The government has finally agreed that creative and motivating ICT classes be reintroduced to the classroom by teaching children to program and put computer science back in the core of ICT lessons. The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove is reported as saying that the present ICT curriculum was ‘demotivating and dull’. Advising Mr Gove on implementing changes is Ian Livingstone, co-author of Next Gen, a report written in 2011 which focussed on the current trend of poor quality computing lessons in schools. Eric Schmidt executive chairman of Google commented during his lecture in Edinburg in August 2011 that in his opinion not to teach computer science, as detailed in the Next Gen report, was throwing away our heritage.
Sunday evening’s BBC technology program ‘Click’ reported on how the excitement of the early 1980s, with the first computers being introduced in schools and pupils being encouraged to write their own simple programs to see for themselves just what was possible had sadly given way to today’s lessons which mainly involve learning to use computer software programs such as Powerpoint. ‘In the 1980s children were inspired to create technology where as today all they do is use technology’ said Mr Livingstone during an interview on ‘Click’.
Mr Livingstone is to implement a Next Gen coalition with partners in industry to assist in producing a teaching package that will help children learn in preparation for later employment and inspire the next generation of British computer scientists. Partners will include such giants as Google and Microsoft, and also involve the British Computer society.