Saturday, June 06, 2009

Is computer-knowledge important for career?

With the onslaught of computerisation in our lives, this is one question which i am asked a lot by parents during my talks.

Grandparents beyond 60 have to negotiate computers when they have to use them to talk to their grandson in US. Parents of 50 have to use computers to find match for their sons and daughters. Teachers have to use computers to download the answer paper that their students have uploaded. Even uneducated citizens are forced to learn computers to find if their railway ticket has been confirmed. Computers are everywhere.

Parents therefore get very anxious and want to teach computers to their children right at the age of 5. Not so surprisingly, kids also learn computers faster than adults and therefore tend to master it quickly. But despite the huge usage of computers by the children till the age of 15, they do not learn to use computers smartly.

Children learn internet as their first introduction to computers. But the only activity they engage is in opening an email id and writing letters to their friends or brothers. They do not know how to find information on the net. If they want to know about the courses in say, hoteling, they will type 'hoteling course' and search in Google. Number of searches that pop up from this enquiry is so large that they cannot seperate wheat from chaff. Very soon they give up. After two three such 'failed' attempts, they soon give up on using internet's most powerful feature.

Some children, i see, take courses in Word and Powerpoint. Word helps to type letters and documents, while Powerpoint helps you to develop 'powerful presentations' to explain a subject, say on the subject of Nanotechnology. Once again, these are tools that serve a purpose if they are used frequently. It is like playing a table tennis. Anyone can toss a ball across the court. But unless you play diligently tennis every day for a long period of time, you do not become proficient in that subject.The same is true with these two softwares Word and Powerpoint. The effort in learning them does not produce any result.

In short, children do not know how to use computers in their life or career, because there is no meaningful guidance on the subject. Let us explore this topic further in next few blogs.

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