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Our New ICT Curriculum #ICTCurric

Probably worth reading my last post about the disapplication of the previous ICT Program of Study and our plans to take it’s place at KS3 before proceeding with this one.

So what have we done in the 4 months since my last post?

Our fabulous ICT Department have thrashed out what we believe to be the key elements of an ICT curriculum for 2012. Taking inspiration from many places (again see the last post) we’ve come up with a core set of topics which we believe will support our learners in accessing our two KS4 qualifications if they decide to do so in the future (GCSE Computing & Creative iMedia), whilst giving them the digital skills and literacies that we believe they will need to be successful in all areas of their future learning and work.

Our core topics are:

  • Living Online
  • Publishing Online
  • Formal Digital Communications
  • Researching Online
  • Digital Presenting
  • Visual Programming & Control
  • Text Based Programming
  • Handling Digital Data
  • Digital Imaging
  • Digital Video
  • Digital Sound
  • Project Planning
  • Project Evaluation

We’ve decided to call our new curriculum ‘ICT’ – after much debate we decided it still fits the job nicely!

We’ve also throughly embraced the idea of using badges to reward and assess progress. We’re fortunate that I’m also responsible for data and assessment at our school so I’ve kindly given us permission to scrap National Curriculum levels entirely for KS3 ICT. In their place come our Badges, these will eventually be in Bronze, Silver & Gold levels for each topic. It’s an interesting experiment but we really believe that knowing you’ve achieved a Silver Award in Digital Presentation and a Bronze Award in Living Online will mean far more to learner and parent than being told they are working at a 4b. Time will tell.

We have been carefully constructing the learning objectives / learning outcomes for the badges and learners have been collating their evidence towards these using Realsmart rPassports. They’re being awarded on Edmodo for now, eventually we hope to use the full Mozilla Open Badges framework.

To give you a feel for these here’s one objective from the Living Online badge:

I can use social networks safely because I have:

  • reviewed the security and safety settings of my social networks
  • analysed my contacts and ensured that they are appropriate and can see only what I want them to
  • discussed the potential dangers of social networking, highlighting typical signs of danger
  • described how to report suspicious or abusive behaviour that I might encounter online
  • chosen the right social network for the right communications and interactions

Please feel free to see more detail on our wiki and feel free to offer your comments here. It’s very much a work in progress, we’ve got a framework in the background and are trying to keep a half term ahead of ourselves throughout the year.

It’s interesting to note that since this whole adventure started with Mr Gove’s original invitation to ICT teachers to embrace this new found freedom, he has since decided to retract that and come up with a new program of study, as far as I can tell behind closed doors from the very educators he encouraged to take up the mantle. Hopefully it will bear much resemblance to what we’re doing here. If not we’ll probably carry on with what we feel is right any way.

So far it’s been a really enjoyable start to the year. Staff have been enjoying teaching relevant skills and literacies to the students and they are getting the hang of badges. As we start awarding the first badges over the next week or so I am confident it’s going to really take off. I’m also really positive that when we get onto the likes of Digital Presentation we’re going to start seeing students using lots of evidence from other subjects to support their badges. I hope that this in turn becomes a nice guide to staff in other departments as to the actual ICT skills of our learners. With my Maths teacher head on I think it would be great to be able to look at a glance at the specific skills of my class and know in advance if they have experience of managing data or doing basic programming. Historically other teachers wouldn’t really have a clue as to the ICT skills of a student, making integrating ICT in other subjects more difficult.

Exciting times 🙂

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