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Learning, Computers & the Primary Classroom

A residential conference aimed at continuing professional development for primary school teachers held in collaboration with the National Primary Centre
When Jun 18, 1993 to
Jun 19, 1993
Where Danbury, Essex

SESSION SUMMARY

IT in the National Curriculum: Where are we going?

Stephen Heppell & Richard Millwood

This session introduces the conference and leads into a look at the current state of IT in the National Curriculum, SATs and allows delegates to exchange news from their own institutions.

[1] Working with information

Stephen Heppell

The four strand sessions of the conference match four of the five strands for IT in the National Curriculum. This first strand highlights databases, spreadsheets and large information systems, their current & future rôle in the primary learning environment.

[2] Modelling

Richard Millwood

The opportunity to explore theoretical models in a non-threatening and liberating way is one of the key opportunities that IT offers, but is generally poorly understood. This session addresses the key ideas in modelling and how primary children may develop conceptual understanding and skills and to begin to understand the many computer models in use everyday life, such as that underpinning the weather forecast.

[3] Presenting and Communicating

John Davitt

Wordprocessing has contributed to children’s self esteem by giving them a new and exciting channel of communication which they perceive as of high quality. Other opportunities exist and will be communicated and presented (!) in this session.

[4] Social implications of IT

Stephen Heppell

From the touch-sensitive keyboard in MacDonalds to the linked traffic lights in our city centres children’s everyday lives are permeated by computers. This session focusses on some of the social implications of computing that are rewardin and challenging to present in the primary classroom.

The Classroom of the Future, Computer Games - Children’s Vice or Virtue, A look back at the history of educational computing.

Although the National Curriculum is a key focus in this conference, in the long term these sessions presented by a range of speakers, may well prove to be the more important! They will be entertaining, provoking and occasionally participative sessions which may help delegates to consider some of the contextual issues surrounding IT and learning.

 

These were the notes for session 4:

Social Implications of IT

How is the use of Information Technology affecting our society?

To help answer this question, try to answer the following:

1 List all the places where your name is held on a computer database.

2 Explain where a computer is involved in the life of

  • A Ford Sierra
  • The television news & weather
  • Hollywood films

3 What percentage of your financial transactions do you make with cash?

4 What hope is there for making Information Technology an “non-gendered” activity?

“So long as technological training and work have a function in building and burnishing masculinity it cannot be accessible to women.”
Cynthia Cockburn (1984) ‘Women and Technology: opportunity is not enough’ in Jones & Scrimshaw (Eds.) Computers in Education 5-13.

What is our reaction as education professionals to this?

“Offer students basic competence.”

“The truth is that our society is already shaped primarily by the designs of the few and the momentum of technology, and it makes no sense to suggest that a minimal understanding of computers will empower an already technologically impotent citizenry. Computer literacy does not provide the public with tools for wrestling control of these technologies from the hands of corporate decision-makers. In fact, it is more likely that a focus on minimal technical competence ... will lead to a sort of pseudo-control, a false sense that one has power simply because one can make a computer do a little something. Real control of the direction the new technology will take involves political understanding, not trivial technical understanding, and it must focus on decisions which affect the design and use of large systems, not on the ability to create catchy little BASIC programs.”
Douglas Noble (1984) ‘The Underside of Computer Literacy’, Raritan Review, 3 Spring p 55.

In what way should this guide us in our practice with students and pupils?

The National Curriculum statements related to social implications:

LEVEL 4

d) Understand the need to question the accuracy of displayed information and that results produced by a computer may be affected by incorrect data entry. Example: Correct a file of data about individuals in the class in which some data has deliberately been entered incorrectly.

f) Review their experience of information technology and consider applications in everyday life. Example: Investigate overlay keyboards used in fast-food shops.

LEVEL 5

e) Understand that personal information may be held on computer, which is of interest to themselves and their families. Example: Collect correspondence received by their families which has been addressed using computer databases and discuss data needed to produce it.

LEVEL 6

e) Review experiences of using information technology and consider other applications and their impact on everyday life. Example: Compare own use of control devices with bar codes used for automatic stock control in supermarkets; compare own expression of information using IT with computer-produced bills or personalised mail and consider the implications of access to personal information.

LEVEL 8

e) Understand why electronically stored personal information is potentially easier to misuse than that kept in conventional form. Example: Consider cases of computer fraud and unauthorised access to computer files.

LEVEL 9

c) Understand the effects of inaccurate data in files of personal information. Example: Research cases where the use of inaccurate data has caused inconvenience; investigate safeguards on access to personal data in computer systems.

LEVEL 10

b) Discuss the environmental, ethical, moral, and social issues raised by information technology. Example: Visit organisations making extensive use of information technology, prepare for the visit by deciding issues to be discussed with employees, such as how information technology was introduced, its effects on their work, their view of information technology; make suggestions about how the introduction of information technology might have been improved.

(Words: 1070 )

Filed under:

Lewis Carroll describes a fictional map that had:

"the scale of a mile to the mile."

A character notes some practical difficulties with such a map and states that:

"we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well."
— Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, Lewis Carroll, 1893

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Timeline key:

The dissertation and portfolio for Richard Millwood's PhD by Retrospective Practice titled 'The Design Of Learner-centred, Technology-enhanced Education'. education & The dissertation and portfolio for Richard Millwood's PhD by Retrospective Practice titled 'The Design Of Learner-centred, Technology-enhanced Education'. employment

The dissertation and portfolio for Richard Millwood's PhD by Retrospective Practice titled 'The Design Of Learner-centred, Technology-enhanced Education'. project

The dissertation and portfolio for Richard Millwood's PhD by Retrospective Practice titled 'The Design Of Learner-centred, Technology-enhanced Education'. professional

The dissertation and portfolio for Richard Millwood's PhD by Retrospective Practice titled 'The Design Of Learner-centred, Technology-enhanced Education'. conference

The dissertation and portfolio for Richard Millwood's PhD by Retrospective Practice titled 'The Design Of Learner-centred, Technology-enhanced Education'. publication

The dissertation and portfolio for Richard Millwood's PhD by Retrospective Practice titled 'The Design Of Learner-centred, Technology-enhanced Education'. teaching

The dissertation and portfolio for Richard Millwood's PhD by Retrospective Practice titled 'The Design Of Learner-centred, Technology-enhanced Education'.selected for the PhD