Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

ICT - When New Turns to Old: Resources

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

ICT - When New Turns to Old: Resources

Article excerpt

Technology's role in the future is a discussion for the present.

If you once spent hours typing code into a BBC Basic, or recall when shopping for computer games involved browsing through cassette tapes, you will know how technology has progressed in the past 25 years. When I was 12, lessons in workplace technology would have involved understanding the mechanics of a typewriter and instructions on how to open a bottle of Tipp-Ex.

So, when I am teaching pupils how to use today's software and hardware, I wonder if they will look back with nostalgic humour.

In response to "What's the point of ICT, Sir?", I explain just how integral a part of their life technology is and how that will only increase. But how best to prepare them for this? Should we make an educated guess about what future technology will look, sound and feel like? We ask students to spell correctly when they type, but in future they may dictate communications to their office technology, in which case their keyboard and mouse will become obsolete. We teach them paper document design, while being aware at the same time that the rise of digital tablets may also render this body of knowledge pointless.

Should we discuss with them the possibility that, within their lifetime, technology may become "aware", that Kurzweil's "technological singularity" may be reached and the rights of "artificial intelligences" may need to be considered? And by not talking about the possibility, are we creating the same level of ignorance that caused so many problems in earlier times?

The problem is that students are unable - understandably - to comprehend technology beyond their own time. …

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