Kids Can’t Use Computers

There is an amazing post from a few weeks back on Coding 2 Learn and it is entitled, Kids Can’t Use Computers… And This Is Why It Should Worry You, and it discusses some things I’ve known for a while, but never really put in words.

The most important part for me is the following:

‘So what do you teach?’ she asked as I worked on her presentation.
‘Computing’ I replied.
‘Oh… I guess these days you must find that the kids know more about computers than the teachers…’

If you teach IT or Computing, this is a phrase that you’ll have heard a million times, a billion times, epsilon zero times, aleph times. Okay I exaggerate, but you’ll have heard it a lot. There are variants of the phrase, all espousing today’s children’s technical ability. My favourite is from parents. ‘Oh Johnny will be a natural for A-Level Computing, he’s always on his computer at home.’ The parents seem to have some vague concept that spending hours each evening on Facebook and YouTube will impart, by some sort of cybernetic osmosis, a knowledge of PHP, HTML, JavaScript and Haskell.

Just because children grow up with something, doesn’t mean they’ll become experts in it. Sure, it might make certain things easier, and they might have more opportunities to learn how to use technology, but people don’t naturally pick up skills relating to something unnatural. We spend a great deal of time growing up around cars, but that doesn’t mean we will just naturally know how to drive them, repair them, or build them.

It really frustrates me, as someone that does work with technology for a living that people just assume that kids will quickly no longer need my services and guidance, or that everyone can do what I do.

Using something and being savvy at it are two very different things, and I’d love if more people talked about the limited amount of knowledge the new generation have when it comes to understanding technology.

It is a long article, but I hope you’ll peruse through it as it makes many great points and examples of why it frustrates me and those like me so much. Please read Kids Can’t Use Computers on Coding 2 Learn.

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