Computing devices today have become very easy to use. Should we teach the tougher side first?
Basic, day-to-day computing has been made easier. No, really, it has! If we think about the government’s ‘Basic Digital Skills’ classification (as of 2017) and how easily we can achieve the points with a device such as an iPad, a device with no technical barrier of entry, I think it makes my point.
What I am getting at with all this is that we have refined basic computing experiences such as internet browsing, email and file management to the point where we are now almost completely disconnected from the technicalities of what we it is we are making our machines do. That is, right up until something goes wrong and we have the complexity of the technology forced upon us with (often) unhelpful error messages and warnings.
Since the late 00s, post-pc devices have become far more common in the classroom, removing barriers from learning and streamlining access to the internet; the largest resource in the world. But should we teach people about the workings of their devices?
When do we answer questions such as ‘Where does Google live?’, ‘Why is my iPad faster than a computer from 20 years ago?’ or ‘How do I build an app?’.
Computer science is a topic that was virtually non-existent on the syllabus when I was in school. I gained most of my knowledge by making my own mistakes experimenting with old computers until I went to university to study the subject. Where the advancements in computing keep coming thick and fast, we need to start teaching the basics of computing earlier and earlier. The UK government recognised this greater need in May of 2018 with a promise to boost computer science teaching in schools. This rapid advancement in technology is something that (as web developers) the digital team at Fuel must keep up with in order to keep delivering cutting edge digital experiences to clients.
In technology, the learning never stops and there is always room to improve on previous efforts. It’s how we drive our technology and our clients forward in the digital age.
Why should we care?
Computing devices today have far too many distractions on them, there’s an app for just about every form of procrastination imaginable! Focused learning in an environment where concentration and an understanding of the fundamentals of computer use are prerequisites would not be a bad thing.
Personally, I think that exposing pupils to using a Linux distribution operating system and showing them how to use the technology to get real work done will dramatically help them in their later life, regardless of whether they work in the digital services industry or not.
About the author.
Rob Strover is a Web Developer at Fuel Integrated.