Tuesday, 9 February 2016


"Tech companies have stepped into the breach, offering advice on curriculum content as well as funding for teacher training. This has worried some teachers who fear, as the teaching union the NASUWT put it, giving industry `the chance to engage with schools in ways that go well beyond corporate altruism`."

"Google rejects any suggestion that it is in this to flog IT products, arguing that it works with teachers and even with rivals in the public interest. `This isn’t about us making money in schools and that’s certainly not how we talk about it at all,` said Mike Warriner, head of the engineering division at Google UK. `It’s very much about helping us build the skills people need in future so that down the line we can continue to innovate. We’re pretty much the number-one digital economy on the planet and keeping that position is important.`..."

"The screen filled with a bewildering patchwork of brightly coloured blocks."

"This is Scratch, a computer language developed specifically for young children. It consists of blocks of text, which contain simple written instructions. These snap together like Lego to create basic programs, which children can use to make quizzes, games and animations. They can also adapt someone else’s code to make it work faster or better."

Whatever children are doing when they engage with Scratch, the one thing they are NOT doing is learning how to programme a computer using a programming language.

Sticking bits of virtual lego together on an ad hoc or trial and error basis does not teach the underlying logic which is probably best left until secondary school when children are capable of abstract thought.

Teachers have every right to be concerned.

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