Teachers, students, parents and business people have been challenged to ‘Think Differently’ today in a new strategy from Education, Sport and Culture that sets out how Jersey students can excel in IT and computing in future.
Officially launched today (11 October), the IT skills strategy has been developed to ensure the Island’s next generation have the ability to keep pace with the rapid, constant developments in technology and are well equipped to succeed in their careers.
It proposes a new approach to teaching the subject, a new IT curriculum, closer links with businesses and an upgrade for the IT infrastructure used in States schools, which have one of the largest computer networks in the Channel Islands.
The strategy focuses on three key priorities and details projects for each one. They are:
• Teaching and learning
• Infrastructure and technology
• Business and education
Director of Education Mario Lundy said: “The potential of IT to enhance learning within and beyond the classroom is at the heart of this strategy. New technologies offer greater opportunities for pupils to engage in active, independent learning and collaboration. This gives them the freedom to discover and develop solutions for themselves and enables teachers to rethink the way teaching is organised.”
ESC Assistant Minister Deputy Rod Bryans said: “We need to make sure our young people have a dynamic education, one that inspires them to think creatively, communicate well, identify and solve the problems waiting in their futures. Our schools and teachers are already doing a lot to achieve that, but this vision will help add an extra dimension to learning. Ultimately it will provide the best IT education possible, a workforce fluent in technology and a prosperous successful Island.”
David Viera of Jersey Finance added: “Financial Services is a truly global industry and now, more than ever before, IT is driving innovation, growth and new opportunities. Properly supported and delivered, the new IT Skills Strategy will enhance capabilities of the next generation of finance industry professionals, thus contributing to the ongoing success of the industry and the wider Jersey community.”
In Teaching and learning
• A new engaging computing curriculum for the 21st century with greater emphasis on skills that will be in demand in workplaces in future.
• High quality teaching supported by continual professional development for teachers
• Teaching primary children coding and computer theories
In infrastructure and technology
• Provide effective, accessible IT infrastructure, including high-speed, e-safe networks.
• Innovative use of digital technology in schools; explore new ideas and innovations to equip students for school and their future careers.
• Pupils learn about risks of technology and how to be responsible online.
In business and education
• Work closely with businesses to ensure a smooth transition from education to the workplace.
• Businesses to be involved in school activities to help students understand computing theory and apply it to real life business opportunities, particularly in subjects such as coding (programming)
• Establish links with industry to support and advise education, provide relevant experience for pupils and encourage those who wish to pursue a career in IT.
Work on IT initiatives is already underway. For example, in September, IT teachers from Hautlieu began sharing their expertise with staff and students in primary schools. This means children as young as four and five have started learning ‘code crunching’ and other computing skills as part of the new project.
Some of the children involved will be taking part in the official launch on 11 October at 11.30am – 2.30pm at the Hotel De France. The keynote speaker will be Clive Beale of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the organisation behind the award-winning mini-computer that is being used successfully to open up computer programming to the youngest school children.