[LINK] Computer literate school children
Thu, 10 Feb 2000 15:02:41 +1100
(once upon a time, it was normal to seek absolution if you heard someone *else*
utter heresy. Who do I confess to?)
There are many reasons why children MUST be taught computing in schools. Among
1) To vindicate years of not-disinterested academic studies proving that
computers are indespensable teaching aids. [digression: when did the social
"sciences" abandon the null hypothesis?]
2) To vindicate years of vendor promotions evangelising computers as
indespensable teaching aids.
3) To give vendors a chance to teach brand recognition and brand loyalty.
4) Because it's cheaper to sell 50,000 boxes and licenses under one contract
than to try and secure 50,000 individual consumers.
5) Because spending money on computers allows politicians to hide their bovine
unconcern at the destruction of education, and it's cheaper than hiring more
teachers or making classes smaller.
Sorry to be in a sour mood about this one. I've just returned from a press
conference; let me quote, from the media slide-show, part of the reasoning
behind the ISIS Online "Internet school" which suckers have gotten enthusiastic
"It allows 1:1 marketing to a highly computerised demographic." [This isn't a
fake, it's a direct quote. I will quote this in print as well.] We were also
told that it would give people like Mambo access to a captive market.
So: sod education, sod the intellect, let's SELL TO THE KIDDIES!!!! This,
colleagues, is the outcome of the Online Education Revolution that everyone
defends as vital to the future.
Subject: Re: [LINK] Computer literate school children
Author: "Sam Hinton" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 10/02/00 14:01
On Thu, 10 Feb 2000, Tony Barry wrote:
> TITLE: COMPUTER LITERATE SCHOOL CHILDREN
> Education, Training and Youth Affairs Portfolio
> URL: http://www.detya.gov.au/ministers/kemp/feb00/k007_080200.htm
> SNIPPET: Media Release .COMPUTER LITERATE SCHOOL CHILDREN . K007 8 February
> 2000 . .One in four children under seven are computer savvy, with many
> young Australians knowing more about computers than their teachers,
> according to a report released in its entirety by
Personally, I hate the word 'savvy'. I don't know what 'computer savvy'
means - does it mean 'I can turn a computer on' or 'I can code encryption
algorithms in assembler'?. I downloaded the report, but 450+ pages was too
much for me to read, and I suppose too much for most
pollies/media/commentators, so the "savvy" part will come out and add to
the myth that children are somehow born naturally gifted in computing.
This is rubbish. Children *can* learn how to use computers fast because:
* they learn faster than adults
* some have more spare time than adults
* some have more motivation to learn than adults (ie: games, net chat)
But this only applies to those kids who come from nice middle class
families who can afford a home computer, and who have access to the
computer if there is one (the report supports this).
One of the points on the full press release said something like "kids are
learning these skills at home rather than at school". So, does this
reflect a problem with government support of IT in schools? If this story
gets picked up by the media as "kids" are computer "savvy", then the
reasonable question that one might ask is why do "kids" need to be taught
computing in school at all if they already know more than their teachers?
S M Hinton Department of Media Studies
Research Student School of Arts and Media
Mobile: +61 0417 241703 La Trobe University
Phone: +61 3 9479 2501 Bundoora, Australia