What Tech Should I be Teaching?

by Farren

So, what “tech” should I be teaching, you ask?

Well……. It depends….

Actually, there’s way more in that question than I can answer in a single blog post! Not to mention that the answer will change over time as technology changes over time. But, there are some general, fundamental topics that I think are important for all students. I will cover just a few of those in this article — more in the future.

The concept of “data” and how to properly manage and manipulate it.
A computer is basically a machine that can retrieve, manipulate, and store data. How a computer does that is a topic of future investigation. The data is the “human” part and everyone should have a well rounded idea of what data is and how it can be manipulated with a computer.  A word processor document is data. A spreadsheet is data. An audio file is data. A photo is data. A video file is data. To a computer, data is everything. To the human using the computer, everything is data.  To use a computer is to manipulate data.

How does the Internet work?
Since the Internet is simply a collection of networks, perhaps the better question is how do networks work? Networks move computer data from one computer to another.  The how and why of that simple idea is great in both breadth and depth.  An un-networked computer is about as rare these days as seeing a model T Ford on the open road.  Almost any useful use of technology is going to require networks to move data.

The importance of radio technology.
The word ‘radio’ brings to mind images of the AM/FM radio in the dash of most vehicles. And while that is valid, it’s no where near complete. The use of radio is most technology is surprising.  The WiFi in your laptop/tablet/phone is radio.  Your phone’s connection to the cell tower is radio.  Bluetooth is radio. NFC is radio.  Your car’s key-fob uses radio. And the list goes on.  Having some fundamental understanding of radio can be a big benefit to using the technology that’s using radio.  And yes, before you ask, amateur (ham) radio will be the subject of many future posts.

Privacy and security are absolutely critical.
Your personal data on your personal computer that’s connected to the Internet is under attack. Everything you post on the Internet is up for sale.  One mistake can haunt you for the rest of your life! The Internet should be thought of as an eternal war zone and if you don’t take precautions and protect yourself, you will be caught in the crossfire!  Not understanding the ramifications, or simply ignoring them, of being lazy with your privacy and security can be deadly.  And, closing the bard door after the horse has escaped is futile.  Social media is the worst offender is this area — there is no “delete” button on the Internet!

More to come….