Recommended Reading: “Kids can’t use computers”

Categories: Philosophy, The Classroom
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: August 12, 2013

I just finished reading the article “Kids Can’t Use Computers… And This Is Why It Should Worry You” by Marc Scott at Coding2Learn. It’s a bit long, but it’s a great read.

For starters, I totally relate to his difficulties. Few things are as frustrating as users who have no interest in even attempting understand their computers or who won’t even take some basic troubleshooting steps before calling for help.

But he also makes some great points as to why it’s a problem, and how we—as educators and parents—can go about fixing the problem. It sums up one reason why I tend to be more liberal than my colleagues when it comes to blocking software and why I don’t go through a ton of effort to lock down machines.

Scott seems to argue all users should be geeks, but I’d argue just knowing the basics of maintaining the system, how to manage software, when to use antivirus, and so on is enough. To borrow his car analogy, he seems to feel a driver should know how to break down the transmission and tweak engine performance. I would argue it’s enough for the average driver to know how to change the oil, monitor tire pressure, swap a tire, and so on.

With his main points and overall topic, however, I’m in complete agreement.

Technology is everywhere. Digital natives are not digital experts, and the less they learn, the more troubles technology is going to cause for them. If students are graduating without knowing how to set up a basic wireless network for their home or dorm room, or how to ensure their own safety on a public wireless system, we’re really doing them a disservice.

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