035. Ensure the use of technology remains a methodology, not a subject

What is technology in terms of education? Twenty-five years ago, we might have said it was a resource, much like a pencil or a book, as it was something you could use in order to help learn. Some countries, like the UK, fell into the trap of making technology into a subject and started teaching kids all sorts of things of limited use – how to make a PowerPoint presentation, for example.

In any case, the Internet came along and changed everything. Technology was no longer simply a resource, it became a methodology – a way of doing things to help children learn. Technology opened up new possibilities – such as being able to collaborate in real time, communicate across the world, create brand new ideas, gave new opportunities for critical thinking, Flipped Learning, and so on.

However, governments like to sniff around and they really like the sound of coding. Supported by big companies, they are trying to make technology into a subject. Coding may be a useful skill to have; it support critical thinking and creativity, but it certainly isn’t something that needs to be taught discretely from other subjects. Coding can be a methodology within other subjects. The reason for doing this rather than making it separate is it enables children to see that coding can be used in all areas of the curriculum.

One thing the government got right in the mid-1990s was not to add Technology (or ICTs as it was known then) to the new curriculum. Long may it stay that way.

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