GetCTRL ran a workshop with some 9 year old students, introducing them to the Web and HTML language. At first I wondered if age 9 was too young to learn HTML and how the web works. 9 is not too young. Not by a long shot.

The students picked up the lingo and concepts really quickly. They were very engaged and there were no behavioral issues, I feel mostly because the students were not in a “traditional classroom” setup. That and they got to play on and learn about the Internet.

During the workshop they demonstrated some basic computer skills such as typing, copying and pasting, downloading and opening files and browsing the Internet. They also demonstrated some of what I think is missing in New Zealand’s Digital Competency / Literacy. Most of the students had never used Right Click (context popups) before. Some of the students had never seen a compressed file before, let alone opened one.

This is not anyone’s fault. This is just Stage One of the Four Stages of Competence. Many people don’t know what they (including students) don’t know. So I set out and spoke to some other industry experts asking them for their thoughts on the subject.  Most of them just said: “I thought everyone already knew how to do that.”

So I adjusted my traditional HTML workshop and added some basics computer skills:

  • Right clicking and identifying what double clicking would actually do on a specific file
  • Opening the same file in two different programs and seeing a different result ie: browser vs text editor
  • Creating and naming folders to suit your need
  • Visually identifying and decompressing zip files

Yet again, the students picked up the concepts really quickly, but without a constant need for these skills, I feel they will soon be forgotten. This is why I am eagerly looking forward to returning to the school for another of many workshops.