Dragons Today - Summer 2013 - page 5

IT Dragons
Science iPad trial
‘‘I set Year 8 a project on coral reefs and did
not lay out any rules for using the iPads; they
were simply one of the resources available for
research. I was blown away by the way the
pupils just picked them up and got on with the
task with complete focus. It was as positive an
example of learning as I could have imagined!
The pupils said it added a whole new dimension
to their learning and was very valuable as most
of them are required to start at their senior
schools with their own laptop or iPad.’’
Kate Kettlewell
Head of Science
Above: Pupils test iPads as research
tools in class
From the Headmaster:
John Baugh
Digital Creators, Not Consumers
When I first became a Headmaster in
1986, there was a single BBC Micro
computer on a bench at the back of
the science laboratory. Each break
time a knot of children (mostly boys)
would gather around the single screen
and work at programming and what
we now called coding. After a while,
we bought another machine and
then another. Soon we had the back
bench lined with computers of all
kinds, including some ZX Spectrums.
If this sounds like a nostalgic journey
into a more romantic past - it is. The
children assembled in this rather
dark and dingy corner of the science
laboratory were explorers, inventors
and adventurers. They created code
and wrote programmes and they had
the time of their lives. They went into
places that those on the playground
never knew existed. Until much later,
of course - because these children
tapping away at the keys of ancient
computers turned into the game and
software designers of the present day.
Those boys kicking their balls around
the playground soon came to be
kicking a virtual ball around a digital
stadium in the later versions of
Football Manager and other spinoffs;
games created and designed by those
upstairs and far away from the scraped
knees and banged heads of those
playground battles.
So what does this have to do with
the Dragon?
Since those days – and since the
development and growth of business
applications on computers – children
have spent more time as consumers
than creators. They have either
become absorbed in the addictive
fantasy worlds of video games or been
slaves to learning how the business
products of Microsoft work – or don’t.
Prompted by the words of Google’s
Eric Schmidt, and picking up the
gauntlet thrown down by the Education
Secretary, in 2012...
…..from September 2013 we are
extending the ICT curriculum. We
have employed a specialist computer
programming teacher to allow children
to return to the days when they were
the creators and not the consumers.
Dragon children of all ages will have
the opportunity to be coding and
programming and we will be releasing
what Skipper Lynam (1908) called the
“full scope for all of imagination and
originality” in the child.
The Dragon digital world is about
to get very much more interesting.
‘‘Imagine the dramatic
change which could be
possible in just a few
years, once we remove the
roadblock of the existing
ICT curriculum. Instead of
children bored out of their
minds being taught how
to use Word and Excel by
bored teachers, we could
have 11-year-olds able to
write simple 2D computer
animations using an MIT
tool called Scratch’’
Michael Gove
D R A G O N S T O D A Y . S U M M E R 2 0 1 3
1,2,3,4 6,7,8,9,10,11,12
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