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Lib Dems for some decent IT Policy

Lib Dems for some decent IT Policy - open standards, decent project management, re-skilling local and national government in technology - less throwing cash at EDS et al, fair and good value tendering.

Location: The Internet
Members: 127
Latest Activity: Jul 6, 2012

We need an ICT working group and Spokesmen/Shadow Minister for ICT

As it stands we lag behind both Tories and labour on ICT, on every subject from open data/standards, to open source - The tories have produced reports on better ICT results and open source, labour have a Digital Engagement Minister and to his credit he's actually making things happen.

We only have Lynne and her board for using technology for electioneering, pretty perverse that we can invest the time and effort into IT when it comes to campaigning for votes, but not when it comes to actual government, local or national.

We need an ICT working group and Spokesmen/Shadow Minister for ICT!

Discussion Forum

Internet Modernisation Program (IMP) 2 Replies

The IMP has again reared its ugly head in the Strategic Defence and Security Review which can be found here…Continue

Started by Mark Reynolds. Last reply by Richard Cole Nov 18, 2010.

New Policy Working Group on Information Technology and Intellectual Property

Seen in Lib Dem News:…Continue

Started by Martin Tod Jul 16, 2010.

Current IT policy 6 Replies

We definitely need to get our act together on this.Our current IT policy is at http://www.makeitpolicy.org.uk/ (hard to believe it was so long ago).It's…Continue

Started by Martin Tod. Last reply by Michelle Taylor May 19, 2010.

What direction are we taking?

Now that the frenzy of the election period is over it's perhaps time to revisit what we're trying to achieve here.  for that we probably need to set some direction, and clarify what relationship…Continue

Started by Alistair Rae May 19, 2010.

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Comment by Philip Lim on July 6, 2012 at 22:00

It's nice to see the government promoting funding towards Cloud Computing.
In the news, up to £4.5m of grant funding is to be awarded by the Government in new research and development that will address business and technology challenges impeding the adoption of cloud computing;

http://www.innovateuk.org/content/competition-announcements/innovat...

Comment by Philip Lim on July 18, 2011 at 15:23
Today I was forwarded an interesting link to a document about ICT offshoring guidelines!

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/sites/default/files/resources/gover...
Comment by Simon Oliver on July 14, 2011 at 20:49
sorry - there's a difference between the national curriculum, which includes statements about what parts are mandatory, the syllabus of each school which flexes around those mandatory elements, and the syllabus (content) of a particular course or qualification. It was that last sense that I was using the word. Any programming course would obviously be an elective, while the basic grounding in computer use should be mandatory - one of the core elements of the national curriculum.
Comment by Simon Oliver on July 13, 2011 at 19:23

ref education and IT policy - being familiar with and able to use a computer has now become an essential life skill, as pervasive and necessary as being able to balance your income and expenditure and being able to fill in a form. It's second nature to anyone younger than 30 or so when computers became commonplace in schools, and many over that age have picked it up if they work in a white collar job or have kids of their own.

 

The older generation is far from ignorant on the matter as well - there are millions of silver surfers. Targeting education for the remainder is vital if they are to benefit from online communities and connectivity.

 

Speaking as a software development professional, however, I am also concerned about the lack of distinction between the ability to use a computer, and the ability to work within the IT industry. Technical skills seem to be seen as a continuation of using MS Office, or creating a webpage in Frontpage or Dreamweaver, whereas programming, database design, testing etc are all complex skills that need to be learned over many years. If the first programme a person writes is in their first year of university, then the education system is failing.

 

I would like to see a greater awareness of this within the national curriculum, with basic computer user skills taught as a core subject, and every 16-year old able to create a complex Word document, spreadsheet and static webpage as well as being able to shop safely online, use and understand antivirus software and recognise threats and to install and uninstall programmes.

 

I would then like to see a completely separate syllabus - at GCSE level - relating to programming skills, including a solid grounding in either PHP or VBS with SQL to create a dynamic database-driven website, as well as design and testing skills. Graduates of this course would then be able to take on a more challenging A-level course that taught C++ in one of its many guises to design and write a Windows application.

