Saturday, June 5, 2010

ICT Alive and Kicking

Thursday was hot and sunny and getting towards the end of the half term holiday. And yet I spent it voluntarily in a windowless room with several ( until then ) virtual strangers talking about work. And stranger still I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it one of the most productive days I've had for a long time. 

The event was #DADSOW3 ( Developing a Dynamic SOW for KS3 ), something we had been talking about on Twitter via #ictcurric for a while. The basic idea is for a group of like-minded ICT teachers to get together to pool ideas and work on a relevant and engaging KS3 curriculum which could turn the tide on the 'training kids to push the right button on Microsoft applications' style of ICT delivery. The end result will be a bank of ICT projects for us to use which will be freely available for anyone else to use and adapt for their own needs under a creative commons licence.

The day was organised and chaired by Nick Jackson ( @largerama ) and was also attended by James Greenwood ( @jpgreenwood ), Pete Astbury ( @astburyp ) and Sarah Evans ( @jennah100 ). Several more people contributed via the Piratepad we used to document the proceedings:-

What was evident from the day was that we faced a range of different challenges but we were all working in the same vein to overcome these issues and revitalise ICT as a discrete subject.

There was general agreement to use APP as a framework to ensure that the projects were covering the full breadth of the curriculum. I have also found APP to be useful to evidence how the use of web 2.0 tools ties into the standard ICT curriculum. 

What was particularly enjoyable about the day was the way that we could bounce ideas around and build on work that each of us had done individually. As an example I have been working on a Digital Literacy project ( which I've previously blogged about:-

This had worked well but there were some issues:-
  1. The theme of the project was Swine Flu which was in the news at the time I wrote the project but was out of date now
  2. Even when Swine Flu was in the news some students questioned the relevance of researching the topic.
  3. While the research element had gone well the end product - a google website documenting their research - needed more structure or purpose.

James Greenwood had been working on a similar project based around the dumping of digital waste in Ghana and other developing nations under the guise of 'donating' old electronic equipment. This video gave a powerful introduction to the topic:-

James's project had involved students researching the topic and creating awareness campaigns using ICT applications and tools. Combining the two projects together gave us this initial mindmap:-

I think this project has so much potential to shoot off in different directions and I'm really excited to be working on it. There is the environmental and social impact, a wealth of research opportunities, including plenty of scope for looking at the bias and reliability of information, analysing information and presenting it to different audiences. There are also opportunities to look at hardware components and possibly even database tasks such as a database of components and the potential environmental hazards the materials pose.  

Sarah and Pete worked together on an online publishing unit which quickly developed into a web campaigning unit:-

Nick ambitiously took on two projects, one on games programming:-

and a year 7 starter unit based on a Dream Holidays unit I put together earlier this year. Nick has some great ideas for improving it and developing it and I'm looking forward to seeing the results.

On a technical note I found myself in a room full of Moodlers. I've not had any experience of using Moodle and need to get up to speed quickly so that I can contribute to the site we are putting together. However I've decided to also create Google site versions of the projects we are developing. I am moving to a new school in September which is in the process of implementing the Frog VLE and I will be able to embed the Google site resources into this. It may also make the resources more accessible for those who either do not have Moodle skills or who are tied to using a specific VLE. 

I've also decided to break up my existing Google sites into individual projects rather than the whole year group sites that I have at the moment. This will allow a greater flexibility in mixing and matching projects and will fit better into a VLE structure where I can have assignments and discussion boards for each topic.

So my head is buzzing with ideas and I can't wait to get stuck into developing the plans that we put together on Thursday. Maybe reports of the death of ICT as a discrete subject were a little premature. 


    1. Great summary of what the day was about. Looking forward to rolling out our new curriculum from September!

    2. Lovely summary but what about the "boing" toy and hardly having to use it? Didnt even get a mention!! Booooo

    3. Nick it's your own fault for chairing the meeting so well.

    4. I enjoyed following the whole entry, I always thought one of the main things to count when you write a blog is learning how to complement the ideas with images, that's exploiting at the maximum the possibilities of a ciber-space! Good work on this entry!