Blog Archives

Are you smarter than a 10-year old?

I’m a big fan of the Sky quizshow “Are you smarter than a 10 year old“. I’m more than impressed with the confidence and knowledge on show from the 10-year olds in the class. But what I really am enthralled by is the variety and depth of subject domains that 10-year-olds in the UK study on their national curriculum.  I’ve seen numerous versions of the show, and I have to say “I am not smarter than a 10-year-old”.

But now, alas, alas, it’s all changing.

The latest suggest the primary school curriculum in the UK should do away with the emphasis on historical, geographical and ….. other factual type subjects and replace them with more practical and everyday skills like twitter and wikipedia, typing, blogging etc.

I’m a big fan of such web 2.0 tools and applaud attempts to incorporate them into the education curriculum. But such incorporation at the exclusion of important subject knowledge areas like the Victorian period or the Second World War is worrying.

However, as I have mentioned in here previously – at least the Uk are actively trying to get more IT skills and subject matter into their schools. When will Ireland learn the importance of this matter?

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Lack of ict in second level

Ofsted are the UK group responsible for “inspecting and regulating to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages”.  Their latest report suggests a concern for lack of takeup of ICT by those at a-level.

Between 2004 and 2007 the number of girls taking the subject dropped by 45% and by almost 1/3 by boys. Ofsted aren’t convinced by the value of so called “vocational” IT qualifications that students can take in lieu. There is concern that students who take the subject for the formal GCSEs or a-levels are not being stretched and some schools are not able to emphasis the importance of ICT and are unable to embed it across all subjects.

At least, there is an effort in the UK to emphasise the importance of ICT. In Ireland, of the 34 subjects students can take in the Leaving Cert, ICT is nowhere to be found. Some schools make very admirable efforts at embedding ICT in their teaching and learning but it would be useful to have a top-driven initiative to emphasise the importance of ICT. The Uk government recognise this importance, it’s about we in Ireland did likewise.