Ofsted Press Release on young people not being sufficiently challenged in ICT lessons

December 14, 2011

“A report published today by Ofsted has found that achievement in information, communication and technology (ICT) was inadequate in almost a fifth of the secondary schools visited. Inspectors found that how well pupils did in secondary schools was adversely affected by the lack of challenge for more able students and poor coverage of key aspects of the ICT curriculum.

The report, ICT in schools 2008-11, found that although ICT was good or outstanding in over two thirds of primary schools visited, the position was less positive for secondary schools with just over a third of the secondary schools in the survey judged good or outstanding.

The report draws on evidence from the inspection of ICT in 167 primary, secondary and special schools between 2008 and 2011. The ICT curriculum and qualification routes provided by nearly half of the secondary schools surveyed were not meeting the needs of all students, which reinforces concerns raised in Ofsted’s previous ICT report.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Miriam Rosen, said:

“In a world that is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, young people need to be given the opportunity to learn ICT skills in an interesting, challenging and relevant way.

“Schools should provide a range of ICT courses that are suitably matched to students’ needs, support them with their learning and prepare them for higher education and for skilled work in a technological age.”

In 30 of the 74 secondary schools visited, nearly half of students reached the age of 16 without adequate foundation for further study or training in ICT and related subjects.

The numbers studying GCSE ICT have dropped since 2007. This year 31,800 students attempted the examination compared with 81,100 in 2007 – a reduction of 64 per cent. There has also been a reduction in the number of entries at A level ICT.

In contrast, there has been a considerable increase in the number of student completing vocational awards in ICT – 212,900 students completed OCR Nationals, a popular suite of vocational qualifications, compared with 58,900 in 2008.

Despite the fact girls perform better than boys in ICT, fewer girls chose to study the subject in Key Stage 4 and beyond. The report recommends that schools encourage girls to continue studying ICT beyond the ages of 14 and 16 by engaging with local IT businesses to bring the subject alive and provide a fuller understanding of ICT-related career options.

The teaching of ICT was outstanding in three of the secondary schools visited and good in 32, but it was no better than satisfactory in just over half. Where teaching was no better than satisfactory, the use of assessment to track pupils’ progress was poor, which led to teachers and pupils lacking an understanding of current performance and what was needed to improve. It also meant that sometimes students repeated work from previous years.

In both primary and secondary schools there were weaknesses in teaching more demanding topics such as databases and programming, highlighting the need for schools to provide subject-specific support and professional development to improve teachers’ confidence and expertise.

When teaching was good or outstanding, lessons were well planned with a variety of activities that were differentiated to meet individual students’ needs, and students were clear about their own current level and what they needed to do to improve.”

Notes to editors

  1. The report ICT in schools 2008-11 can be found on the Ofsted website at www.ofsted.gov.uk
  2. The previous ICT report ‘The importance of ICT: information and communication technology in primary and secondary schools, 2005/2008, can be found at the following link: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/importance-of-ict-information-and-communication-technology-primary-and-secondary-schools-20052008
  3. The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children’s social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection. 



Itslearning Webinar: Research into Student Use

November 28, 2011

I recently conducted a webinar for itslearning entitled “How to succeed with learning  platforms – new research into the student’s perspective”. The webinar raised some questions including:

What do students really think of learning platforms? And how can they be used  most effectively to improve the performance of teachers and students?

You can listen to and watch a recording of the webinar at http://info.itslearning.net/Wallacerecorded.html?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRokvaXLZKXonjHpfsX%2F7ugkXrHr08Yy0EZ5VunJEUWy24ICSNQhcOuuEwcWGog8yRhLFuWUbo5J9PI%3D

Next Generation Learning Conference 2012

November 14, 2011

I was pleased to be invited to speak at the “Next Generation Learning Conference ” in Falun, Sweden in 2012.

The conference is being hosted by Dalarna University in collaboration with KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and is a Nordic conference on the implications for learning and education of the digital revolution. The conference is aimed at development and research projects on NGL in both educational and professional settings.

