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BCS respond to OECD report on technology in schools

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, says the way that computers have been used in schools until recently could account for research results published yesterday by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The research, which is a study into the impact of school technology on international test results, suggests that pupils’ performance is not improved by investing in computers and classroom technology.

Bill Mitchell, Director of Education at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, explains: “I don’t find the results surprising since computers in schools have mainly been used to show children how to use standard software packages. In England, with the introduction of the new computing curriculum, children from age 5 onwards are now learning not to just be users of technology but to be digital creators. This will have very real outcomes both for children and teachers, but also in the long term; help the UK remain a digital skills powerhouse.”

Having been instrumental in the introduction of computing to the curriculum in England, the Institute believes it’s vital that children from as young as 5 years old learn computer science. Since the introduction of the new computing curriculum in England, the Institute has supported teachers who are introducing computing into their classrooms

Bill continues: “Computers should be used as tools to explore stimulating ideas and concepts, to experiment with simulations that describe challenging real world problems. Doing this helps children become digital creators with advanced thinking skills relevant to all subjects whether that’s maths, English, history or computer science.”

This year has seen an increase in the number of students taking GCSE Computer Science; numbers have more than doubled to just over 34,000.

Bill says: “This is a tremendously encouraging sign. At the same time that’s about 28% of the number of students taking physics GCSE, which shows how far there is still to go in terms of GCSE take up. Ideally we’d like to see the number of students taking GCSE Computer Science double again next year. Our view is that will only happen where we make sure teachers are getting the right professional development to make GCSE Computer Science a success.

“Our advice to schools is make sure your teachers join the Computing At School group (CAS), which is free to all primary and secondary teachers and IT professionals. CAS (which is part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT) runs the DfE funded Network of Excellence in Teaching Computer Science, so through CAS it’s easy to get access to really good practice from other schools, find out what free help your local universities can offer, and most importantly talk to the other 19,000 CAS members about what’s going on in their schools.”

Related Link: OECD report

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Channel website: http://www.bcs.org/

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