Next September, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) will be replaced by a flexible curriculum in computing, designed with the help of universities and industry. But will teachers – particularly those working in primary schools – have the necessary skills and expertise to deliver the new subject? What role should industry play in the implementation of the new curriculum? And how can we ensure young people have the right skills for the jobs of the future?
These were some of the questions raised at a recent debate hosted by the Guardian, in association with Microsoft, ahead of the introduction of the new computing curriculum in schools.
In the opening part of the discussion, participants were asked to explain why having computing on the curriculum is important. "The old ICT curriculum was about digital use," said Ian Livingstone, cofounder of Games Workshop. "In terms of the games industry, it's like someone being able to play the video game Angry Birds, but having no idea how to make Angry Birds. So the old ICT [curriculum] was, effectively, teaching kids how to read, but not how to write."
Paul Curzon – professor of computer science at the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London – agreed, adding: "It's like a toddler being able to jump and land. He can do it without knowing any physics. But actually understanding why when you jump, you land – that's learning the physics. And computing is the equivalent."
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc