Thursday, April 30, 2009

British schoolchildren will learn to read on Google in 'slimmer' curriculum

Pupils in English primary schools will learn to write with keyboards, use spellcheckers and insert internet "hyperlinks" into text before their 11th birthday under the most significant reform of timetables since the National Curriculum was introduced in 1988. They will also be taught to read using internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo in the first few years of school, it is announced.

The review by Sir Jim Rose, former head of inspections at Ofsted, also recommends the use of Google Earth in geography lessons, spreadsheets to calculate budgets in maths, online archives to research local history and video conferencing software for joint language lessons with schools overseas. Sir Jim insisted the changes would not replace come at the expense of traditional teaching, saying: "We cannot sidestep the basics".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today program: "We've let the curriculum become too fat. We need to give teachers the opportunity to be more flexible." His report, which will be accepted in full by ministers, also proposes more IT training for teachers to keep them ahead of "computer savvy pupils".

It is also hoped that it will stop the creation of a "digital underclass" amid fears poor pupils lose out as those from affluent homes are bought the latest gadgets, it adds. The proposals have been criticised by the Conservatives who accused the Government of "giving in to the latest fads".

Here is a brief excerpt from the interview with Sir Jim Rose:

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