US makes UK look lice mice when it comes to tech ed

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19:   A young fan of the...

 (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

As the results rolled in again this summer and we saw how few children were taking IT or Computer Science courses at GCSE or A Level, the debates began.

Whilst we questioned how we could best encourage children to take up these subjects, it became very clear their introduction to the topic played a massive part in turning them away.

I had a look at past GCSE papers from 2011 and was appalled at how little technology was in them. Asking how to stay safe when online shopping is a worthy thing to teach a digital nation, but it should fall into general studies not IT.

But what should be included and how should it be taught?

This week I am in Silicon Valley and, as with most things tech, they have shown us up again and given us something to learn from.

There is an organisation in the US called Mouse Squad. It started in New York but now spans the country with 350 sites, 481 teams and more than 5,200 members.

The idea behind it is to build a new generation of techies from the classroom, teaching them how to solve technical tasks and use cutting edge technology. But the real beauty is the students become the IT support for the school, choosing problems they have at the institution and creating ways to solve them through IT.

At Brocade’s headquarters this week, a local Mouse Squad was able to build an Ethernet fabric in less than two minutes, putting many of us so-called technology journalists to shame.

These schemes are non-profit, receive donations from the big technology companies hoping to get their next batch of employees and go towards solving real problems in educational establishments.

I am thinking of starting a campaign to get Mouse Squad to the UK. Who is with me?

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