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Kids can't use computers... and this is why it should worry you

If you teach IT or Computing, this is a phrase that you’ll have heard a million times, a billion times, epsilon zero times, aleph times. Okay I exaggerate, but you’ll have heard it a lot. There are variants of the phrase, all espousing today’s children’s technical ability. My favourite is from parents. ‘Oh Johnny will be a natural for A-Level Computing, he’s always on his computer at home.’ The parents seem to have some vague concept that spending hours each evening on Facebook and YouTube will impart, by some sort of cybernetic osmosis, a knowledge of PHP, HTML, JavaScript and Haskell.

Normally when someone spouts this rubbish I just nod and smile. This time I simply couldn’t let it pass. ‘Not really, most kids can’t use computers.’ (and neither can you – I didn’t add.)

She looked surprised by my rejection of what is generally considered a truism. After all, aren’t all teenagers digital natives? They have laptops and tablets and games consoles and smart phones, surely they must be the most technologically knowledgeable demographic on the planet. The bell went, and I really did have a lesson to teach, so I didn’t have time to explain to her my theories on why it is that kids can’t use computers. Maybe she’ll read my blog.

The truth is, kids can’t use general purpose computers, and neither can most of the adults I know. There’s a narrow range of individuals whom, at school, I consider technically savvy. These are roughly the thirty to fifty year-olds that have owned a computer for much of their adult lives. There are of course exceptions amongst the staff and students. There are always one or two kids in every cohort that have already picked up programming or web development or can strip a computer down to the bare bones, replace a motherboard, and reinstall an operating system. There are usually a couple of tech-savvy teachers outside the age range I’ve stated, often from the Maths and Science departments who are only ever defeated by their school laptops because they don’t have administrator privileges, but these individuals are rare.

I suppose before I go on I should really define what I believe ‘can’t use a computer’ means. Being a network manager as well as a teacher means I am often the first port of call when a teacher or student is having issues with computers and associated devices. As my lead technician likes to state, ‘the problem is usually the interface between the chair and the keyboard.’ Here are a few examples of issues I encounter on a fairly regular basis.

A sixth-former brings me his laptop, explaining that it is running very slowly and keeps shutting down. The laptop is literally screaming, the processor fans running at full whack and the case is uncomfortably hot to touch. I run Task Manager to see that the CPU is running at 100% despite the only application open being uTorrent (which incidentally had about 200 torrent files actively seeding). I look at what processes are running and there are a lot of them, hogging the CPU and RAM. What’s more I can’t terminate a single one. ‘What anti-virus are you using?’ I ask, only to be told that he didn’t like using anti-virus because he’d heard it slowed his computer down. I hand back the laptop and tell him that it’s infected. He asks what he needs to do, and I suggest he reinstalls Windows. He looks at me blankly. He can’t use a computer.

A kid puts her hand up in my lesson. ‘My computer won’t switch on.’ she says, with the air of desperation that implies she’s tried every conceivable way of making the thing work. I reach forward and switch on the monitor, and the screen flickers to life, displaying the Windows login screen. She can’t use a computer.

A teacher brings me her school laptop. ‘Bloody thing won’t connect to the internet.’ she says angrily, as if it is my fault. ‘I had tonnes of work to do last night, but I couldn’t get on-line at all. My husband even tried and he couldn’t figure it out and he’s excellent with computers.’ I take the offending laptop from out of her hands, toggle the wireless switch that resides on the side, and hand it back to her. Neither her nor her husband can use computers.

A kid knocks on my office door, complaining that he can’t login. ‘Have you forgotten your password?’ I ask, but he insists he hasn’t. ‘What was the error message?’ I ask, and he shrugs his shoulders. I follow him to the IT suite. I watch him type in his user-name and password. A message box opens up, but the kid clicks OK so quickly that I don’t have time to read the message. He repeats this process three times, as if the computer will suddenly change its mind and allow him access to the network. On his third attempt I manage to get a glimpse of the message. I reach behind his computer and plug in the Ethernet cable. He can’t use a computer.

A teacher brings me her brand new iPhone, the previous one having been destroyed. She’s lost all her contacts and is very upset. I ask if she’d plugged her old iPhone into her computer at any time, but she can’t remember. I ask her to bring in her laptop and iPhone. When she brings them in the next day I restore her phone from the backup that resides on her laptop. She has her contacts back, and her photos as well. She’s happy. She can’t use a computer.

A teacher phones my office, complaining that his laptop has “no internet”. I take a walk down to his classroom. He tells me that the internet was there yesterday, but today its gone. His desktop is a solid wall of randomly placed Microsoft office icons. I quickly try and explain that the desktop is not a good place to store files as they’re not backed up on the server, but he doesn’t care, he just wants the internet back. I open the start menu and click on Internet Explorer, and it flashes to life with his homepage displayed. He explains that the Internet used to be on his desktop, but isn’t any more. I close I.E and scour the desktop, eventually finding the little blue ‘e’ buried amongst some PowerPoint and Excel icons. I point to it. He points to a different location on the screen, informing me of where it used to be. I drag the icon back to it’s original location. He’s happy. He can’t use a computer.

A kid puts his hand up. He tells me he’s got a virus on his computer. I look at his screen. Displayed in his web-browser is what appears to be an XP dialogue box warning that his computer is infected and offering free malware scanning and removal tools. He’s on a Windows 7 machine. I close the offending tab. He can’t use a computer.

so true~

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always love ‘em

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carpr0n:

Lollypop

Starring: ‘72 Fiat 600 L

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republicx:

Big nudity scene: photography by Spencer Tunick ll Artist On Tumblr

Spencer Tunick stages scenes in which the battle of nature against culture is played out against various backdrops, from civic center to desert sandstorm, man and woman are returned to a preindustrial, pre-everything state of existence. Tunick has traveled the globe to create these still and video images of multiple nude figures in public settings. Organizing groups from a handful of participants to tens of thousands, all volunteers, is often logistically daunting; the subsequent images transcend ordinary categories and meld sculpture and performance in a new genre.

Gilossssss..but in cool way..

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moonriise:

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Get Lucky (Cover) - San Cisco 

it’s soooooo goood, I’m going to cry omg 

Perfect wowee

omfg<3333

cannot wait for their new album!

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sayadoodle:

spend your time with them :D

Yeppp..absolutely..

sayadoodle:

spend your time with them :D

Yeppp..absolutely..

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Ramadhan is coming very soon~weeee..

Ramadhan is coming very soon~weeee..

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Tik..tik..tik..times ticking..cepat2lah maghrib..nak berbuka lapoooo..o.0

Tik..tik..tik..times ticking..cepat2lah maghrib..nak berbuka lapoooo..o.0

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Rindu itu pasti~

Rindu itu pasti~

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We are bonding together as we’re a big family with a diff daddy n mommy..oh so damn sweet huh.. Bye guys. Thanks for the memories for this awesome n exhausted 3 years.. Hewwwww.. Girls, love u guys k..muah. P/s: oh there’s also 2 guys in those photos.. Noel n Alex.. See u next time perhaps.

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Orang bilang kalau berdua pasti Ada yang ketiga.. Who..? Dark vader..?hell nop.. It’s me sweetest lady ayu (^^,).. See that lady who are wearing towel like an Arabian lady.. Isn’t she cute..?auwwww.. Ok to be frankly, I don’t n I super duper gettin so annoyed of this couple. They are nice people but it doesn’t seem that I have to give such credit and honor for them to like uhmm showed off ur intimate ohhhh loveydoveyscrewyouguys..! But still they are nice people.. Uhm. No Ayu, there’s no turning back with ur words.. C’mon.. Ok bye muah.

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The crazy little thingy with cosmate hasdiana, tikah n me~ yep, gonna miss uni life ever..

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Hey you Bobbie.. U tricked me with ur lovey dovey killing songs on. Then this is ur reward.. I turned u into Bonnie’s the bananananananana.. ^^,

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akunirwan:

hdiah bfday..!!! tq c pemberi.. :-)

Weeeeeeee… Baheeeeeek hatinya c pemberi itu..

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