Printing, Telephone, Email, Social Media…what’s next?

Printing, Telephone, Email, Social Media…what’s next?

Following on from the article linked to above I offer the following reply. Social Media is indeed the next ‘ICT’ phenomenon that businesses and schools need to embrace going forward in a rapidly developing (technology-wise) world. 

The use of social media should be as an inclusive tool – part of your working ‘tool kit’. It’s a bit like ICT. Colleagues in all business have the need to use the technology in the same way they use a pen or their cell phone. The problem now is that rather than training employees to use specific aspects of social media correctly and appropriately ‘hubs’ are set up that accelerate the interested/elite whilst the rest stumble in the background.

As an analogy from a schools perspective, 15 years ago many schools (and even some now…) set aside separate rooms for ‘IT suites’ which rapidly became fallow and a wasted space. Massive and costly real estate fail. Why? Wireless, tablet and mobile technology….meant people had their ICT capability on the go. Yes, specific areas for CAD and media work were needed but on the whole everyone went ‘mobile’.  I see the same happening with social media; acres of space and large HR teams tied to it when in reality professional development should be seen as an all inclusive culture so that all employees are part of it.

Yes, you need someone to champion it but thereafter share the skills with everyone and train them up. A skilled workforce = better performance (especially with the onslaught of social media).

I wonder what the 5th Age will be? I bet it will be with us quicker than the 4th was…..

The ’3 R’s’ alone are no longer enough.

I published on my blog earlier today a very good video (What most Schools Don’t Teach…) that highlights one of the plights of modern education today – that is, what, exactly should global economies be including in their education provision and curriculums to help prepare youngsters for the world of work tomorrow and beyond?

The video highlights what I consider to be a black hole that exists throughout education around the globe. The basic fundamentals of the technologies that help shape our world are simply not being addressed within curriculums worldwide despite being ‘mainstream’ for some 30 years.  This is not simply about ‘code’, but the use and teaching of information and communication technology in general.

We all use computers in one form or another (from the digital watch on our wrists through using our Macs, PC’s, tablets, mobiles, vehicles we drive and the countless technologies that control our homes and lives in many other ways) but the massive deficit of skilled workforce to feed our demands in this area, it would seem, is significant.

Schools need to embed coding (no pun intended) and other basic Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into regular, routine educational provision from an early age. And I don’t mean simply providing ‘a lesson a week’ to the cause. All subject teachers need to include this in their work irrespective of subject discipline.

There’s no blame culture here, just a realisation that Schools, Governments, Teacher Training Agencies and Curriculum Providers must work together to help in preparing our youngsters accordingly.  

I was lucky enough to be part of a team of pioneering teachers that kick-started a brand new International School in Toulouse, France back in 1998. Every child aged 4-18 had a laptop. There were no dedicated ‘ICT’ rooms or labs. All classrooms were equipped to handle class sets of laptops with appropriate printing and projection capability and, more importantly, all teachers (irrespective of subject) were trained on how to use the technology everyday.  More importantly, teachers and pupils were given insight into how basic code could be used in their work for customisation.  The move towards a ‘hypertext’ curriculum was the ideal. Within a couple of years many KS3 (pupils aged 12/13) had websites that were virtual portfolios of their work that were constantly evolving and organic. And they updated them as part of their curriculum.

Three things helped us make this work:

  • Firstly, all teachers and support staff were involved, and trained, to deliver computer-based education. This was not the domain of a single ‘ICT’ guy or girl. Everyone contributed to the cause and this was seen as an integral part of their skill set delivery regardless of subject discipline.
  • Secondly, all supported the philosophy from the Head and senior management, governors, sponsors, teachers and parents through to the pupils. There was a common desire to succeed. This was important.
  • Thirdly, you had to be open-minded and divergent in your approach as a school; as a teacher. There are risks (there always are) but the benefits far outweighed them. Safety was key (providing initial training to parents and pupils prior to having the laptops so they were aware of the possible pitfalls associated with technology use – security protection, ergonomic issues, the laws relating to ICT use and so forth).

It is interesting to note that in the UK, the so-called ‘3 ‘R’s’ phrase (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) was coined in around 1825 by Sir William Curtis MP in a toast given during Parliament. It referred to the foundations of a basic skills centred education within schools.

It is clear to see that in 2013, almost two hundred years later, that these ’3 R’s’ alone are, quite simply, no longer enough.

What most schools don’t teach….sadly.

Although American based, this video highlights a real black hole that exists throughout education around the globe. The basic fundamentals of communication technologies that have been with us for 30 years are not being addressed within curriculums worldwide. We all use computers. But the massive deficit of skilled workforce to feed our demands is simply mind blowing. Governments, schools and Curriculum Providers…WAKE UP! Schools need to embed coding and other basic ICT skills into regular routine educational provision from an early age. See my blog for more on this.