BCS extends support for IT workers of tomorrow

The BCS is expanding its support to schools at a time when teachers and parents are facing challenges ranging from Internet...

The BCS is expanding its support to schools at a time when teachers and parents are facing challenges ranging from Internet issues to the exploitation of IT in the classroom.

The society's new Education and Training Forum, one of three that are being set up as part of a BCS restructuring programme to involve more people in activities and information sharing, is expected to encourage more education specialists to join.

"School students are the professionals of the future. The BCS Schools Committee is responsible for advising on and implementing BCS policy on their education," says Schools Committee chairman Brian Samways.

"We monitor input into curriculum development, examination boards, advice and representations to the Government and the European Commission, and offer support for school IT advisers.

"We also focus on research into education, and communication with other bodies such as the Association of IT Teachers and the National Association for Advisers for Computers in Education.

The Schools Committee's remit includes pre-school, secondary and further education, as well as teacher training.

"IT can enhance and extend the curriculum in several ways. It is a specific classroom subject in its own right, can support teachers in their lesson preparation, and it can support the management of education," says Samways.

"We hope the new BCS Education and Training Forum will encourage more people in education to get involved. The BCS has a lot to offer, particularly local support through the branch network, which can provide evening speakers on IT topics and personal contacts and links with industry and commerce, which are not easy for people in education to find.

"They can also get BCS publications and other information that can be useful in their work, plus professional development and advice for parents and governors."

Samways points here to recent BCS papers to parents on the potential risks of the Internet and how to protect children, and on the need for school IT support to be properly recognised.

The committee has also produced handouts for nursery school teachers and published a report on a possible new future of school education based on the Internet. It has also published a book on IT issues for head teachers.

The committee's most successful publication is a glossary of IT terms, which has been published since the 1970s. Its 10th issue is due next year and approximately 10,000 copies are sold every year.

Other reports and activities are allocated to working groups, formed by the schools committee from a pool of 50 to 60 education and IT professionals who have volunteered their help on specific issues. There are currently six working groups and another dozen are planned.

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