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UK national curriculum lagging behind technology, says UK ICT expert

itslearning is proud to present another webinar with leading ICT expert Carole Bennett. In this illuminating webinar, Bennett argues that UK curriculum is not keeping up advancements in technology.

“It suggests introducing kids to the Internet when they´re 10, which is far too late,” says Carole, who leads all ICT services for schools in Hertfordshire, one of the biggest counties in the UK.

Focus on word processing, not ‘social learning’

Carole states that the current curriculum emphasises learning word processing, with students being introduced to PowerPoint in Years 4 and 5.

“Sadly, that´s still in our accreditation system and you can still be doing that, according to the British curriculum, when you´re 15. If you want to make something as exciting as technology deathly dull, try teaching your child PowerPoint for 11 years.”

UK schools at a ‘crossroads’

In her presentation, which is titled ‘Learning and technology – which way now’ and recorded in June 2012, Carole suggests there have been massive changes in technology in the past 10 years and that UK schools have not kept up.

The curriculum was created in a Web 1.0 world where the Internet was for reading, downloading and consuming. In today´s dynamic Web 2.0 world, people use the Internet for writing, uploading and publishing.

Internet offers unprecedented, untapped potential for learning

“Teenagers these days expect to be able to influence their world and share their ideas and see what other people think. Every child from a very early age just expects to be able to reach out to the expert in any subject at a second’s notice.”

Bennett calls this ‘scaffolding learning’ or ‘social learning’ – which is essential building on the knowledge of others using the Internet.

Not all schools are keeping pace with change

“That expectation that you can have knowledge at the drop of a hat and learn is just astounding,” she says .

“We´ve had such major advances in technology that change the way kids feel about learning, the way they can learn. As prevalent technology is in the UK, particularly in primary schools in the UK, this change may not been reflected in schools,” she maintains.

Carole also asks viewers to consider whether their teaching methods reflect changes in technology. She encourages teachers to ask their students if they enjoy using technology, and if they use it at home.

“Often we find there is a mismatch. Kids enjoy using technology in their free time but they don´t always like using it in school,” she says. “And it´s because it isn´t challenging. It isn´t actually moving their learning on, it isn´t moving their understanding of the technology on.”

Students need training in how technology works

She says students should be trained in software programs but also in how they work. This will allow them to both use technology and make, develop and create it. “If you understand how technology works you are able to adapt very quickly. That´s the kind of stuff that kids need in the future.”

In this insightful video, which is available exclusively on itslearning’s website, Carole also offers helpful tips on how to start using technology in your classroom today. She shares insight into where technology and learning is heading, in addition to showing how ICT is changing education. You can see the full video here.

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