Teaching computer technology has a number problems associated with it at a systemic level in Ontario education, but this is my local attempt to resolve some of those problems in terms of accessibility and functionality.
I was recently talking to a dairy farmer who was telling me about the computer network they use for milk capture and assessment. This wireless system allows them to keep track of individual cow health and has produced a significant bump in the quantity and quality of their produce; he also thought it made for happier cows. Last summer we gave a ride to a French PhD student from the University of Guelph who got stuck on a bicycle in a thunderstorm, he was a doctor of genetic engineering. When I asked him if he wished he'd studied anything else he immediately said, 'computer programming.' When I asked why he said that all of the gene sequencing they are doing is taking place in computer simulations and not being able to program meant he couldn't do it as well as he wanted to. From farmers to gene sequencers - technical fluency in computer technology is influencing and redefining the work they are doing.
|Individualized technology training for students at all|
levels of experience and skill.
Research indicates that the general technical fluency of Canada's population is abysmal. Holding students to an absolute standard isn't a way to induce them into voluntarily (unlike geography, history, phys-ed and art, ICT isn't a required course in any Ontario classroom) improving this deficit. If we believe the simple fact that information and communication technical fluency will help you in pretty much every job these days, then this approach focused on accessibility and empowerment should be the norm, not the exception.