Sunday, November 11, 2012

The problem of fixed/borrowed ICT schemes

This post was inspired by a brief twitter conversation with @alexgingell about ICT schemes of work. We've probably all looked around for inspiration and ideas from others, but if you want a scheme that works, you really have to write your own. Why? You can't make someone else's mould fit right. How do I know? I've tried. It is an impossible task. I was inspired by the comprehensive schemes from Wokingham a few years ago and tried to adapt them for our school. I sat with colleagues in each year group and we looked at what they teach, which resources could be used and how skills can be embedded. It took over an hour with each year group until we finally came up with something we were all happy with. I felt happy that staff had ownership of their plans.

The trouble is, things change. New technology appears, skills change (children and staff) and teachers move jobs. Then you end up with schemes that you spent too much time on, that don't fit. Who likes to follow someone else's plans anyway?

So our present solution is a very simple one. Each teacher needs to be mindful of the skills that should be taught to the children in their year group. They should then seek opportunities to embed them in other curriculum areas*. We have a very basic overview that shows what is taught in each year group and resources that are available. How teachers embed skills is up to them. Energy is spent on finding new opportunities to use ICT and supporting teachers rather than creating detailed overviews. I admit that at the moment more formal monitoring methods are needed, but we are a relatively small school and we talk to one another. I know what is being taught around the school. In the near future we will have a staff meeting using the Naace framework to monitor our progression in ICT more carefully. At the moment though we are concentrating on maintaining our good standards, whilst learning how to get the best from our ipads.

What @alexgingell pointed out was that maybe the children should be involved too. Of course they should! Digital leaders immediately came into my mind, but maybe it is a job for the school council? Maybe google docs should be used so that more people can adapt them? Whatever happens, I am always grateful for the food for thought that fellow tweeters provide. Two heads are always better than one!

If you are starting from scratch, I would recommend looking at the Naace frameworkSimon Haughton's blog and Chris Leach's rethinking ICT wiki. These guys work tirelessly to inspire others.

*It often happens the other way round - the skills are taught as and when they are being applied to a curriculum area. Then more opportunities are sought to rehearse the skills.

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