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close this bookInformatics for Secondary Education - A Curriculum for Schools (ED/HEP - pii-iip - IFIP - UNESCO, 1994, 103 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction - Overall Aim and Justification
View the documentSection 1 - The Curriculum Format
View the documentSection 2 - Main Objectives of the Informatics Curriculum
View the documentSection 3 - The Curriculum Units
View the documentSection 4 - General Implementation Issues
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix 1 - Computer Literacy Units
View the documentAppendix 2 - Informatics in other Disciplines
View the documentAppendix 3 - General Advanced Level Units
View the documentAppendix 4 - Vocational Advanced Level Units
View the documentAppendix 5 - Bibliography

Section 4 - General Implementation Issues

It is recognised that all developing countries will wish to adopt a curriculum which helps them rapidly to catch up with more technologically advanced countries. But it is important that the early steps in the developmental process are not ignored entirely, otherwise a dependency on other countries for technical support could be an unwelcome outcome.

Schools should be aware that developments connected with informatics in education can be very fast, and may also be separated in phases similar to the phases of information technology development in wider society. The following descriptions are provided to help determine in which phase of development countries have reached, so that they can decide on appropriate action.. The transition between phases is often gradual, but if schools and authorities are aware of which direction developments will take, they will be able to plan future actions.

Automation Phase

Only a few computers are available for a large number of students, often not of the latest generation of computer, with slow and low quality printing facilities. Application software is based on general purpose programming languages (Basic, Pascal), typically a simple word-processor, a simple file system, possibly a simple spreadsheet. Teachers have limited opportunity for training and external support, often schools have only one specialist teacher. Computers are either all located in a specialist room or dispersed as one per classroom. Students have no prior exposure to computers and have little or no keyboard skills. Informatics is usually a separate course with limited integration in other subjects.

In curriculum terms, this phase calls for units on computer programming for selected students and consideration of the social effects of introducing automated systems. Resources available for units on Computer Literacy may not be available.

IFIP Guidelines on Good Practice Integrating Information Technology into Education (see Appendix 5) gives practical advice on planning for the transition from the automation phase to the next, information phase.

Information Phase

Schools have become major users of personal computers, and most subjects have started to integrate information technology elements either for learning support or as curriculum content. National and regional policies are in place for the evaluation and supply of hardware and software, and information about systems and applications circulates freely.

The main characteristic of the Information Phase in education is the interaction between the organisation of education and information technology. In the Information Phase education is moving from teacher centred towards student centred education under the pressure of society which needs students with other competences, this movement is supported by information technology. On the other hand the increase in technical capabilities and in the use of information technology pushes educational organization in the same direction. The Information Phase is characterised by the integration of information technology into education.

Schools will have sizable numbers of computers available for their students. These computers will be accessible to students on an individual basis, and be dispersed through the school. Computers will be tied into a local area network with filing and printing facilities. A whole range of advanced application software will be available to the students. School staff, teachers and management, use computers for support in their work. Specialist maintenance support will be available. There are several teachers in the school who are specialists in computer use in the teaching of their discipline. Students may well have already acquired computer skills, either in education or at home. Informatics is, for an important part, integrated into other disciplines.

The secondary curriculum now includes general computer literacy for the majority of students, and the use of application tools within subject disciplines as well as methods and techniques from informatics such as programming.

More about the problems and possible solutions associated with the Information Phase may be found in the IFIP Guidelines for Good Practice Integration of Information Technology into Education - see Appendix 5.

Communication Phase

The Communication Phase is at the moment emerging in isolated experiments and developments. Precisely how education will be affected is not yet clear. However, this phase will be characterised by full integration of information technology in the management and delivery of learning, and in the use of networks of computers for communication and collaboration between computer users, both within the school and with outside agencies.

In schools, teachers and students will be linked in computer networks. The secondary curriculum will include general Information Technology Literacy, which is broader and deeper than Computer Literacy. Information Technology will be fully integrated in the learning process. Use of Information Technology will be fully integrated in the different subject areas, and advanced creative use' will be made of these tools on the basis of modelling methods and techniques from informatics. Application Oriented Informatics will be an elective.

