20 years ago, schools understood that typing was an important. I even did typing class while studying a graphic degree, well before the advent of desktop publishing. 15 years ago, schools understood that typing with a computer and navigating graphical interfaces was important. We taught typing, it was on the time-table and used special applications to do it.
10 years ago schools thought that information super highway was important. We entered the age of ‘information technology’ and encouraged students to ‘look up’ and ‘find’. We learned to type, to use a computer and to search the internet because someone thought it was important.
But now we know it’s important to think about technology in terms of media literacy, where friend driven and interest driven learning blends with formal learning. We know connectivism is influencing how and where learning happens; we know social media has transformed communication and collaboration. We are rethinking the very nature of information itself.
While schools often take the long break to renovate or rejuvenate the physical infrastructures, doing the similar in the pedagogical domain is almost none existent and the year begins much as it left off.
I propose these schools re-introduce ‘touch typing’. That is a better use of time and resources than using Web2.0 poorly or fumbling with learning-theory-rhetoric in staff meetings or in front of parents. At least then, kids can go home and use their own social networks with at least one relevant skill from the ICT classroom. I am not sure why learning to type was removed from so many classrooms – perhaps its something to do with ‘digital natives’. Students starting school for the first time will have signifiantly different experience of technology that those starting high school this year experienced in their pre-school years. Pre-schoolers develop sufficient skills to operate a keyboard, mouse and navigate iconography using a range of technologies. Early readers and writers have been using a wealth of online activities before entering K12.
What are they going to learn about in the next 12 years beyond basic office automation and search/copy/paste?
To my mind if curriculum leaders need to be articulating a clear vision of what media literacy is; putting professional development in place to allow staff to learn it; putting school programs in place to teach it; – just as they did with touch typing all those years ago.