Previous posts have tackled both tertiary education initiatives as well as learning during your professional career. But we cannot overlook planning for a future. And that future, as most will agree, belongs largely to the following generations.
There’s stacks of material out there that covers the topic of what you should be teaching your offspring about technology’s future. When we spoke to our own experts, however, they told us a few things which surprised us. The one thing they agreed on – there’s no such thing as too much knowledge and learning when it comes to the tech sector. And since age is hardly a barrier to ICT learning anymore, bring on the education!
The future will have tech demands
From the time that our children can grasp concepts, they will be exposed to increasing levels of sophistication (and probably automation) in technology. They are acutely aware that we can push a button to heat up a meal, or log into an app to order one. They see us change lighting and climate control settings with the same devices used for talking and texting. These are all experiences they will need to draw on for familiarity later on.
What’s more, by the time they are in their formative years, they will very likely need to learn how all these functions are interconnected at much more basic levels. Because at some point following their education, they are expected to be gainfully employed and contribute in some way to the future of an increasingly technology-based economy.
Early start, balanced with non-tech activities
“One of my concerns with my 3-year old son is him becoming too tech-savvy too fast,” says Paola, an HR manager. “He recognizes icons and their functions on devices, and can navigate back and forth. He uses icons to identify and complete games. I try to teach him with learning games, e.g. match the pair, match the sound to the animal and building puzzles. He prefers interaction over passive learning. I’ve never had to teach him how to use, say, a phone or a tablet.”
Asked about the reading factor, she has a major regret. “It’s sad that the library is no longer a go-to. Having too many digital books encourages jumping around due to boredom and not finishing what you start. It also means you only get half the info, and cannot decide properly on whether or not it is believable.” She goes on to say that she will make sure to teach her son to search properly once the time comes. “He needs to, as much as possible, be kept away from fake news, and learn how to recognize it. And definitely no social media until he’s much older. Parents should play a singular role in all this.”
Finally, she is adamant that she won’t be ignoring the rough-and-tumble play. “Young bodies need physical activity. My son will always be climbing trees and running around.”
Their future starts now
Erik, a sales channel manager, sees the future as upon his young daughter already when it comes to ICT. “Everything is becoming more cloud-orientated and dependent on technology. We cannot raise our children in a traditional way anymore. Educating them in terms of the technological world that we live in is key to their future success.”
Erik believes that giving correct exposure at right time will help then develop coding and other skills as part of their baseline education. “Our 1-year old already knows that she can swipe the tablet and something happens. She already knows that by calling granny and tapping the screen, she sees her via video chat.”
“These are things that most of us were only introduced to later on in our life. This was totally new technology to us, and the learning curve was often steep. By starting our own children at a young age, we will enable them to use future technology better. They can adapt it to society to further enhance lives, created careers and find solutions to everyday things that we struggle with.”
What about formal vs self-taught education?
Schools are already providing a tech subject (like this one, for example), but they can make it more future-proof by interluding ICT as a thorough component. Topics to include should be common items such as hardware, software, devices and ubiquitous applications. The gist of it is that your children should strike a balance between learning on their own and being taught.
Francois, a senior Adept support technician, lays out a generic path for this. “Firstly, cover more than the basics. A standard Computer Literacy subject teaches very little of value for the ICT field. If offered, take a computer programming course. Or pick up some basic additional certifications, such as an A+ and N+ (at International level) before the end of your senior year.”
Francois goes on to explain that trying your hand at the various common options is just as vital for a good grounding. “Learn how to use an office-suite such as MS Office, Star Office, Libre Office, Neo Office, Open Office, etc. And be aware that there is more than one type of operating system. If you have access to a machine that you can break without worrying, go for it. Try and install a different operating system. Play around with a basic WiFi network. And read as much as you can!”
“The same applies to coding. Become proficient with a basic programming language before you tackle other languages. By the time you achieve this, you’ll have a better idea of what it can do, and how it can or can’t apply to your areas of interest.”
Adept is a big proponent of education, and our staff value it in every aspect of their lives. We thank our team for contributing to such a vital discussion, as both parents and ICT sector workers!