Should schools be teaching their pupils how to use and build apps and websites like Uber and Air BnB to prepare them for the future?
This is in recognition of the fact that programming and technology are important topics that should be taught in schools. However, the British government is late in its adoption of this policy and in the United States pupils as young as six years of age are learning programming.
In fact free programming software for pupils have long been developed by renowned organisations such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the same university that the founders of Google attended.
Those in industry and commerce would agree that technology is key to the prosperity of the United Kingdom. With the popularity of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), and the convergence of computing, robotics and 3D printing, it is in these areas that pupils will find an abundance of jobs in the future.
Young people are growing up using mobile devices on a daily basis. They spend hours surfing the Internet, tweeting and playing games, yet many are oblivious to the technology behind these devices. Although programming clubs are available for pupils to learn programming, not many schools are taking advantage of this opportunity.
Schools invest heavily in computers but recent studies have shown that the benefits have not warranted the level of investment. Schools are therefore missing out on making their investment worthwhile. Instead of incorporating website design and the creation of apps into the curriculum, computers are used for simple tasks such as basic research.
Pupils who are less academic could be introduced to technology that will help them to find work in an industry that is calling out for people with related skills. The government’s apprenticeship programme is an ideal opportunity for young people who are interested in technology to learn and further their skills while working.
The school curriculum is still based on 19th century principles. This completely ignores the fact that we are living in the information and technology age. Whereas, during the Industrial Revolution, the emphasis was focused on labour, then mechanisation, the 21st century is about information and using technology to solve problems. Mention the word “disruptive” to most teachers and they think you are talking about children misbehaving in the classroom, yet it is really about using technology to radically change the way things are done. Children who are growing up with technology should be taught to embrace it.
Many schools pay lip service to technology especially at open days to influence people to join their school, however, the reality is that when they do join the school, programming is left on the back burner. For this reason, there is not enough emphasis on programming in school. Programming in school is crucial and should be considered a life skill to help cultivate the best minds. This would help shape a future where people will far exceed the limitations of what man once thought we could do – with a technologically advanced future, we can achieve greater things.
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