education our children are receiving at school encompasses academic subjects
such as maths and history, science and literature, and also what are often
called vocational subjects, like textiles, working with materials such as
wood, art, food and cooking, childcare, IT and business studies.
A recent survey has found that more than three-quarters of parents believe that
school does not equip young people adequately with the skills necessary for the world of work. In
other words, not enough time is spent on vocational subjects.
children will not end up as Oxford Professors, and many kids find that they
have little or no talent for academic subjects. But that doesn’t, or
shouldn’t mean they are a lost cause. Less academically inclined kids often
have other skills and gifts, they may have an instinctive ‘way’ with animals and young
children, in which case perhaps they may enjoy a career in a stable, a zoo
or as a nursery nurse. They may have ‘green’ fingers’ and be budding
gardeners and horticulturalists. They may have an ‘eye’ for colour and
pattern, or skills at drawing in which case it makes sense to aim for a life
in arts or craftwork or web design and computer graphics!
to the survey, conducted by the skills service provider
Skillfast UK, 83% of parents thought teachers
should have more contact with the business world. Business can consist of
anything from selling pork pies to arranging holidays in Jamaica to selling
educational software. One thing all businesses have in common in the
twenty-first century is that they rely heavily on IT skills.
can assist children to learn and practise good IT skills from an early age.
Children’s educational software such as Spex used at school helps children
to learn to control a mouse, and to play around with and manipulate
graphics. It gets them thinking about prices and costing, and is an
excellent introduction to simple spreadsheet modeling and how that can help
with working out costs. And controlling costs is an important discipline for
anyone running a business.
educational software like ‘easy 3D software
from Aspex shows children how useful a computer is when it comes to
designing things, and not only in designing but also in actually
manufacturing and making a product. Tabs enables children to design and
manufacture models from 3D shapes eg boxes and simple models like buildings
and space rockets. It gives children a hands on ‘design and make’
experience, a simplified taste of what is presently happening in the world
of industry and commerce.
Educational software that children can regularly play with on computers at
home and at school helps them to feel confident about using computers and
with technology generally. Kids begin to understand the potential of
computers and technology to improve everyday life, and computers become an
everyday part of the child’s mental picture of the world. Kids will
automatically turn to the internet for information when they need to
research something, or buy something, or look up their friends. By this time
the computer has become a friend, an everyday tool rather than a stranger
and a tool of last resort.