Teaching information technology part 1

Although Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are essential skills for the 21st-century. But among them, Information Technology is the foundation that should be taught in both elementary and high school as almost everything we use today has been impacted by Information Technology.

Without proper teaching about Information Technology, people are becoming “consumer of technologies” but not “creators of technologies, ” and it will have severe implications for our future. In order to avoid this mistake, we need to improve the education system by starting a new curriculum that based on information technology.

Modern society depends on technology. No area is not impacted by technology. For example, today people are using mobile phones, emails, text messages, social networks for most of their communication. Many business transactions are conducted online via the Internet. People are searching the web for information, news, and movies, shows, and other entertainments, etc.

In this “digital world,” business can be conducted 24 hours and seven days a week, so information technology has become the center of everything for a modern society. As computer power is growing more powerful, and storage capacities in “a cloud” are infinite, Information Technology is impacting everything, everywhere, and every people. But this technology only benefits those who can create them or people who have learned to use them effectively.

In this “technology-driven world,” everybody needs to know how to use technology so they can adjust and adapt to the fast-changing environment. Just like in the past, people need to know how to read, write and perform some basic arithmetics; today, they will need to have a knowledge and skills in using technology. The question often ask is when we should teach these skills?

In my opinion, information technology should be taught in elementary school for children to be familiar with technology and the use of some essential tools. These children should be taught in both concept (WHAT) and the use of technology tools (HOW) as well as the rules for using them safely and ethically (RIGHT and WRONG).

Elementary school children need to know how a computer works, and how it connects to a network and the Internet (WHAT). They need to how to access and use a computer; how to search, copy, store information in a computer; how to write and revise documents using a word processor; how to organize their works (Copy, delete, rename, save) and storing in files in directories; how to draw pictures utilizing software tools. (HOW) They should also be able to do homework on a computer and sending them to their teachers. They also should be taught about the safety and ethical use of technology such as how to distinguish between the real and the virtual, what they can do and cannot do, and how to protect and understand the security and fraud issues.

Sources

  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University