This radical reform of the curriculum in Wales also involves a move from a conventional, subject-based curriculum to one organised around six areas of learning and experience:
• expressive arts
• health and well-being
• languages, literacy and communication
• mathematics and numeracy
• science and technology.
Those interested in the relationship between technology and learning will welcome this innovation and the explicit significance it affords to the use of digital technology for teaching and learning. Whilst coding will continue to be one strand of the Welsh curriculum, the contrast with the curriculum content and structure in England could not be greater. The challenge of ensuring that all teachers and other practitioners who work with children and young people are themselves confident in this area is, itself, a daunting prospect.
But what will digital competence look like in this new curriculum? This development mirrors curriculum developments across Europe and other parts of the United Kingdom as digital competence emerges as a key competence. The Welsh framework was due for publication as a draft, open for consultation, in April 2016. At the time of writing (June 2016) it has only recently been published in draft form, and it is due for implementation from September 2016 – a tall order.
This is an opportunity not to be missed: an opportunity to identify the sort of skills, knowledge and above all, critical understanding that children and young people need to become, as the curriculum review itself demands: “ambitious, enterprising, informed, capable, and confident learners, ready to learn throughout their lives”.
But does the published framework, structured as a year-by-year skills hierarchy fully address the range of skills and knowledge required to achieve this ambitious aim? This session will explore the notion of digital competence and argue for the sort of learning experience that this exciting reform should offer. It will reflect on other expressions of policy in this area from across Europe and other parts of the UK to make a case for what the curriculum reforms in Wales should seek to achieve in the area of digital competence.