Thursday, September 3, 2009

Scary Conversations at School Parent Night

Naturally this is about the computer classes.

My 2nd grade daughter is getting computer class, about 45 minutes +/- once a week.
They are teaching them to type, hopefully better than I. They will get to some learning areas of usefulness like how to search online, she knows this, and similar such items.

I asked when do they start teaching programming, or even basic html/website design.
Never at this school(goes to 8th grade), perhaps in senior high school.

Naturally I asked what do they learn over time and the answer was, Word then Excel and Powerpoint of course, because they will use them in school for projects, science class etc. Evidently graphs, something rarely used anymore, is still popular in school.

They have a kid version which acclimates the students to Word through almost a game interface and then they move on to more advanced topics in the programs.

This is Office 2007.

I replied that I expected within a few years that typing would be secondary to voice and that staying the Microsoft path leads to problems, especially if it all changes with each iteration. As it was some parents and teachers had issues with the versions being saved between home and office. Opportunity? Perhaps, one thing at a time.

When questioned why they do not teach more programming was told they learn what is practical for school. I suggested kids these days are much more intelligent than that in addition to the fact that not all families have 2007, most have XP/2000/2003.

Teach a kid to program in Java and you have created a business for them. Possibly a lucrative one. For their age they could make some good spending money.

And what teaches them how to resolve problems? What about how the computer works? What makes it up? How it connects to the Internet or your phone? What telecommunications are for? Why security is important and privacy as well?

Some of this does get covered but in general I left rather unhappy that, yet again, I have to teach my kids something I thought school would be doing. My list of what they don't teach is long already, but this I thought they would learn.

My computer world started when I was 10 and we got the IBM PC so maybe I have to wait a few years to see if the education gets better or my daughter "gets it" but I have a suspicion I will be teaching my kids more than their school in this area. Their teachers better know their stuff by then, especially once my son figures out white hat hacking.