OCR MOOC offers "unparalleled opportunity" - Michael Gove

Michael Gove at BETT 2014

A massive open online course created by our UK exam board OCR and partners has been praised by the Education Secretary in his keynote speech to a major educational technology show.

Michael Gove told BETT 2014 that the MOOC – aligned to OCR’s pioneering GCSE in computing – offered an “unparalleled opportunity for the brightest and best education institutions to open their classrooms and their content to more people than ever before”.

He said that MOOCs were already “changing dramatically how universities - and very soon, schools – operate” and that they were “democratising education for the 21st century”.

Created through a partnership of OCR, Cambridge University Press and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the MOOC is the first-ever designed to support teaching and learning of computing in schools.

Mark Dawe, OCR Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be singled out for praise by the Education Secretary for the MOOC and our GCSE in computing.

“Together with our partners, OCR is very much leading the way in this exciting area. Everyone interested in teaching and learning the basics of computing should take advantage of this resource”.

The Education Secretary’s comments come as OCR’s parent body Cambridge Assessment is set to stage a debate on the future of education. Schools in the Cloud will be held at the British Library on February 11 and feature a panel of experts including Professor Sugata Mitra and Lord Puttnam.

Cambridge Assessment’s other exam boards – Cambridge International Examinations and Cambridge English Language Assessment - are also exhibiting at the BETT show, showcasing among other things Cambridge Primary Maths and Cambridge English: Young Learners tests and games. 

Elsewhere at BETT 2014, Bene’t Steinberg, Cambridge Assessment’s Group Director of Public Affairs, held a seminar on Education in the Middle East. His presentation to the UK Trade and Investment Export Theatre highlighted the challenges facing governments in the Middle East, something he said Cambridge Assessment – with its 150-year history – was well-placed to help with.

“Governments are asking what skills, knowledge and understanding should be assessed, how they should be assessed and what will the assessment mean,” he said.

“The Middle East requires willingness by us to understand the challenges in a very real way and engage in a form of partnership. Only those with a sound commitment to pedagogic advance will succeed.”

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