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The 10 Worst Practices in ICT Education

By Margot Phillipps

Excuse me if you have already found this gem, but I was sent this link and immediately formed a strong view that I'd like to meet Michael Trucano:


Michael is a Senior ICT and Education Specialist at the World Bank. Working for the World Bank, he clearly travels and sees the same mistakes being repeated around the world.

I had to refrain from prostrating myself on the floor of ACM HQ when I visited last year, as I am so over awed by their foresight in writing the ACM Model Curriculum for K-12 Computer Science Education and assisting CSTA in its formation. So it is no surprise that I'd at least like to shake the hand of this gentleman!

The first mistake he notes is "Dump hardware in schools, hope for magic to happen". This is still a mindset. In New Zealand, schools are probably past the dumping of hardware in schools phase. We are now in the dumping in schools of ultra-fast broadband. We suffer from relatively slow internet speeds and there is a project to bring ultra-fast broadband to every school gate.

But mistake number 9 is "Don't train your teachers (nor your school headmasters, for that matter)". And without training and adequate PD, and the principal's really understanding the importance of that PD, new hardware or new bandwidth will achieve little.

And of course, related to this is number 5 "Don't monitor, don't evaluate". With the best of intentions amounts of money does get offered to schools for ICT Professional Development (PD) projects or put into centralised PD project. What school wouldn't hold up its hand for some relatively un-monitored money. But it is possibly money wasted as "credible, rigorous impact evaluation studies" are not done.

And my other favourite was Number 8 "Assume away Equity issues". There is an argument that computers can level out those equity issues but as Michael notes "they don't happen without careful proactive attention to this issue."

He left number 10 free. Mine would be "Place people from other disciplines in charge of your discipline". I wouldn't assume I could manage the Social Science curriculum of a school or school district or state or country, because my background is in ICT. So do our subject the honour of having people who understand the subject drive it.

What would you make your number 10?

Margot Phillipps
CSTA International Director


10. Don't tie the hands of the teachers when they wish to use technology.

Recently in my district a district administrator decided to rewrite the Acceptable Use of Technology Agreement that all staff and students must sign at the start of every school year. She put in place, "Use involving a device or software that captures or monitors others' computer use." Since Synchroeyes is in use in the computer lab, our teacher's association president tried to point out to the administrator that I would be in violation of the Acceptable Use Agreement if I used this district installed software. The administrator made the statement that she did not mean the use of this type of software when she rewrote the Acceptable Use Agreement. I thought the purpose of Synchroneyes was to "monitor others' computer use." I guess I am not using the software correctly.

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