s children have a natural inborn attitude towards ICT, so it must be the way they are being taught that makes OFSTED draw its conclusions.
Programming and databases are not being taught as well as expected, says the report and so what shouldn’t be surprising is the suggestion that outside lessons are providing more progress than the standard lessons.
During the 2008 to 2011 period, of the 74 secondary schools visited by the investigators, 27 schools were judged to be good or outstanding; 33 satisfactory, but 14 fell below the line.
In an age where ICT is not just important to a child’s learning programme, but essential, the report shows that 50% of the students in 30 of the schools managed to reach school leaving age without the basics of study or training of ICT in place.
Exam results are down
Where English and mathematics have proved to be compulsory subjects during a child’s school life, there is an easy argument that ICT should be added to that list, as tomorrow’s adults won’t be able to exist efficiently without an adequate knowledge of ICT.
81,100 sat the GCSE ICT examination in 2007. Just 31,800 students completed the examination for years later. How can anything justify a reduction of 64% of attendees?
There is good news, however, from the primary schools. Around two thirds of schools were judged to be good or outstanding in their ICT applications. 11 / 88 schools were judged to be outstanding; 39 were awarded a good position; 33 were satisfactory and only five were found to be inadequate.
The results would imply that a number of children are either not receiving adequate training in ICT or simply not interested enough in the subject.
It was suggested in the report that if schools continually only purchase computer equipment that is bound to go out of date rapidly, they will not be spending enough time teaching their pupils how to be literate technologically.
The use of interactive whiteboards for schools and other ICT equipment will help children see, use and adapt to modern technology, which will help them expect and demand the latest in ICT equipment, rather than trying to live in the past.
Netcom ICT is in a position to be able to help schools adapt now and for the future so that the children in their educator’s care won’t be left behind in the race for knowledge and information.