Let us hope that "ICT" is dead and buried

Fragment of a discussion from Talk:PeterT's bliki
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Re Conclusion

Crispin said:

So the taxonomy that I think we are heading towards is somewhat different to that which you suggest. I suggest the following:
  • Computing
    • Computer Science
    • IT
    • Digital skills
  • Education technology

We really aren't that far apart ... I think that Digital Skills implies a narrower definition that I think we need - and whilst it reflects more accurately how the Royal Society defined Digital Literacy it is not the term that they used.

We seem to be agreed that there needs to be a term to refer to the cross curricula use of digital technologies - I am reluctant to introduce yet another new term (such as Educational Technology) though if you have been following my bliki you will have noticed that I did use that term previously when ICT was being used to mean the subject. Now that ICT doesn't mean the subject I think it is better to stick with it meaning the full range of cross curricula use (because that is what many people have meant by it in the past). I also think it is useful to be able to distinguish between different facets of cross curricula use - in terms of impact of digital technology on the curriculum/subject content and on pedagogy.

PeterT14:25, 5 May 2013

I agree that the Royal Society did not use "digital skills" - but as described in my blog post, the DfE *is* now showing signs that it will use this phrase to refer to what the Royal Society called "digital literacy". It is a way, I suggest, of drawing some clear blue definitional water with what you call "digital literacy".

The choosing of terms is, as I said at the top, a matter largely of marketing - and continuity of usage is very important. If you decree that "pig" should be used to refer to what everyone up to now has called "cow", then you are going to cause a lot of confusion. "TEL" is very little used in schools, being mainly used in HE. "Education technology" is widely used in the US, where "TEL" is virtually unheard of - and "education technology", if you take my definition of it, is going to be an international market, dominated (if current anti-market, anti-innovation attitudes in the UK persist) by US suppliers. So we might as well get used to it.

And the main reason why we have got rid of "ICT" is that its meaning is poorly defined, a problem that would be compounded by continuing to use it for a new meaning. I think the DfE's footwork in this respect gives us an object lesson - if a term is tainted or confusing, drop it and use another, do not fight for it - it is a waste of time.

I do not define "education technology" as having anything to do with the "cross-curricular use of technology". This makes the same mistake as the term "embedded technology" - it suggests that education technology is something to do with the curriculum - and this lies at the heart of the confusion. It is nothing to do with the curriculum. You do not talk about "embedded tables and chairs" and you do not talk about "cross curriculum tables and chairs".


Crispin Weston08:53, 6 May 2013

Much of this has been responded to in other posts so not reiterating those points here.

Re ICT - what I am proposing is not giving ICT a new meaning. ICT has in the past been used to mean three things (the subject, cross-curricula use of digital technology, and the digital technology itself). What I am proposing is that we focus the definition of ICT so that it only means one of these things - namely the cross-curricula use of digital technology. So far from creating confusion it should help to create clarity.

PeterT16:55, 8 May 2013

But I think the conflation is deliberate - it is part of the "ICT" brand that you improve learning by teaching a set of digital learning skills which supports independent and peer-mediated learning, de-prioritising the "knowledge-based curriculum". And the evidence is that that is not true or helpful.

Crispin Weston11:51, 13 May 2013

In which case you presumably are in favour of de-conflating ...

I think we also need to move away from a dichotomy between 'knowledge' and 'skills' - neither can operate in the absence of the other. Knowledge, as I understand it, is the application of information. Skills have to be applied to something.

PeterT13:39, 25 May 2013