Evolution of Information Technology and Education

Requirement

Automation Phase

Information Phase

Communication Phase

To know about ...

theory of computer
architecture;
formal processing;
history of informatics and information technology

what tool for what kind of task?
(Some operations, with their characteristics, are hidden under the user interface; we are evolving from an analogic world into a digital one: clock, phone, CD ...)

network architecture

To do with ...

text editor, compiler;
classical programming environment

different interfaces (languages);
tools (WP, spreadsheet ...) used creatively,
rationally

information retrieval;
collaboration

To have it done by ...

algorithms;
procedural programming;
Logo; robotics

macros (programming by "recording");
programming through word-processing, spreadsheet ...

object oriented processes

Key features

No personal use;
Tasks have to be programmed in avance... not managed by dialogue

Single user;
Tasks done by dialogue;
Use of tools

Integration;
Resource sharing;
End of individual computer

Aims:

1. To prepare for the future without dreaming about the present
2. To detect and interpret non-changing features

Further Practical Considerations

Informatics is essentially a practical subject. Informatics skills are best acquired through practical work on and with computers; informatics knowledge develops more effectively within a practical environment.

This poses problems when there is a limit to the supply of equipment to support informatics courses, but it is important to have an implementation strategy which acknowledges the need for practical experience and arranges for the supply, management and maintenance of computing equipment.

If equipment is in limited supply, at least each teacher of informatics should have ready access to computing equipment, preferably in advance of its introduction to students. Ideally this should be associated with a formal course of training so that teachers are thoroughly familiar with the content and practice of informatics. Many inspired teachers will then find ways to compensated for lack of equipment for students until the supply improves. It must be stressed that an adequate supply of equipment is a necessary condition for schools wishing to enter the Information Phase.

The Curriculum Units indicate examples of applications which help to place the objectives in context. Not all countries will be capable of implementing all of the suggestions, but teachers will be able to find examples of a similar sort which match more closely the culture and experience of their own students.

Resource Centres

Several countries, where informatics has been successfully introduced, have established resource centres for the initial training of teachers, the acquisition, evaluation and dissemination of hardware and software, and the preparation, printing and distribution of resource materials for teachers and students, ideally involving teachers in the development and evaluation phases.

Resource centres can be national or local. They represent good value for money at the beginning of the introduction of an informatics curriculum, and can be an important continuing source of support for teachers as technology changes and the country moves towards the communication phase. Good examples also exist where the facility to communicate via electronic mail between the teacher's computer and the resource centre has helped to update local skills and knowledge without the costs of travel and time away from school.

In spite of any difficulties which teachers may find when planning to introduce the recommended curriculum, they can take encouragement from the enthusiasm which most students bring to their learning of informatics. The subject is contemporary, closely linked to the real world of today and tomorrow, and its study will ensure that students are equipped to play a key role with confidence in their future society. Teachers will enjoy the challenge of learning informatics for themselves and will soon capitalise on the motivation of their students.

Implementation
Stage —>

Initial

Second

Third

Advanced


Insufficient hardware;
Few suitable teachers;
Some enthusiasts; No
Computer Science Graduates

More hardware;
In-service trained teachers
(one per school);
No Comp. Science Graduates

More hardware;
More in-service trained teachers;
Few Comp. Science Graduates

More advanced hardware;
Most teachers computer literate;
More Computer Science Graduates



All students
CORE Module
Units C1 - C10

All students
CORE Module
Units C1 - C10

All students
CORE Module
Units C1 -C10

Junior Secondary
Ages 12 - 16



All students
ELECTIVE Module
Units E1 -E3

All students
ELECTIVE Module
Units E1 -E3





Selected students
OPTIONAL PROGRAMMING
Units P1 - P2


Most students
CORE Module
Units C1 - C10

All students
ELECTIVE Module
Units E1 - E3

All students
OPTIONS Module
Units Op1 -Op11

Most students
OPTIONS Module
Unit Op1 -Op11

Senior Secondary
Ages 16 - 19

Selected students only
ELECTIVE Module
Units E1 - E3

Most students
OPTIONS Module
Units Op1 -Op11

Selected students
OPTIONAL PROGRAMMING
Units P1 - P2

Selected students
ADVANCED Modules
Units GA1 - GA3
Units VA1 -VA3
Leading to Advanced Credits



Selected students
OPTIONAL PROGRAMMING
Units P1 - P2




All programming taught at tertiary level

Students enter tertiary level with some programming experience

Students enter tertiary level with some programming experience

Some students might obtain Advanced Credits for tertiary courses while still at school