Poll: What is more important? More computers or more ICT?

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Blue Skies Thread, What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT in General; What's the difference? Do we give students more computers in ICT lessons or spread them out over other subject areas?...
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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    What's the difference? Do we give students more computers in ICT lessons or spread them out over other subject areas?

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    In our school we are moving to using ICT as just another Learning tool, and our ICT rooms and Laptops are getting used more and more across other subjects. I think we should make ICT available as much as possible to other subjects, obviously you need to support the IT lessons and they need a baseline amount of resource..

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    Cross Curricular - I'm all for IT being seen as an aid rather than a specialism - it should be part of everything to an extent. Yes we need specialists but as Uni's etc say - they prefer untrained candidates for programming etc anyway.

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    I also feel that ICT needs to be used in all subjects across all year groups to fully achieve the best potential for our students. Whether it be more computers in cross-curricular subects are simple use of an interactive whiteboard in a lesson it all helps at the end of the day.

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    It has to be an even split in my view, you do need IT teaching and main IT rooms, but I also do see the need for IT in all subjects. Its a hard one to make an even split or judgement over, I know that some staff where I have worked would love an IT rooms (IE 30 PCs) for there personal teaching of there subject, but if you offer 10 GCSE choices and each one wants 30 machines per subject as a minmum that would be a lot more machines. I like the way I have worked it in the past, have a number of IT rooms as well as trying to have smaller clusters in departmental areas it seems to work well and be well received by teachers. But what ever you do you will not please everyone.

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    We've been told that we need to have more machines (half a dozen or so) in each room as well as the IT suites. The IT suites are used for other subjects when not in use for ICT. D&T and Art have their own dedicated suites of 30 machines each. I do worry about the reliance on computers. We had one pupil whose account was disabled for a week, and she was told to use pen and paper, but when I saw her in class all she was doing was occasionally trying to log on and being informed that her account was disabled, which is all she'd done for 40 minutes.
    There was an interesting comment by a schools' examiner a few months back that pupils taking exams didn't have the experience of sitting down and actually writing for 1, 2, or 3 hours. They had the knowledge, but not the stamina.

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    cross-curricular, definitely.
    however , this *does* need to be backed up with effective training of teaching staff to maximise the potential of the equipment (and minimise over-burdening of tech support !!)

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    Quote Originally Posted by pinemarten
    cross-curricular, definitely.
    however , this *does* need to be backed up with effective training of teaching staff to maximise the potential of the equipment (and minimise over-burdening of tech support !!)
    Now if that don't hit the nail on the head I don't know what does..

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    A computer is just another productivity tool, like calculators, slide rules & log tables have been in the past. Students should be taught how to use computers and become confident & accomplished in their use but there are limits to what is truly useful, especially in specialist ICT courses such as DiDA which seems to focus so heavily on multimedia.

    I believe that computers should be used 'when appropriate' to support teaching & learning across the whole curriculum rather than just in ICT. Many schools are keen to teach ICT as a subject to large numbers of students because it helps the school deliver 'results' which affect their league table ranking rather than because it is a genuinely useful subject to learn for so many.

    It's a shame that OFSTED has only recently woken up to the fact that many schools are tailoring their curriculum to deliver the best 'league table' position & this does not necessarily translate to the best 'education' for students.

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    Good question Tony.

    We are moving towards a cross-curricular use of ICT rather than focusing on ICT as a separate subject. Even though ICT resources are used here by other departments it isn't happening as much as the Head would like, and I kind of agree.

    My personal opinion is that we need a balance. We need specific ICT lessons and resources for those lessons but we also need to be seeing more use of ICT through other subjects.

    Specific lesson in ICT because then we can teach students about ICT rather than linking them with the myth that ICT is all about Office!

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    It is possible to setup a system if the required volume of computer rooms or suites are available to the whole school curriculum. This would be a bookable system whereupon the subject teachers could book a computer suite capable of seating up to 35 pupils at one time. This would not interfere with the normal ICT subject teaching.
    Also it doesn't cost long term as much as the so called wireless based laptop trolley's which are not only heavy to move about but cause no end of problems not only in the short term but also the long term (i.e. Batteries not functioning, trolley's not recharging, wireless AP losing connection plus the slow throughput to name but a few).
    So in answer to the question i would say more computers in large scale enviroment which could be used for two classes at one time.

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    Are there any studies out there that prove ICT actually raises standards, not just presentation but standards? You may think the use of IT does, and indeed it may but is there any proof that in UK schools standards have improved through the use of ICT. You will all be aware that ICT use in badly managed classrooms can waste an incredible amount of time i.e. pupils not on task or playing with some other software package. You could also make a differentiation here; A Teacher using a IWB could be seen as a more effective use than a class of pupils sat at a PC working or not as the case maybe.

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    Have a look on the Becta site for the various studies that have taken place looking at this.

    The main criteria are measuring Attainment and Achievement, and this has been done through the BECTa Test Bed project along with ImpaCT2.

    The "What the research says..." series tries to provide schools with real world examples around this research, including subject specific ideas that can be used as evidence or advice to help with intervention.

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    Quote Originally Posted by petectid
    You could also make a differentiation here; A Teacher using a IWB could be seen as a more effective use than a class of pupils sat at a PC working or not as the case maybe.
    The Testbed study used to small a group to be significant for Secondary schools nationwide. Take note of my above comment. Do we need classrooms full of PCs or an IWB for classroom use, which would be most effective?

    The what the research link just gives us papers on what has been done and is being done in some subjects, there is not much evidence in these papers on the raising of standards.
    Raising pupil attainment
    It is often difficult to establish hard evidence
    of improved pupil achievement as a result of
    using ICT. Isolating the impact of ICT from all
    other influences that can affect achievement
    can be problematic (Rudd, 2001). However,
    positive relationships between ICT use and
    pupil achievement have been found in
    specific subjects. Statistically significant gains
    in National Curriculum levels or GCSE grades
    were found in Key Stage 2 English, Key Stage
    3 science, and in KS4 science.This
    relationship, though, was not found to be
    consistent, suggesting that the ways in which
    ICT is used, and not just the amount of use,
    have a significant effect on pupil attainment.
    (Harrison et al., 2002)
    The above is a quote from one of your referenced documents.

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    Re: What is more important? Cross-Curricular or Discreet ICT

    And now we get to the crux of it ... ICT as a tool that enables learning ... but is only as good as the lesson / context it is used in.

    The issue I have with the ICT Test Bed is that they did not use the same materials in the same subjects to produce validified results. However, a commercial company did their own research (SAMlearning) and found thet their resources (structured learning objects delivered via ICT) help raise attainment by over a grade. Without being cynical about this we could say that any such structured series of learning objects could raise attainment. Indeed, if you look at the work the NLN is doing on the use of Learning Objects you can see that the development of independant learning is based around each object / resource having an impact on the attainment of the student when used in a structured learning path with specified targets that are viewed as achievable.

    I would say that it is the use of the tool, and not the tool itself, that needs looking at ...

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