Where do we go next?

Based on the summary diagram in the previous document, there are distinctions between what humans can do and what can be reproduced artificially, but at this stage I haven't gone into these in any detail - rather I have identified potential areas that it would be appropriate to consider educating for.

Clearly conceptually these concepts are at a high level, and quite naturally realistic teachers would baulk at the idea of a curriculum that focussed on these ideas. In mathematics for example within problem solving, to attempt a process of determining an insight with the majority of students would be ludicrous. But it would be appropriate to begin conceptual education at the end of year 9 (beginning of exam courses).

Begin exam courses(not written)

So what do we do before then?

We develop the skills necessary to live in the computer age. So what does this mean? Here I do not have the expertise but there are plenty of people who do. These are the key areas:-

Keyboard familiarity

Fundamental Architecture

Operating systems

File Structure and Downloading

Internet structure

Computer Security

Backup Procedures

Information processing

Simple communication processes

Understanding software areas eg word-processing

Understanding simple web design

Computer limitations

Human capabilities beyond the computer

For some students some of these areas are second nature as they are familiar with computers at home, however all students need to carry these skills into the World of Work. In consultation with the World of Work, a syllabus for such a Basic Computer Skills such as this should b established and delivered to every student. Further since such a course is to be considered a basic, then it should be a prerequisite for the World of Work. Therefore not only should it be taught but all students should have obtained a certificate recognising competence in Basic Computer Skills. It is my view that no student should be employed without the certificate including those entering the family business, thus requiring some motivation on the part of the students.

Keyboard familiarity is hands-on, but apart from that none of the above skills actually require hands-on time. Given the financial restraints previously discussed, there has to be limited computer time available. But as any teacher will tell you, practical time is the best way to learn.

However there are certain practical objections needed to be resolved. At one stage I was involved with some ludicrous thing called Principles of Operating Systems, for the simple reason that Windows was expensive. At that time Acorn also had a foothold in UK education, and of course Apple has a foothold in US education. As these companies are unwilling o support our children it is necessary for our schools to rationalise this, either by getting some cooperation from these computer giants or by developing a practical operating system whose behaviour is almost exactly that of the operating systems they will use in the World of Work.

In the current climate this rationalisation does not occur but if the education system is providing training that is of use to business then maybe there can be some realistic compromise - Windows/Apple Schools Edition. Learning an operating system that has no practical basis in the World of Work is useless.

If the Basics at secondary school were to be language, maths (arithmetic) and computer skills, then the above could easily be covered in years 7, 8 and 9.

Before considering other subjects within this computer-integrated curriculum, I want o consider these basic core subjects - language and maths. Reading, speaking and writing are skills that remain with us in the Computer-Integrated-Curriculum, but what happens to maths? We have many lessons to learn from the debacle over calculators so:-

What happens to maths?