The importance of ICT

ICT should be a core GCSE subject says Shaun Eason

Q: Technology in education is constantly evolving, what do you think was the most significant edtech development in 2015?

A: The increasing profile of coding at all levels. It’s become a hot topic in education technology.

Q: Were we successful in reducing the digital divide this year? How do you think we can improve on this in 2016?

A: I think we ought to make ICT a core subject for all students at GCSE. Ask businesses what they would prefer? They will tell you. Assuming students have the skills just because they use the internet and can write a powerpoint is a bit naïve.

Q: The computing curriculum has now been in place for over a year, has it proved to be a success so far, and how do you think we will we see this evolve in 2016?

A: I don’t think it will change much. There’s a wealth of information out there and everyone is getting in on the act with lots of great ideas and resources. If it’s going to change in any way it will mean more emphasis on raw materials such as programming software and less emphasis on applications software usage. Also, the programming of devices such as the BBC microbit and pi based technology.

Assuming students have the skills just because they use the internet and can write a powerpoint is a bit naïve

Q: E-safety is still a key issue in schools, with cyberbullying presenting a huge problem. What steps can we take to tackle this?

A: Firewalls, no name e mails (we use the students roll number as part of their e mail), educating on the effects of cyber bullying and encouraging all students to come together in condemning the act are all things which occur right now. I think it’s worked out exactly right in that we have as much input from young people in tackling this problem as we do from adult professionals. Everyone needs to keep a lookout for evidence of cyber bullying and be prepared to act if it occurs, keeping a constant lookout for the signs.

Q: BYOD adoption continues to rise in our schools and universities. How can we ensure we further reduce the data security risks associated with this next year?

A: We’ve been talking a lot about this at All Saints. We want it to happen but in a controlled fashion. Our idea is that students will be able to bring their devices but log in to the school network with their school log in details. They are then under the control of school firewalls and policies etc. The only issue then is that we cannot control the texting and telephone aspect OR their independent use of the internet.

Q: MOOCs, BYOD, WYOD, gamification, are all popular terms and trends seen and used throughout the education sector. What trends will emerge over the coming months?

A: I’ve seen exam boards with their own MOOCs and they are very helpful for the courses they support. WYOD might be something which the science’s could engage with but it’s early days yet. With new exam syllabuses and the demands which it places on subjects, I’d probable hedge a bet at saying that MOOCs will be the thing this year. 

Mr Shaun Eason is the Assistant Head Teacher and Head of Computing at All Saints School


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