The course run by CEPAC at the University of Ulster for teachers was a great introduction to some coding that could be useful in the classroom. Northern Ireland is way behind England with ICT. In England ICT has changed to computing and it seems to be really popular. The whole curriculum has changed and is supported at all levels, by Government, local Government and by Industry.
Will the nature of ICT change in Northern Ireland. Since the introduction of Using ICT it has been virtual chaos. Teachers have not had the skills to teach children, and the ICT departments have been hacked to pieces with not getting proper time to teach children good and lasting skills and techniques.
Are there enough ICT teachers or are there enough qualified computer experts to teach the skills necessary for the 21st Century? Industry in Northern Ireland, and top economists are calling out for computer programmers, yet there is not the skill, the expertise, the time, the teaching staff, nor the support to deliver this.
What is the way forward? Will NI go the way of England in introducing scheduled classes of ICT with programming modules, so that at GCSE there can be a programming module, and at A level there can also be programming? The take up will never be huge as it is difficult for children and not everyone can hack it (pardon the pun)! However, it would enable kids to have an opportunity to find if they have the skills and qualities to take up programming for a future career.
I think that ICT as a scheduled subject, treated like English and Maths in terms of its importance to the overall curriculum, taught with qualified teachers, could guide students in high level ICT skills, computing skills, and logical skills, and this would enhance thinking skills and develop their minds for GCSE at all levels of ICT.