Thursday, 5 November 2015

Restoring The Balance

In my last post I talked about the balance between coding and digital literacy, and how it was refreshing to read a report from the ECDL saying that perhaps there has recently been too much of a focus on coding at the expense of digital skills.  It was with interest therefore that this morning I read this post - 'Coding and Digital Skills', from Miles Berry. In it, Miles reflects upon the first year since the introduction of the Computing curriculum in England. He talks about the move from ICT to Computing and about computational thinking, but it's his conclusions that I found most interesting, and in my opinion should be read by all those educators in Wales involved in developing the new curriculum and digital competence frameworks. Let's hope that we do learn from England's experience in changing their curriculum, and in restoring a healthy balance between coding and digital skills/competence. Here is Miles' conclusion in full:

I don’t want to give the impression that England has all this figured out. It’s been a hugely exciting few years, changing a nation’s curriculum in such a significant way and seeing the impact that this is already having on schools, teachers and pupils. We’ve something approaching an alpha release – a minimum viable product, but there’s plenty more development work still needed, and I suspect we’re never going to have a final, finished product, much more a perpetual cycle of beta versions. 
I worry at times that we’ve emphasised coding too much, sometimes at the expense of computational thinking, but also at the really, really useful e-skills that our learners still need – no one gets a job programming in Scratch, but plenty of folk are likely to have to word process reports, make presentations and develop online content. Some of what follows next for us might well be about restoring the balance to the curriculum as implemented – ensuring that the foundations, applications and implications of computing all get covered so that our pupils are prepared as well as they possibly can be for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of their later life.