Poll: Is the practical computer education in grades K-12 adequate?

The TechRepublic Microsoft Windows Blog polls members: Is the practical computer education provided to students in grades K-12 adequate?

At the risk of revealing my advanced age, when I was growing up, computers took up entire rooms and could be operated only by a very small portion of the population. A teenager in the 1970s had no access to any real computing gadget unless you want to count Merlin and Simon. But, wow, have things changed.

For example, my 10-year-old nephew is perfectly comfortable in front of a personal computer; he can surf the Web and install applications (games mostly), and he even has a basic understanding of viruses and malware and how to avoid them. He exhibits none of the fear I see so often from novice computer users several times his age and with college degrees under their belts. He knows as much about computers as I knew about Hot Wheels when I was 10.

But I also have met many 20+-somethings who have no knowledge of how a PC works or how their Apple iPod stores their favorite songs. They have never seen one of our Cracking Open Photo Galleries and wouldn't understand what they reveal, nor do they want to. They are perfectly happy in their blissful ignorance and look to others to repair and restore their PCs and other electronic gadgets from any security transgressions they may have made.

So I wonder: is the current generation of K through 12 students getting a proper and practical education with regard to the personal computer? Will this generation be more adept and more aware of the benefits and the pitfalls of using a PC connected to the Internet? Ten years from now, will network administrators still be fixing problems caused by careless and clueless users not using common sense when it comes to security, malware, etc?

Note: For the parameters of this poll question, let's confine the responses to developed nations. I know certain parts of the world have far more basic education concerns to worry about than computers they don't have access to anyway.

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Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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