“Tomorrow’s politicians, civil servants, police officers, teachers, journalists and CEOs are being created today. These people don’t know how to use computers, yet they are going to be creating laws regarding computers, enforcing laws regarding computers, educating the youth about computers, reporting in the media about computers and lobbying politicians about computers. Do you thinks this is an acceptable state of affairs?”
We’ve talked about this recently, but I do think this is a critical point. Adults older than us think all kids are tech geniuses because they can work a MacBook without directions. But in my experience, most of the kids I’ve worked with have had a very superficial understanding of computers. As soon as something goes wrong, they give up because they don’t know what to do, and then they ask someone else to fix it for them.
It drives me insane.
I think there’re a lot of interesting parts to this piece, but the two I like the most, and the two I talk about the most, are these:
- When it comes to teaching kids about technology, we cannot just settle for teaching them how to use it. We can’t just teach them “computer skills.” We have to teach them how technology works so they don’t grow up to be people who see tech issues as somebody else’s problem.
- I’ve argued this point with parents, my own included, when it comes to teaching technology: Stop fixing your kids’ tech problems. Get them to figure it out. There’s a whole slew of resources on the internet, not to mention just getting them to read the User Manual. The number of people I’ve met who will just give up when you don’t fix their tech problems for them is maddening. We have to get people used to the idea that they can fix their own tech issues. They can do it. Just let them try.
Just because your kid can use an iPhone does not mean they have the skills to be successful with technology. As noted in this article, technology’s evolution to be more user-friendly means that people have to know less and less to do more and more. This is good, in a lot of ways, but it does mean, I think, that people are less creative in the ways they use technology because there’s no incentive for people to just, in the simplest terms, figure it out.
This would be great for my summer class on mobile devices in the classroom.