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Wednesday, 10 July 2013

IPACA Digital Learning shared in the House of Lords

In the Grand Committee of the House of Lords on Monday 8th July, 2013 the below comments were made about Education (Amendment of the Curriculum Requirements) (England) Order 2013. I specifically draw your attention to those points highlighted in yellow below:

Lord Knight of Weymouth: My Lords, I draw the attention of the Committee to my interests in this area. I am a trustee of the e-Learning Foundation and have various other interests, including working with the Times Educational Supplement and with smart technologies. I am also a trustee of Apps for Good.

8 July 2013 : Column GC16
I, too, attended the Bett conference at the beginning of last year, when the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, who is now on his feet in the other place talking about these issues, announced the disapplication of the programme of study for ICT. I broadly welcomed that announcement. It goes back to my dissatisfaction when I was Schools Minister with the ICT curriculum, particularly at key stages 3 and 4, and to how unengaging my son found the experience of doing the European Computer Driving Licence. My attempt to change things was to get Jim Rose’s primary curriculum review to include ICT as a core subject alongside English and maths. It was a battle that I eventually won by subterfuge, and Jim’s review included ICT at its core. I wanted young people starting secondary school to be plug-and-play ready to use ICT across the whole curriculum in their learning.
I was also informed, as I think the Minister was, and as he mentioned in his opening comments, by the changing nature of the labour market, which is essentially hollowing out due to globalisation and technological change. The growth in high-skill, high-wage work is at the higher end of the market and is very much informed by technology and people who are confident with it. Not all of it requires programming skill. Therefore, my first question is: how will the Minister ensure that digital skills remain across the whole curriculum and inform the way in which young people learn in all subjects, not just in the subject called computing?

I cannot see any occupation where we will not require people to be confident in using the internet and technology, and to have a basic understanding of how it works. I am chair of the Online Centres Foundation, which just today was renamed the Tinder Foundation. We are very active in digital inclusion, and we see people referred to us from jobcentres so that they can not just process a claim but apply for jobs, because 70% of employers require you to apply online. These are fundamental skills for every child to learn in order to be confident leaving school.

The issue of digital skills across the curriculum raises an additional question. It is a perhaps unfashionable question about pedagogy. As a Minister, I was always slightly reluctant to get involved in pedagogy because I am not a trained teacher. However, I regret that, and I have looked at the amount of investment that has gone into technology in schools over time and have seen that some of it was not spent well, because not every teacher was taught to be confident in using it, and to shift their pedagogy in order to use it well.

I have that worry about 3D printers, and I am specifically interested in finding out from the Minister whether, as 3D printers land in schools, they are not going to be used to prop doors open or get dusty in cupboards. Last Friday I was talking to teachers from the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy down in Dorset following their being shortlisted for a TES Schools Award. Unfortunately the school did not manage to win an award, but it is worth noting that both the nominated projects involved 3D printers, so I can see that some fantastic pedagogy may emerge from this technology that encourages highly engaged teaching and learning.

For a full copy of the handsard please refer to -