From September, the ICT National Curriculum has been disapplied. This means that schools now have the chance (if they're not already doing so) to innovate their curriculum and teach the skills that they feel their children need.
Over the last few years I've already revised the ICT curriculum that I teach to make it up-to-date (see this blog post) but last weekend I had a spark of inspiration of how to take this one step further - ask some of the children what they themselves want me to teach them. The idea came from when I was doing my GCSEs and my geography teacher started the year by asking the class to pick what topics we preferred to learn about - it really motivated us as it basically meant the curriculum was being personalised to our interests.
With Year 6, I have about a term's worth of lessons that I either feel that I 'need' to do (e.g. to teach spreadsheet modelling skills) or that work really well (e.g. creating nativity animations). For the rest of the year though, I often just make it up depending on what new online tools appear or what topics are currently being studied in class that I can do lessons linked in with (e.g. I did work on the sinking of the Titanic this year). This therefore felt like the ideal time in which I could devote some ICT lessons to teaching children the ICT skills that they want to develop.
As I like to be very organised and knew that last week was our last week before the holidays, this meant that I really needed to ask the children for their thoughts fairly quickly so that I would have the time to respond to them/plan lessons accordingly over the summer. I felt that the easiest way to question them would be to create a Google Form and invite them to fill it in. In it, I basically listed several ICT projects that they might want to be taught and asked them to rate them on how many lessons they would like devoted to them. I also included a question about doing more indepent project work (i.e. to help introduce 'learning log' style tasks to them) as well as a box to say if they had any other requests for things I could teach (e.g. if they knew of a good iPad app).
Whilst it was a bit of a challenge to get the current Year 5 children to actually fill the form in (since I wasn't actually with the class in the final week so had to find them at breaks/dinner), all of them seem pretty keen to be asked their opinion and were happy to spend a couple of minutes saying what ICT skills they would like to be taught next year.
The results of the survey showed me that:
- The topics that the class would like to spend 'lots of lessons' doing were (in descending order): website design (16), Internet research (15), digital art (14), video/photography editing (10), creating e-books (9), programming (6) and e-safety (1).
- Nearly all the class were either definitely interested or possibly interested in doing an independent research project.
Over the summer holidays, I'm now going to work out how to best incorporate the most popular topics (website design, digital art and Internet research) into the Year 6 curriculum to hopefully engage their interests next year.
If you're still in school next week, I definitely think that doing a similar survery with your children would be a great way to find out how you can innovate your ICT curriculum to meet their interests (obviously once core ICT skills have been covered)!