Computer Literacy

Every so often, I chat to Falconbury’s IT guru. It is a version of the Hairy Bikers do Old School (the recent BBC 2 series of programmes), in that he patiently puts me straight about what I should be doing/thinking about technology and then puts up with me trying to share a few life/commercial insights.

In one of our recent sessions, we discussed the fact that, somewhat strangely, the current crop of people leaving higher education is not as computer savvy as you would expect, compared to those who started working, say ten plus years ago.

This came as news to me, as I assumed that each generation is more computer literate than the previous one. It turns out that, as the current digital kit is just ‘there’ to be used and is, of course, more and more sophisticated, the users do just that – use it all without any need to look behind it, or understand what lies behind it. Just click.

Technology has gone the way of the car then, I suppose. Years ago more folk than at present, would know how an engine worked and be able to fix a few basics and their understanding of the internal combustion engine was greater. Now, as cars have become more and more sophisticated, most folk only look under the bonnet to top up the screenwash. Just get in the car and drive it, is the approach.

Looking too at what goes on at school, we aren’t helping, it would seem. ICT and computer studies are only done by those really interested in them and who go into working in computers or software (as in those really interested in the mechanics of cars are, well, mechanics!). School pupils, all of whom you would think, would study computing to a highish level of understanding, are just clicking here and there and although they are good at using software products, are not that knowledgeable about what lies behind them.

This seems wrong to me. In our schools, shouldn’t the use of computers/software be as compulsory as maths?

Why do I say this? Well, for a start, it would help all aspects of an individual’s life, socially as well as in business, to have a better handle on the uses of technology – to enable them to exploit all the opportunities in employment or self-employment that they will meet, as well as use it to their advantage in their lives outside work.

Another problem by this lack of technological ‘looking behindism’ is that more and more firms are totally in thrall to computer consultancies, just as everyone is totally in the hands of trained mechanics. A good thing, some might say, I suppose, but I’m not so sure!

Neil Thomas
June 2016

Published on Jun 06, 2016 by Neil Thomas