Newborn babies of today are exploring technology like no baby before. Parents and guardians are offering their smart phones and tablet devices eitherto educate and entertain or to quell a mini uprising. No one likes a crying baby, YouTube it is.
Exposing our youth to the latest digital technologies is not something new. Teenagers and preteens have been bought gaming consoles for decades, participating in realms of fantasy to virtual war zones and more. Gaming is not the only form of media that has caught our attention in the modern world. Digital TV delivers a splattering of channels and content. Our smart phones allow us to interact with the latest operating systems and user interfaces, which act as a platform for some really slick apps from games, social media to tools that make life easier and more interesting.
Consuming digital media is great, but would it not be better to teach how websites and apps actually work to our youth. We should encourage the generations of tomorrow to become active (and not just consumers) in the digital world. Teaching children in school, different programming languages, how to use and manipulate them would be more beneficial than learning the intricacies of productivity suites for their digital future.
Learning the foundation of digital, which is software development or programming should be encouraged earlier, as opposed to leaving the topic for post secondary education at college, university and to the bedroom programmer. Programming one line of code after another is like what a brick is to a building, a foundation. What is currently been taught at schools has been the same material circulating schools and minds for a long time.
Thankfully the Government has taken notice of what industry has sighted, and has chosen to usurp the current IT model taught at schools the nation over for Computer Science. Microsoft, Google and Cambridge University are helping to produce free learning materials for schools.
The aim is not to produce thousands of Michael Zuckerbergs off a conveyor belt, but to equip our children for the digital age. A change in strategy will benefit, industry, economy and the individual.
Here is a 3-point plan that the Government should take into consideration when composing the new curriculum:
- Be open-minded: Curriculum needs to be responsive to genuine trends within the digital sector and be able to implement and change when necessary.
- Sports day, why not a Tech day: Once a year a time to show off and compete for which individual and team has the most techy and digital flair – from software to hardware
- More computing devices please: There is a shortage of computer labs throughout the country, computing devices need to be supplied to each individual. Private funding or crowd funding can be adopted to raise capital.