"This is boring. I don't care about computers!"
"Why do we need to learn about computers, anyway?"
Good question. Why learn English? Indeed, why learn anything...
If you asked me why we had to learn English, especially Literature, at the age of 15 I'd have said something along the lines of "to keep the company that makes ink cartridges in business." However, with a little more thought it's blindingly obvious why studying English, and more to the point - thoroughly embracing it, is such a big deal.
Most people can converse without too many issues and may never feel the need to write or express themselves in any way other than the ordinary. Clearly, though, those who learn to master the language, to take control of it, inevitably benefit from their intricate understanding and can find themselves in position where it make a big difference.
Consider you were sifting through job applications; would you be impressed by the applicant that seemingly has no grasp of basic grammar, makes spelling mistakes and clearly struggles to structure their argument, or are you going to be caught by the person who writes strong, flowing arguments for their right to your new position?
The answer is obvious, isn't it?
Computing, like English, is something we all have in common and all make use of on a daily basis. Just like English, pretty much everyone can use a computer or device (my son mastered IOS devices at the age of 2) but few realise that the true potential and power is in being able to control computers - and to do that, just like language, you need to understand its structure, how things work together, what makes it tick, the rules concerning what you really can do, and what's in the realms of fantasy.
Interest no longer comes in to it. Whether we like it or not, whether it's right or wrong, people form judgements when they observe poor use of English or those lacking in a basic grasp of grammar rules. It defines you as a person - how you communicate sets the tone and gives people a real sense for who you are. The same is now true of technology, it is quite simply impossible to exist in modern society without interacting with some form of machine. The bottom line is, an education in technology prepares you to be literate, to be conversant in a language that is so often misunderstood by so many. Take it a step further and it may be the difference between you working with machines, or being replaced by one.
Do you like the idea of being lied to or ripped off? How about being totally helpless when something goes wrong, with something you rely on, daily?
There is a classic analogy here of the person who buys a car, has no idea how it works and when something goes wrong with it relies on the garage to fix it for them. What's wrong with that?! Well... How do you know they're being honest with you? Is your idle problem really so bad that you need £1000 of work carried out, or do you simply need a new mass air flow sensor which costs £40, you could fit yourself in 30 minutes and just happens to be sending the car computer round the bend?
An honest establishment is going to tell you the truth, obviously. You've all heard the horror stories, though, or watched the TV documentaries of people who go for an oil change and come out with a huge bill for work that was unnecessary and sometimes wasn't even carried out.
A person with a basic knowledge of mechanics is going to smell a rodent a mile away and take their car elsewhere. Better still, they'll probably have a bash at fixing it themselves and rely on "professional" help only when it's a big or safety critical job.
This needs to be you! Regardless of whether you like computing or not, it is now necessary to have a basic understanding of what computers are and can do, just as you should understand your car when you learn to drive so you don't buy a lemon and end up out of pocket or worse.
Take a look at this extract from one of the most horrendous high street technology retailers:
What does all that actually mean? Why should you buy the more expensive model? Or should you? What's the difference between a Celeron and an i3?
Their TV adverts are horrific.
"This new laptop with 8GB and a dual core processor for only £399!"
What are they talking about? It's classic, just like car sales, bigger numbers must surely be better! So if they just quote numbers at people, its really easy to drive sales.
"This one has more gigs, so it must be better!"
So are you better off with a 1TB hard drive, or a 512 SSD? 1TB is bigger, so that's better, right?!
If you're taking GCSE or A-Level CS, stand around in any PC retailer for a while and listen to the conversations people are having. It's eye watering how little most customers know and the sales staff love it. Worse, the sales staff often know only marginally more than the customers do. I've heard some horrific and quite obviously terrible advice given in shops by staff that haven't a clue about what they're actually selling.
A little knowledge goes a long, long way. In technology and computing, it could save you thousands in your personal life and, who knows, in your professional life.
Its better to know what's going on around you and to be in control than to be led, or worse, misled by others.
That's why you need to know about computing.
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