Stop calling it ICT!
I very much enjoyed following the NAACE Annual Strategic Conference via Twitter earlier today. Those present gave a flavour of the event and all that was being discussed via a tagstream labelled #naace2010, and I engaged with the discussion a few times. One of the most interesting discussions came out of a remark made by OFSTED's ICT Advisor David Anstead, who gave the second keynote of the day. He apparently said that we should remove the 'C' from ICT, and this predictably provoked a few responses. What on earth did he mean by this? Perhaps someone who was there and heard it first hand could comment on this blog?
There then ensued a Twitter discussion on whether ICT was the right term to use now that technology and its pedagogical applications have moved on. Doug Woods (@deerwood) suggested that the 'I' could also be removed. Then he came back and said let's remove the 'T' as well - which leaves only learning. I agreed publicly on Twitter, and then suggested that perhaps ICT should be ditched completely - let's call it Learning Technology - I said. Ben Nunney (@bennuk) made a good point that some kinds of computing should still be taught in schools, but it's more appropriate to teach things like networking and programming than it is to teach how to create a PowerPoint slideshow.
A flurry of comments went back and forth. Doug Dickinson (@orunner) agreed that ICT is a passe term, but others weren't so sure. Dave Garland (@thegreatgar) asked if ICT as a subject could break the mould in a curriculum which seems to be stagnating. I responded that I didn't think ICT should be a taught subject at all, but that it should be embedded into the rest of the curriculum, related to and underpinning all subjects. John Rudkin (@montydoodles) liked this idea, and said that all subjects should be integrated. He extolled the virtues of 'challenge based learning' saying they should be siezed. I assume by this he meant what I would call problem based learning, in which case, I fully agree. Paul Luke (@pluke17) made a neat comment: We should also stop using the name e-learning, he said. 'There's only one 'e' in learning.' Mira Danon-Baird (@mdanonbaird) made one of the most incisive comments when she remarked: 'Key issue: Embed edutech till it's invisible and the learning isn't. Simple'.
@deKay01 remarked "Learning Technology"? Why don't we just call it what the kids do: "Pooters, Innit"? I responded with '... and DS, and Wii, and XBox, and mobile phones...' meaning that it isn't just about computers anymore, and hasn't been for a long time. It's about the whole spectrum of what we have for so long called ICT. But to me, ICT doesn't cut it anymore. It's no longer an adequate term for what we see happening. Information and communication are merely outcomes of learning through technology. Technology Enhanced Learning is another term proposed, but again, this is a byproduct of learning technology that is appropriately used. It's still all about the learning, but we are using technologies to support that learning. When we do, let's stop calling it ICT - let's call it learning technology.