Schools and our online lives

Schools and the online life

Emma Mulqueeny wrote a really interesting post today about the importance of teaching our kids the right things about the online world. As she put it:

We need to actively find ways to educate our children and ourselves in the basics of the Internet, of information, of data, of sharing, of algorithms – computational thinking.

Because, if we don’t, an ever decreasing number of us will actually really understand, and an ever decreasing number of us will shape the future. And history has shown time and time again that this way madness lies.

Current changes to the school ICT curriculum in the UK worry me because I am not convinced that everyone has to be a programmer. In some ways schools lurching in that direction is almost as bad as teaching powerpoint. I think kids need a more general eduction on networked society, sociology and ethics, applying important understanding and disciplines to the online world. In fact seeing computers and ICT as a separate discipline is half the problem. The other topics should all be taught with an understanding that we increasingly live our lives online.

This relates to my occasional rant about “digital”. The online world is not separate, we don’t move neatly from online to offline, you can’t put all this in a neat box, label it “technology” and ignore it it. It is life.

4 thoughts on “Schools and our online lives

  1. And I bet that even if they do manage to start teaching programming they’ll kick off with some crap like Basic instead of PHP, CSS and Ruby.


  2. Completely agree Euan, coding will leave a lot of kids cold and even more alienated by ICT. There needs to be a real mix of modular content, when I did my a IS degree (not that long ago), ‘social, legal and professional aspects of computing’ was one the most interesting topics we covered. The point Fen makes about which language is also well made, the sort of scripting languages that power the web are essential and a good understanding of the technology that is driving Cloud and mobile apps. I don’t hold out much hope…..


  3. I don’t think it is anyone’s intention for every kid to become a coder, but it would be good for every kid to have the chance to try it and to understand the basic principles behind code.

    We stopped giving that chance en masse 20 years ago.


  4. There are so many careers in IT that don’t need ‘geeky’ skills, and if you’re a communicative, empathetic sort of person you might actually be a great Business Analyst one day, but figure that IT is not a career choice because you don’t ‘get’ coding. I’m looking at the advice from organisations such as the BCS and hoping to get into my local schools to speak to kids about to take their options next year – the IT industry is missing out on so many opportunities.


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