I have to say that the prospect of a £15 computer, from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, to try and get children into programming excites me. For a long time now I’ve been worrying about children in the UK becoming complete consumers of content rather than the creators of content that we need to build and secure our future digital economy.
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The notion of getting childre to create content is one of the reason why I think that the work being carried out by the Learning and Teaching Scotland Consolarium on Computer Games Design is so important.
The way ICT is still being taught in school in Scotland (and the rest of the UK) is still also a massive worry. Although I agree that skills like letter writing, spreadsheet manipulation and digital communication are important. But I worry that many standard ICT courses continue to focus activities that have a very low skills threshold for children and that 80% of what we ask them to do will be completely irrelevant in most aspects of everyday life and non-transferable in terms of higher order thinking.
I’m keen to see more programming and creative activities in School ICT labs (and yes, I still think labs are important in some contexts) such as web design, web publishing and animation.
Accompanying this needs to be a sustained responsible use message and the teaching of digital skills that young people need to access a broad general education such as search, copyright and developed understanding of what we mean by privacy.