This article is part of a series of blog posts that I wrote feeling inspired by my podcast conversation with Fabrizio Gramuglio about AI, VR and Brain-Computer-Interface (TCDP #28).
In the world of world wide web knowing facts is not that important anymore. Anybody can easily google any information. You don’t even have to type it, you can just use the voice search function and ask the question right away to your phone.
But there is knowledge that you can’t understand properly by just looking it up online. To really understand how cancers grows, you need to understand a lot of medical concepts. And no, knowing that “cells part themselves and something goes wrong” does not count as understanding how cancer grows. To really understand this and other medical topics you really have to study the human body and how to treat it if it gets sick.
Same goes for complex topics like law, physics, biology and some others. For these jobs you will always have to learn a lot of informations and how aspects relate to each other in a complex system like International Law, Astrophysics and so on.
But for most jobs in the economy skills are what is important. That is not knowledge of facts but knowing how to do a specific task. And for that our school system is not equipped well. Not nearly enough. Education in school does not prepare you to be the adult that you need to be to function well in society. Kids and teenagers don’t get taught enough IT skills in a specific and in a broader sense.
Specific IT skills
By specific IT skills I mean knowing how to use Powerpoint for example. By more general IT skills I mean for example not taking everything that is written on an online news site as a fact. So learning to use online information critically.
Another example: You want to do a podcast by yourself? Start googling it, look for the most valuable information for your purpose, make a plan and then execute on it. That is what I call Computer Literacy. Not knowing everything there is about computer and digital applications but knowing how to look for it online.
This is how a class on Computer Literacy could look like.
Class: Computer Literacy
obligatory for every student in school2 hrs/week
Goal: Young people will go to work and they are able to get familiar with every kind of computer or mobile program.
Homework (example): Students are encouraged to get information on a passion project from the internet. Here is an example for what a student with a seemingly non-digital passion could do: Little Sally likes horses? Let her google for options to ride horses in her spare time in her hometown. Let her compile a list comparing the options. Then support her in coming to a conclusion on what exactly to do. Or encourage her to write a blog about horses, horse riding and what she likes about it
Classes in specific computer knowledge
Taught sometime in the last 2-3 years of school. 2 project suggestions for such a class:
build a homepage with programming languages or a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Squarespace. The CMS homepage would have to be more comprehensive as it’s much easier to build than a homepage you code yourself. The CMS homepage should then have a more thought out concept with solid content like blog articles, good ‘about’ page, pictures and/or videos. The homepage that is coded should include all the elements a beginner to mid-level coder in those programming languages would know.
build a social media presence on 3 platforms: This is for students in the 1-2 years before entering the job market. For this project the students are encouraged to build a consistent social media presence over 3 platforms, for example: Twitter, LinkedIn and Xing. The goal is for it to look and read as a professional profile. Even if the student doesn’t have a lot of experience to present (how could (s)he while being at school?), they can still come up with an appealing social media concept and implement it consistently over three platforms.
Check out more of my blog posts on creativity, technology and life in general:
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