Understanding ICT

ICT the subject (now “Computing")
In order to use any computer technology, whether it’s a desktop computer, a mobile device, or your home automation, you have to master a set of skills.

When computers first entered the National Curriculum in 1989, a set of skills was identified and named ‘IT Capability’. It was later renamed ‘ICT Capability’ but the content remained unchanged.

ICT Capability meant the ability to use new technology fluently and, from the very beginning, it included any form of information and communications technology from a simple MP3 player to the entire Internet. It was not limited to computers.

The skills identified were surprisingly future-proof. The new curriculum did not include “Children must be taught to use Microsoft Office” the wording was “Children must be taught to communicate using ICT”. If you think about it, this is still relevant three decades later, despite the astounding technological progress that has been made in the intervening years.

1. Information Technology Capability

This chart was created in 1998 and contains and covers the entire ICT Programme of Study for children between the ages of 5 and 11 years. If you look along the rows horizontally you will see what each 'strand' of ICT Capability contains. If you look down the column most appropriate for your class you will see what your children should be doing this year.

Bear in mind that, when this chart was made, YouTube didn’t exist, nor did touchscreens, Social Neworking or Amazon! Google didn’t arrive until September of 1998.

Yet if you think about it, the content in these boxes is still amazingy relevant today. 

  • Five year olds (Level 1) should be writing sentences or pictures to tell a story. Today they could include using video. 
  • Seven years olds (Level 2) should be saving and retrieving their work, and editing it to develop it further. Today, their computers and tablets are likely to be automaticaly keeping their work for them.
  • Nine year olds should be combining different forms of information with a clear sense of audience in mind. Today they could use the network or the cloud and develop their work further at home, collaborating with others.
  • Eleven years olds should be mixing information types and working with others. Today, they might be using MineCraft with others worldwide at home, and collaborating on a video to highlight Global Warming at school.

The point is, the content of the ICT Curriculum was and still is relevant.

ict capability chart 2

© Brian Smith 2015