The Old Person’s ICT Curriculum

John Naughton in fine form in this morning's Observer.

The QCA is a fascinating organisation, staffed by responsible adults in suits. It produces tons of earnest documents, all of them possessing a single common property, namely that of reducing their readers’ will to live.

It goes on:

Put such an organisation in charge of designing a curriculum on ICT, and you can predict the result: An Old Person’s Guide to ICT.

The Old Person’s ICT Curriculum (OPIC) has three ‘themes’: ‘using ICT systems’; ‘finding and exchanging information’; and ‘developing and presenting information’.

The first involves learning a Key Skill — that of ‘interacting with ICT for a purpose’. Pupils should be taught important things like ‘take a turn playing a screen-based game, using a mouse, selecting options and keying in information’. Teachers should ensure that pupils are able to ‘choose between option buttons displayed on a cashpoint screen’, ‘follow instructions when using interactive TV’ and ‘receive a text message to make arrangements, e.g. where to meet a friend’.


And then the same kids go home and log onto Bebo or MySpace to update their profiles, run half a dozen simultaneous Instant Messaging conversations, use Skype to make free phone calls, rip music from CDs they’ve borrowed from friends, twiddle their thumbs to send incomprehensible text messages, view silly videos on YouTube and use BitTorrent to download episodes of ‘Lost’.


And he's absolutely right.

I suspect it isn't too far from the truth to suggest that QCA is now one of the biggest obstacles facing Education.

They are, after all, the organisation that annually asks over a million children to sit at wooden desks and, without access to any technology, answer questions on paper using a pen.

Children will rightly ask how this might possibly prove useful to them...


Due to some mysterious glitch, this morning’s Observer column appeared in the paper edition but not on the Web. Catch the full text via John's website: Memex 1.1 - The Old Person’s ICT Curriculum.

Follow me on Twitter: @IanYorston