Next Generation Learning Conference include, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Mobility and learning
  • Self-paced learning and open educational resources
  • Information-tools and knowledge processes
  • New knowledge processes within the working life
  • Web-based higher education
  • Collaborative learning
  • Learning environments and the modern school

You can read more detailed descriptions of each topic on their respective page at http://www.du.se/en/NGL/Next-Generation-Learning-Conference-2012/

Sexting, Griefing, Piracy, Privacy and Massively Multiplayer Thumbwrestling

October 31, 2011

Last week I was fortunate to be at the First International Symposium on Digital Ethics hosted by The Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University, Chicago. The first keynote speaker, Jan McGonigal (author of “Reality is Broken”) had us playing Massively Multiplayer Thumbwrestling, a good way to boost oxytocin levels and a metaphor for online gaming. All the presentations were excellent indeed but for me there were several highlights: Jo-Ann Oravec talked about the ethics of sexting and
issues involving consent and the production of intimate content. Richard Wojak examined griefing through the virtual world and the moral status of griefing. Brian Carey took a controversial look at piracy and the times when it may be ethically permissible. Alex Gekker offered some fascinating insights into ‘Anonymous’ and the governmental oversight of the internet. A lunchtime treat
was Julian Dibbell reprising his seminal 1990s piece originally published in the Village Voice entitled “A Rape in Cyberspace“. Charles Ess provided an insightful view into privacy, the self and new media.

There is much to be learnt in this provocative and emergent area, and I look forward to hearing and sharing some further thoughts
on digital ethics.

Programme for Digital Ethics Symposium, Loyola University, Chicago

October 26, 2011

Subversive Uses of the Web
Instrumental Play, or the Moral Risks of Gamification
Miguel Sicart, IT University of Copenhagen

The Ethics of Sexting:Issues Involving Consent and the Production of Intimate Content
Jo Ann Oravec, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater

Griefing through the virtual world: The moral status of griefing
Roland Wojak, Colorado State University

Permissible Piracy?
Brian Carey, University of Manchester

Legionnaires of Chaos: “Anonymous” and governmental oversight of the Internet
Alex Gekker, Utrecht University

Ethics, Research & Privacy

Ethics of e-Research
Sally Wyatt, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Research Ethics in the 2.0 Era: Conceptual Gaps for Ethicists, Researchers, IRBs
Michael Zimmer, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Protecting participants in private digital publics: Considerations for the ethics of fabrication
Annette Markham, Aarhus University, Denmark

Bridging the distance: removing the technology buffer and finding consistent ethical analysis in computer security research
Katherine Carpenter, University of Denver
David Dittrich, University of Washington

Citizenship, Journalism & Public Talk

Shaping our Shadow
Erin B. Reilly, Annenberg Innovation Lab

What Makes a Public Figure a Public Figure? And Other Ethical Issues Related to Reasonable Expectations of Online Privacy
Vanessa P. Dennen & Jennifer B. Myers, Florida State University

Disclosing material connections online: Legal and ethical issues
David Kamerer, Loyola University Chicago

Ethics of Citizen Journalism Sites
Jessica Roberts and Linda Steiner. University of Maryland

Philosophical Considerations

Privacy, the Self and New Media
Charles Ess, Aarhus University

Could and Should the Ought Disappear from Ethics?
Anthony F. Beavers, University of Evansville

What Makes a Public Figure a Public Figure? And Other Ethical Issues Related to Reasonable Expectations of Online Privacy
Vanessa P. Dennen & Jennifer B. Myers, Florida State University
Identity and the Web of Information: A Look at Mug Shot Mania in Digital Media.
Sokthan Yeng and Mark Grabowski, Adelphi University

ELSE Conference in Bucharest, Romania

October 13, 2011

I have had my paper on an analysis of national patterns of learning platform use by students in schools and academies accepted for the  8th International Scientific Conference eLearning and Software for Education, Bucharest Romania,  April, 26th – 27th, 2012. Conference details are at http://elseconference.eu/. I hope to see some of you there.

%d bloggers like this: