Back in 2010, Maddison, a student in Australia, gave her view of ICT in ICT: A Whole New World. Eighteen months later, what does she think now?
I wrote that article so long ago. I am so glad that I stumbled across it recently because it made me realise how much I thought I valued ICT at the time! I am not saying that I didn't value it, I am saying that ICT now plays an even larger role in my life, a role that is not even comparable to that of when I was 15.
I use my computer everyday and my goals for the future are actually not possible without ICT skills, since I have refined my career pathway to 'Graphic Design'. I recently attended an university open day and was told that every graphic design student must own a MacBook, Adobe CS5 as well as have internet connection; and this isn't a one off. Some university courses can now be completed online! This is such a phenomenon, although I must admit that I would always choose actual classroom over virtual classroom on the basis that I love to be around people.
Reading my original article also renewed my appreciation for being given the opportunity to participate in the large international project that educated teenagers about the many considerations when using the internet. If it wasn't for this programme then I wouldn't have met the great people I did, and develop an understanding about the importance of ICT in communities, and I definitely would still be taking technology for granted. I really hope that such fantastic programs are still implemented in schools in years to come as I have witnessed first hand how important they are in preparing students for the future, a future that will definitely see a growing dependence on ICT.
I told Maddison about the current moves away from ICT and towards Computer Programming in the UK. This is what she said in response:
I was actually quite surprised about an increasing focus on Computer Science instead of ICT as I always thought ICT was the most important aspect of technology a student could learn about. Communication over the internet plays such a huge role in young people's lives today and sadly if students aren't able to understand what can happen the consequences can be horrific. Young people really need to understand their rights on the internet and what to do if the way they are being treated isn't right.
I speak of this very passionately as I was heartbroken recently when I heard that a talented young girl, only 15, who had qualified to play in a state sports team took her life as a result of being cyber bullied. The girl had not made her parents aware of the bullying and I feel that it is such a shame that this girl did not have the knowledge to cope with the situation. I know that it is always more complex than it seems but at least if students were made aware of their rights on the internet as well as what to do in situations like that one, then perhaps we would see the rate of tragedies like this occurring decrease.
Maddison is in her final year at school and studying English, Psychology, Health and Human Development as well as Studio Art, which she is really excited about. For her Studio Art theme this year she is exploring 'Hope and Humanity' where she will incorporate information about women living in impoverished areas suffering from fistulas.
You may also find 4 Reasons That The ICT Programme Of Study “Had” To Go interesting.
This article first appeared in Computers in Classrooms, the free e-newsletter for those with a professional interest in educational ICT.