Are Kids Bored in School Tech Classes?

Carrie Schmelkin : Gossip from the Hallways
Carrie Schmelkin
Web Editor, TMC

Are Kids Bored in School Tech Classes?

For all of you out there who were (or are) bored to tears in middle school went you were forced to laboriously calibrate the amount of words per minute that you could type during computer class, I’ve got news for you – the UK government is picking up on this disinterest.

This week, the UK's Education Secretary Michael Gove announced his plans to overhaul the way technology is taught in schools because, simply put, children are “bored out of their minds.”

“Instead of children bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word and Excel by bored teachers, we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations," Gove said.

“By 16, they could have an understanding of formal logic previously covered only in university courses and be writing their own apps for smartphones,” he added.

According to Gove, pupils are not adequately prepared to handle the work environment based on the current technology curriculum. Consequently, Gove’s plan calls for the scrapping of current technology curriculums that teach how to use programs such as Microsoft Word and the introducing of classes designed around students’ wants and interests.

The education secretary also plans on reviving the legacy of Alan Turing, the British mathematician dubbed the father of computer science, who worked on cracking the German Enigma code during World War II.

Echoing Gove’s sentiments, Ian Livingstone – one of Gove's advisors and a computer games and fantasy entrepreneur – told BBC radio that the lessons currently being taught in schools were "completely irrelevant."

"It's a travesty given our heritage as the most creative nation in the world," Livingstone said. "Children are being forced to learn how to use applications rather than to make them. They are becoming slaves to the user interface and are totally bored by it."

While I’m all for Gove’s mission of introducing more dynamic tech classes (particularly since the world needs more Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs who can harness creativity into real life visions), Gove is remiss in stating that students need not concern themselves with how to navigate Microsoft Word and Excel. Conversely, these skill sets are of the utmost importance as the work environment which Gove references demands the use of these programs.

Much as kids take history, language and science classes each year until they graduate, with each year becoming progressively more encompassing, perhaps students should be required to take technology classes in succession. For example, second grade would be about the basics of computer navigating and each year could get harder until you get up to electives by high school such as “Advanced Web/App Design.”

Sure our kids should be able to take classes where they can explore app developing and website design, but they can’t ever take those interests to the next level if they don’t know the basics. Perhaps Gove should be suggesting a revision to the existing UK technology program, rather than a complete overhaul.


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