Reshaping Schools ICT? Make the way for programming! by Yasemin Allsop

Reshaping Schools ICT? Make the way for programming! by Yasemin Allsop

Watching a Hollywood movie a few months ago brought many thoughts to my mind. The old wise monk was sitting in his mountain top monastery. He was getting ready his tea and also having a conversation with his student. The student had so many worries about what was happening in the world. The monk took the tea-cup and began to fill it. As it overflowed from the younger monk’s tea cup, spilling tea onto the table. The student monk held out his hand to signal to the elder to stop pouring. He told him it is full. The old monk answers: “Like this cup you are full of opinions and speculations. To see the light of wisdom, you must first, empty your cup.”

Some may ask what the link is between this conversation and ICT in education. Well, I believe that our ICT lessons have not been as boring as some politicians suggest. Some of us had cracking lessons.

It is rather about the content of our technology lessons, how it has been delivered and made relevant to students. Yes programming will probably enrich our lessons and take it to a different stage, but  research shows that there are so many amazing tools that we have been using also have a great potential to implement technology into our curriculum.  The example from the Holywood movie reminds me that the students brains are like a cup and we have to stop filling it up with irrelevant knowledge and spend more time on transferrable skills to equip them with the wisdom of life.

At that point I would like to mention another movie which was about Hypathia, the great teacher from Alexandrea. She asks the children many questions, yet doesn’t just stand and tell them everything she knows, she allows them to think and experiment with their ideas, sometimes for months.

So when we translate this to today, we are very good at firing thousands of pieces of information and knowledge at our students, but not giving them enough time to apply and develop their own ideas. Much of this knowledge won’t even be remembered, as it is not useful for life! So the issue is not about technology, or which tool is better, it is more about how we approach education in the whole. You can tell a group of children how to create an animation, but then if you do not give them enough time to plan and work on a project, how will they develop their applying skills, or team working, organisation, creating, critical thinking or most importantly communication? Well, some may ask ‘Is technology is the only way to achieve this?’ and the answer is, of course not, you can use drama, PE and many other subejcts, however, the kids love technology, so why not use it to reach and teach them. I haven’t tried programming with a class yet. I will start teaching it from September. We will see how it goes. So, come on give programming a chance, lets find out if we can re-shape our ICT in our classroom.

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