 

I don't know how far we are from this at the moment - I plead ignorance of the schooling system largely because no sane woman would have me. My main point is that there are basic life skills on the one hand and giving children a head-start into an industry with a desperate shortage of skills and a large number of people applying for IT jobs because they know how to use Word.

 

On a side note, if you drag the arrow, bottom-right of the edit box, downwards it makes it larger.

 

Comment by Philip Lim on July 13, 2011 at 10:37
Perhaps we could all start a little closer to home, by getting involved in promoting I.T. to those without it. There is a quote from Nick Clegg on the website of Raceonline2012 - a campaign that I am involved with as a volunteer Digital Champion:

"The ‘Digital Revolution’ has the potential to deliver huge benefits to public services, to reduce social exclusion and to improve government transparency."
Quote from;
NICK CLEGG
Deputy Prime Minister
Source: http://raceonline2012.org/manifesto/1
Comment by Simon Jerram on April 3, 2011 at 10:09
My, just re-read my piece. I'm impressed at how incisive and useful it is, and how few typos given I just typed it in a box 10 cm x 2 cm! Hmm, pretty proud of that piece.
Comment by Aaron Trevena on February 17, 2011 at 9:47
If you want to have some input on the IPOs IPR Framework review you only have a few days left : http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipreview
Comment by Simon Jerram on February 16, 2011 at 9:06

I disagree with Daniel- I don't think IT needs to be taught post-16.  The basic grounding in computers most people need can be taught pre-14. It isn't that complicated. The rest is all specific stuff that someone with the basic grounding can pick-up. If you teach IT post 16 you're either going over the same stuff again and again, or teaching stuff that will go out of date.

 

I also feel that it does not need to be a separate subject post 14, I mean sure an IT GCSE should be available, and the GCSE equivalent courses should have relevant IT skills, but it needs to be part of what people are learning. It needs to be a tool rather than a thing in its own right for most.

 

Education is a good thing, we can always look to improve on teaching. However I think education is only a small part of the problem. 

 

The biggest problem is attitudes to knowledge. We need to become a society that values knowledge, and expects people to know the stuff they were taught at school. Taking science as an example- that has been compulsory on the national curriculum since the early 90s, and it was fairly standard for most people to be encouraged to do at least one science subject. Yet as a society we don't seem to consider that teaching as basic background knowledge. Newspapers do not pitch stories to a public that was taught science at school- they pitch them to people with almost complete scientific illiteracy.

 

There's a similar story with maths, I was once privy to a conversation with two adult education advisers who were teaching nurses. One bemoaned that some of the stuff they were expected to learn was GCSE level. Well, that *is* basic maths.

 

The other thing we need as a society is to be more relaxed about, and aware of our ignorance. We should be relaxed about our weaknesses and not be aggressive when they are pointed out. We all lack knowledge that it is reasonable to expect us to know. I know this because I am no different. Be too harsh about lack of knowledge and people hide and don't seek help, but if you normalize a low level of knowledge, people assume they are doing fine and don't seek help either. In the second situation people feel better about themselves, but otherwise are no better off. 

 

The problem with normalizing a low level of IT knowledge is that we end up with policy (in businesses as well as the public sector) being driven by people who know little, but feel that they know quite enough, thank you very much. These people do not seek the advice of specialists because they judge those specialists to be pedants, geeks and weirdos (I'm generalizing of course) who just make the mumbo jumbo up as they go along. Anything they don't understand is irrelevant and nonsense. Well it must be.

 

So my point is, we do need to teach IT at school, we all need the basic aptitude to use computers so we can easily pick up the specifics as we go through our lives. But unless attitudes in society change, much of that teaching will be going down the drain. 

 

Unfortunately I can't see how these attitudes can be fixed.

 

Comment by Andrew Suffield on February 13, 2011 at 19:53
The current ICT curriculum is an obsolete waste of time. It needs a major overhaul before anything else.
Comment by Daniel Curwood on February 12, 2011 at 20:08
I'm not sure whether the Group's remit extends to cover education ideas/policy. I would like to see compulsory ICT taught right up to the final year of Undergraduate schemes, and the equivalent of ECDL Intermediate taught up to the final year of Undergraduate Programs. Any thoughts on this?
 

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