Tackling the ICT Education Crisis in UK Schools (27 September 2011)

A Dinner in Honour of Bill Freyenfeld (1928-2011), Past RTC Chairman and ICT Education Advocate

Computing is one of the richest, most exciting disciplines on the planet, yet any teenager will tell you that in the UK we are systematically teaching our children that ICT (as it is called in school – “information and communication technologies”) consists of little more than learning to use Word or PowerPoint. Over the last two decades, computing at school has drifted from writing adventure games on the BBC micro to writing business plans in Excel. This is bad for our young people’s education, and it is bad for our economy. It is also quite fixable, but the inherent inertia in the educational system requires a clear message and case for change, from the classroom right up to the Secretary of State. Our speaker will describe this challenge, outline solutions, and invite your participation in a debate about both ends (what are we trying to achieve?) and means (how can we effect reform?).

Professor Simon Peyton Jones

Simon Jones is Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, Cambridge. His research interests are in programming language design and implementation, most especially Haskell, a language he helped design. Over the last couple of years he has become much involved in the Computing at School Working Group (www.computingatschool.org.uk), which he chairs. He’s a Fellow of the BCS and ACM.