An interesting point in last week’s symposium was the industrialised nature of the school system, and whether or not network literacy should be more of a focus.
I would argue that some aspects of the school system are in fact out dated. Thinking back to highschool (the entire nine months ago that it was), one of the most used phrases in the classroom was undoubtedly…
‘When am I ever going to use this in life?’
Although the question was always ineffective and we’d inevitably have to do the work regardless, the annoying kids who would ask it often did have a point. As Elliot mentioned, the retention rates of content learned in high school are remarkably low. In my experience, I can safely say my knowledge of the steps of cellular respiration is quickly slipping away from me, and I couldn’t even tell you what the point of a matrix is. Was this content therefore useless? What good will it do for us in the real world?
It’s difficult to say if more of an emphasis on network literacy will solve this issue. However, the extent to which technology is becoming increasingly abundant in the school classroom should be made known. Laptops, iPads and interactive whiteboards are consistently used for class activities, and are arguably driving the classic pen and paper out of the picture. If children and teenagers are making use of these devices and the Internet to such an extreme, wouldn’t it be logical that they are taught at least a basic understanding of network literacy?
I tend to think that there is not much point in attempting to educate a grade five to code HTML – like my diminishing knowledge of cellular respiration, it is something that they are likely to never use again. In saying that, there is certainly a basic level of Internet etiquette that should be taught and understood, and will in fact be useful for almost everyone post graduation. For instance, the fundamentals of copyright and the ability to judge the validity of content on the net is something that all children and teens should be aware of. In a world that has become extremely reliant on the Internet, we should at least have an understanding of the medium we are dealing with, and where our online actions could lead us.