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3D printing and coding to become "standard" in schools

Education

By Shona Ghosh

Posted on 8 Jul 2013 at 15:38

Pupils as young as five will learn how to create software, under revisions to the national curriculum that may also introduce 3D printers to classrooms.

Education secretary Michael Gove has published the final draft of the new curriculum, set to be adopted from September next year - though independent schools, academies and free schools are all free to ignore it.

The new program sees major changes to design and technology, including the use of 3D printers for older pupils. They will also learn about robotics and manufacturing, while students as young as five-years-old will learn how to code and test applications.

Combined with the introduction of programming, it is a big step forward from Labour's dumbed-down curriculum

"Three-dimensional printers will become standard in our schools – a technology that is transforming manufacturing and the economy," a source close to the plans told The Guardian. "Combined with the introduction of programming, it is a big step forward from Labour's dumbed-down curriculum."

Prime Minister David Cameron said the changes were driven by a "global race" to stay competitive in a world increasingly led by technology.

"The curriculum marks a new chapter in British education," he said. "From advanced fractions to computer coding to some of the greatest works of literature in the English language, this is a curriculum that is rigorous, engaging and tough."

"This is a curriculum to inspire a generation - and it will educate the great British engineers scientists writers and thinkers of the future," he added.

IT shortage

The changes are partially a response to warnings that the UK and the EU are facing a shortage of skilled IT workers.

The EU warned last year that a shortfall in skills could worsen youth unemployment in Europe, noting that students lacked basic digital skills to get them the best jobs.

A report from jobs site Adzuna earlier this year also found that London tech firms were suffering from a severe lack of skilled workers, with companies hiking up salaries to keep hold of staff.

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User comments

Don't know about all schools, but my secondary school did do some 3D modelling so I see this as an extension of that.

What concerns me though is are the government going to give schools money to be able to purchase the required hardware/software/training? Also how in depth are they going to go and will they provide support for those who want to learn more?

By tech3475 on 8 Jul 2013

Logical Progression

My school had an expensive looking and bulky vacuum forming machine. A very basic 3D printer could replace them quite easily.

By john_coller on 9 Jul 2013

"Make it so...."

@tech3475
I'm sure you're asking a rhetorical question....

This is yet more 'dog-whistle' politics from the master of political subterfuge Mr Gove. Not he nor his advisers has any expectation that this curriculum is (as he would have it) "deliverable" given the timescales, budgets and schools' skill sets.
Its another calculated political scam which achieves a number of purely political objectives:
1. This maintains Gove's reputation as a "radical" who is "fixing" our "broken" system.

2. In order to dodge the new curriculum "bullet" many schools will become academies (which are exempt from it).

3. Schools which try to remain independent from his direct control (as academies) are likely to be seriously stressed by the effort of implementation. They'll then start to
fail Ofsted Inspections and be forced to convert to academies.

Finally Teachers and Heads will be characterised as "blocking" his reforms.

So where does the "coding" fit into all this? Well of course it doesn't. Because, for the most part, it simply won't happen in any meaningful way. There's no way that enough Teachers can be trained in time (and trained using what kit, which coding schemes etc.). There's no budget to buy the necessary kit.
So strike another one up to meaningless gesture politics....

By wittgenfrog on 9 Jul 2013

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