Teaching our children well

My son’s textbook for a grade 10 business course last fall included a chapter on computing that was so outdated, being six or so years old, that the teacher said they’d ignore that chapter. With some alarm, I came to realize that the information wasn’t being replaced with up to date content and that students were being left to absorb the information by their experience in the world at large.

Should I be worried? Yes, on several counts. As Symantec Corporation notes, our children live in a connected world where they are growing up socializing over the Internet with ICQ, online gaming and chat rooms. Symantec has teamed up with BC Telus, Industry Canada and the Canadian Association of Internet Providers to sponsor MISSING, a kit of educational tools warning parents and teachers about predators who use the Internet, while teaching valuable Internet safety skills.

In addition to the fear for our children’s safety is the concern that they may not have the computer skills necessary for them to gain entry into a major driver of our economy. Obviously that has ramifications for our country’s health as well with our shortage of IT skills. We all stand to gain when our children are getting the best education – especially relating to IT.

This issue highlights some of the partnerships between industry and academic institutions. There are many more. For example, Microsoft Canada is working to help primary and secondary schools build Connected Learning Communities that provide anytime, any place access to technology, enable schools to build modern learning infrastructures and help educators integrate technology into classroom instruction. Their new mentor program is aimed at teaching computer skills to more than 8,000 Canadian kindergarten to grade 12 teachers.

This print companion to www.itworldcanada.com also covers IT concerns of readers in the education field. Privacy and security head the list of those concerns, so you’ll find coverage on what you can do to keep your data secure. Security is constantly evolving and requires regular updating to be of any use – rather like our children’s textbooks.