Response to the Review of the National Curriculum Call for Evidence

Issued 20 April 2011

When it overhauls the National Curriculum for schools in England, the Government should give active encouragement to the use of ICT to support all subjects. This will involve a radical overhaul to ensure that subject content is preserved and extended around the latest technologies, says the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) in its response to the Review of the National Curriculum Call for Evidence.

ALT says in its response to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education that if it is to reflect changes in society and to equip young people for the modern world and for further study, the National Curriculum must take account of the way that ICT can enhance the work of teachers, making learning more productive, more adaptive, more social, more stretching, more flexible and more inclusive.

The ALT submission draws on a wide range of evidence, including from the Technology Enhanced Learning Research Programme (TEL), part of the ten-year, £43m Teaching and Learning Research Programme, which has signposted a series of reforms to improve learning through more effective use of ICT. The director of the programme, Professor Richard Noss, says: "the National Curriculum review is an opportunity to ensure that research into Technology-Enhanced Learning can make an impact on what children learn and how they learn it. The demands of our educational system simply cannot be met unless the latest findings of research in the field are exploited".

“The pervasive use of ICT is a prerequisite of the future knowledge society”, said Professor John Cook, Chair of the ALT Research Committee, which prepared the ALT response. “This is not to abandon essential core bodies of knowledge, understanding and skills that a national curriculum obviously needs. Rather, it is to encourage the Government to acknowledge the fundamental importance of ICT as a “power for good” in the delivery of an overhauled national curriculum, and as a vehicle to support the learning of analytical, systems, and abstract thinking.”

The ALT response emphasises the skills and attitudes pupils need to acquire for work, for further and higher education, and generally for participation in society, making the point that technology can make teaching and learning more flexible, so that study no longer has to have such an exclusive focus on the classroom or laboratory.

In its submission to the Review, ALT says:

“To be effective in the changing environment requires that the designers of the National Curriculum understand the implications of the technologies that are driving changes in society, and from which education is not immune.

One way to think about these changes is in terms of customisation, interaction, and control:

  • Customisation, which refers to providing people with the knowledge they want when they want it and to supporting and guiding them as they learn.
  • Interaction, which refers to the ability of computers to give learners immediate feedback and to engage learners through simulation in accomplishing realistic tasks.
  • Control, which refers to putting learners in charge of their learning, so they feel ownership and can direct their learning where their interests take them.”

The full submission is available on the ALT Open Access Repository at http://goo.gl/Y531x.

Notes to Editors

About ALT

1) ALT (the Association for Learning Technology) is a professional and scholarly association which brings together those with an interest in the use of learning technology.

2) Well over 700 individuals belong to ALT, as do over 200 universities, colleges, other learning providers, Government Agencies, and businesses. Sponsoring members include:

Adobe Systems Europe Ltd | BIS | Blackboard Learn | Blackboard Collaborate | BTL | Desire2Learn | Epigeum Ltd | Google | HEFCE | JANET(UK) | JISC | LSIS | Microsoft | The National College | Pearson | Scottish Qualifications Authority | SFA | Talis | The Higher Education Academy | The Positive Internet Company | Toshiba Information Systems (UK) Ltd | Tribal Education Ltd | Ufi | Welsh Assembly Government

Association for Learning Technology, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford, OX3 0BP Tel: +44 (0)1865 484 125 Fax: +44 (0)1865 484 165 Email: admin@alt.ac.uk URL: http://www.alt.ac.uk/

ALT is a Registered Charity in the UK, number: 1063519

For further information contact

Ian Nash
Nash&Jones Partnership
Journalism and Media Consultancy
www.nashandjones.co.uk
01992 587949
07812 996209

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