ICT - a damaged brand?

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This discussion links to the bliki entry of the same name (3-Dec-2012).

Do you think ICT is a damaged brand?
Do you think that the subject name should be changed, and if so what would you call it?

PeterT11:01, 3 December 2012
Edited by author.
Last edit: 15:22, 6 December 2012

I think we can go on changing names, ad infinitum, but that in itself changes nothing. One can understand CAS, BCS and RAE wanting to push for renaming (rebranding) ICT, it would then give them a disproportionate stake and influence over a curriculum in which, after all, they are not the key stakeholders. The rhetoric of the ‘damaged brand’ is a straw man designed to achieve a fait accompli.

I don’t think anyone would argue against a rethink of the ICT curriculum, indeed the minimalist nature of the PoS, (if you remove the surrounding waffle and the inconsistent or misdirected use of language), opens up real opportunities for an implementation that is relevant and aware of possible futures - but let’s be clear this is NOT rebranding.

Like it or not ICT is an internationally recognised acronym and is the default for the educational use of computing and information technology in education, by many, including the European Union, UNESCO and the World Bank. ICT is used as a flag to attract research papers and delegates to international conferences and for those reasons I think we should resist the knee jerk calls, and carry on using ICT. I believe we need to maintain a sense of, (global), perspective and context, and not go down a one way alley to accommodate the transient, either: here today - gone tomorrow, politicians, or self serving ideologies.

Theo Kuechel00:23, 5 December 2012

There are certainly some vested interests at work here who are trying to play up the damaged brand notion so that the subject gets renamed. In so doing they are damaging the brand. The challenge for folk who want to retain ICT is surely how to counter the lobbying of these other vested interests. If we just sit back and do nothing whilst BCS/CAS, RAEng and other influential voices are actively trying to persuade the DfE to change the name of the National Curriculum subject then I would guess that the name will get changed. How do you think we should counter this move?

PeterT06:01, 5 December 2012

I don't think it is mainly about brand damage and certainly not about vested interests. To say that those who have criticised the ICT term are thereby responsible for damaging the brand is just shooting the messenger.

Getting rid of "ICT" is about getting our terminology straight.

The main problem with ICT is that it is a confused term which muddles together several things - which leads to some muddled thinking about technology in education more generally. I have made this argument in http://edtechnow.net/2012/01/18/scrapping-ict/ and more recently at http://edtechnow.net/2012/11/17/digital-literacy-and-the-new-ict-curriculum/. The same argument - more or less - was also made by the Royal Society report. If you think that ICT is a useful term, then that is the argument you need to rebut.

As an acronym, ICT is not used outside education - and if it is used in education outside the UK, it is only because it was exported by the UK.

Crispin Weston19:32, 5 December 2012

I agree that the term ICT is used to mean several different things (see my bliki post on that subject). However I think that CAS and BCS do have a vested interest in changing the name of the subject. Their 'underhand behaviour' to mis-quote Merlin John doesn't seem to me to reflect the actions of folk who want to engage the wider educational community in deciding on the best way forward for the subject.

PeterT06:07, 12 December 2012

Agree the terminology is an all encompassing term more suited to cope with the skill levels of the teachers in the particular institution where pupils interact with digital technology (ICT does include all forms including use of mobile forms). The use of basic Office packages is a core skill and therefore you could consider is ICT a subject or should the aspects of word processing, presentation and spreadsheets be taught in Maths, English or Art curricula. I am suggesting that ICT should have the status of core or common skills. It is cross curricular! With the investment in teacher training in ICT for the last 10 or so years should we still be teaching ICT as a separate subject!

The trick is to have the technology disappear into the background and not be the learning objective. Teach the skills when they are needed for a practical use in core subjects. "ICT" is as much an enabler as being able to read or write or add up. If we want to teach Computer Science do so and not confuse it with personal communication and core skills training for the 21st Century Work place! As former Head of Science and ICT very frustrating when staff do not match pupils ability to their subject curricular progression. (In brackets for a reason, especially when they are asking the pupils to do something they are often not able to do themselves.) Understandable why this story about unused http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20348322 is no surprise.

PSpalding06:47, 27 December 2012

I'm not sure I totally agree with you PSpalding. In principe I agree that it is most effective to learn skills in context, but

  • There is a real danger of teachers focussing on the things they feel comfortable with, which may mean for some/many children that they are not taught effective ICT skills
  • ICT is not just about skills see my earlier attempt at a definition
  • The system, and in particular the assessment and accountability elements of it, mitigate against the use of digital technology much/most of the time. Combine this with the endemic and growing level of risk aversion in education and it is no wonder that most teachers don't experiment with the new pedagogical models that would fit best with the use of digital technology (but represent a transformation of practice according to the Education Innovation Framework (EdIF)).
PeterT08:01, 3 January 2013

(I moved this comment to here. It was made by User:, who I have asked to register with areal name!)

It seems to me that there could be an argument that with very low UCAS points requiremments, poor employability rates and declining enrolments it is Computer Science which could be the "damaged brand" not ICT?

PeterT06:08, 11 December 2012

This seems to be Bob Harrison, at least Bob is making the same point at http://www.agent4change.net/policy/curriculum/1904-computational-thinkers-use-gove-back-door-for-ict.html, where I have answered at some length.

Crispin Weston23:33, 11 December 2012

You are correct Crispin. :0)

PeterT05:57, 12 December 2012