Less IT idealism

3rd March 1995 at 00:00
Jack Kenny has still to learn the lessons that an almost universal failure to deliver information technology across the curriculum in secondary schools should have taught him (National Curriculum Update, TES, February 10).

I agree, there is "still a long way to go before IT is embedded within the curriculum in the way that it should be". But why have schools not achieved and sustained the delivery of IT across the curriculum?

As Jack says, it is difficult to track IT across the curriculum. Teaching staff do have many competing pressures on them and it is not unusual to find that teachers themselves lack adequate IT skills.

I suggest that these reasons alone make the ideal of delivering IT across the curriculum unattainable for most schools at this time. In addition, there are insufficient hardware and software resources of the right type in schools and there is not enough money to replace them.

It is not good enough to aim for an ideal which is, in practice, unattainable. Schools need models of the IT curriculum which will work now and which they can afford. What is needed is a step-by-step development plan that will move schools from where they are now towards the ideal.

An interim curriculum model is needed. I would suggest that schools look again at the curriculum models that evolved on the basis of good practice prior to the introduction of the national curriculum.

In many cases, IT was used across the curriculum, but taught and assessed in specialist IT subject classes.

This model is practical and affordable. Its achievement would be celebrated by most schools and it is a sound base to move forward from.

So, Jack, let's have less idealism and more practical solutions. They are desperately needed.

ROGER CRAWFORD

Senior lecturer in education

(Chief examiner for GCSE information systems, OFSTED inspector)

University of Huddersfield

Holly Bank Campus

Huddersfield

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