What we in TheETA are about is enabling learners to thrive, achieve and contribute in an increasingly digital society and culture. To do this, we work closely with teachers and schools, to help them use ed tech, knowing that the right use of ed tech generates powerful, long lasting learning gains. In the UK, Computing is also a subject of the curriculum, and Computing studied correctly provides essential preparation for life as an individual in society. Therefore we need to consider the contexts which drive schools, and the implications for ed tech. A really important one is the Ofsted Inspection Framework, which is about to change. The drafts of the proposed new Framework and Handbook are available for consultation and we would like to share with you thoughts about how the inspection of schools might encourage schools to make good use of ed tech and teach children how to do so, to the benefit of all of them. Here are some quotes from the Draft School inspection Handbook.
157 …The school’s curriculum is rooted in the solid consensus of the school’s leaders about the knowledge and skills that pupils need to take advantage of the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life...
159. All pupils in maintained schools are expected to study the national curriculum subjects…
161. From key stage 2 onwards and in secondary education, however, inspectors will expect to see a broad, rich curriculum…
163. As part of making the judgement about the quality of education, inspectors will consider the extent to which schools are equipping pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life…
164 …how leaders have ensured that the subject curriculum contains content which has been identified as most useful, and ensured that this content is taught in a logical progression, systematically and explicitly enough for all pupils to acquire the intended knowledge and skills
What do these quotes make us think inspectors will be looking for?
Paras 157 and 163 highlight preparation for life. We state strongly that such preparation must include not just learning with ed tech, but understanding of the impact of technology on life chances, and the ability to make effective use of ed tech.
In Para 159, the expectation that the national curriculum subjects are studied must include Computing.
For Para 161 it is hard to see how the expectation for a rich curriculum will be met without the use of ed tech, which among other things gives access to unparalleled amounts of resources, and huge numbers of ways to exploit them.
Para 164 looks for the most useful curriculum content. Surely a high quality Computing curriculum scores highly?
Of course, the Handbook does not and can not say that it is essential that schools should use ed tech to empower learning, nor even that it is essential to teach Computing!
However we suggest that the paragraphs above provide strong incentives for schools to do both.
If you are persuaded by this then you might wish to support the Draft materials, and state why you do. We are certainly going to do so.
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Agree with this! Let's hope inspectors are equpped with understanding what they are looking at though.