Canterbury Christ Church University (2005) is a university that uses its website for potential students to download an ICT audit that can be used to identify any basic skills students will need to improve in order to study at their university. Their website specifies how important ICT skills are at university as it “underpins all of your studies. ” Students will also be required to be able to email to communicate with staff and students, to word process essays and assignments, to use the internet to search for information and possibly to use subject-specific software for their course.
Even student that have not studied ICT at college or even at university level still will be required to have some basic ICT skills and these might very well be the skills learned before leaving school, which again shows the importance of school leavers leaving with skills for life, that they can in the future be able to use in many situations and build from these skills. Lastly what do employers want from school leavers, well already we know that 60% of existing and 90% of new jobs require some ICT skills and according to Kings School (2006) “Almost every employer needs staff with good ICT skills so it’s a biggie!
” Again no reference is made to interpret what is classed as good ICT skills and to what level, but assuming as this is a school website they would be referring to skills taught up to KS4. More jobs are requiring computers skills and according to Integrated System Technologies Limited (2006) in a recent employer survey by e-Skills UK has identified significant shortfalls in the UK’s e-Skills capability. e-skills UK acts as the voice of employers on IT, Telecoms and Contact Centres.
They surveyed over 3,200 businesses looking at employer skill needs relating to IT within their organisations, and current skill deficiencies. From the survey it seems the skills required by business are word processing, database and spreadsheet skills, especially as it states “Forty-four per cent of businesses reporting skills gaps said staff lacked word processing skills, 44 per cent lacked database skills, and 43 per cent lacked spreadsheet skills. ” 6. Critically evaluation of the secondary National Curriculum for ICT.
When the National Curriculum for IT was devised in 1995, it was written in a non-specific way so that developments over a five year period could be allowed for. Neither the Programmes of Study nor the Attainment Target Level Descriptions mention word processing, spreadsheets or multimedia authoring, or particular types of software. The lack of details provided little help for teachers who where unfamiliar with ICT and many teachers were uncertain about what the ICT National Curriculum Programmes of Study really meant.
To counter this problem, both the DfES and the QCA issued schemes of work and resources to support the teaching and learning of ICT from KS1 to KS3 to provide teachers with the tools to teach ICT capability. The schemes of work gave examples of the types of activities which were appropriate for covering various aspects of the IT curriculum. These schemes of work where software dependent and, in many cases used Microsoft Office software (Ager 1999). The National Curriculum was further revised in 1999 when IT was renamed Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
However, programmes of study in England were now grouped around the major themes of finding things out; developing ideas and making things happen; exchanging and sharing information; reviewing modelling and evaluating work as it progresses (DfES 1999), although there was still the flexibility to be able to teach the subject using any software and however you like, as long at the national curriculum is followed. The National curriculum for ICT could still be improved to incorporate new skills and knowledge, for example including more multimedia skills, as ICT is constantly changing and therefore the curriculum is in need of updating.
The key to how ICT should be taught would be that at KS3 the curriculum should be to build on the technical skills developed during KS1 and KS2 and develop the higher order skills required for success at KS4. 7. Conclusion In conclusion this report has emphasised the importance of ICT, with the ever increasing use of technology making ICT an essential skill for life. It has also shown the importance of ICT having capability encompasses not only the mastery of technical skills and techniques, but also the understanding to apply these skills purposefully in learning, everyday life and employment, and to be able to have life long learning.
Also that the National Curriculum alone is not enough for most teachers and therefore schemes of work were introduced, which still is not the perfect solution and with time they will all need to be updated as ICT is a constantly altering, which was also partly the reason the national curriculum was created so vague. As a result of the author findings it is clear that ICT is now a skill for life, and should be taught discreetly, with the application of ICT capability across other subjects. 8.
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