Do you know more about computers than an 11-year-old? is the title of an article from a UK newspaper. It contains an 11 question quiz that is apparently based on the primary school IT and computer science curriculum.
I’ve come across it via some folk currently taking one of the courses I teach. In that course they are learning about how to use ICT to enhance/transform student learning. For many starting out in the course their perceived level of ICT knowledge and competence is not high. I imagine a challenge phrased as the above struck a chord. Results included: 8 out of 11 and 7 out of 11.
What did you get?
I’ve been programming since 1983, have university degrees in Computer Science and Information Systems, and have spent my professional life teaching and developing applications of ICT. I should do ok. What did I get?
10 out of 11.
What does this tell us?
Yes, I’ve probably picked up a bit more knowledge about ICT over the years playing with computers. But that’s no great surprise.
Is the quiz a good judge of ICT knowledge, or more importantly capability to do useful things with ICT. No!
The article makes claims like
The scary thing for older people is that things you were never taught about are now common knowledge for young children. Even if you’re in your 20s quite a lot of what you learnt in school ICT lessons is probably obsolete now.
by Doug Beckers
One of the multiple choice questions was along the lines of
In what year did Tim Berners-Lee invent the World-Wide Web?
The answer is 1989. This is not some new fangled ICT knowledge that someone in their 20s wouldn’t have learned.
In addition, this is the question I got wrong. One of the distractors was 1988. I couldn’t remember exactly when the WWW was invented, so went for 88.
There’s nothing in this question that tests my capability to do something creative with ICT. Nor with many of the other questions (e.g. which of the following list of words is not a programming language). Most are not basic knowledge required to be creative with ICT and most could be answered after a Google search.
None get at the fundamental knowledge or capabilities that have helped me maintain some level of knowledge about ICTs as they evolve. None talk about the fact that while the syntax and specifics of ICT change rapidly, there are basic principles of how they are designed and how you can learn and work with new ICT.
The quiz is based on the assumption that it is what you know that is important. It’s not. Arguably, it’s about “how you know things are connected”. That particular quote is from this post by @gsiemens. The original full quote is from this newspaper article and is from a former editor-in-chief of a dictionary. The full quote is about the English language
English is a network, being a literate person is not so much about what you know, but about how you know things are connected.
Which perhaps says something about Jocelyn’s concerns
It really gets me wondering how we can actually keep up with the speed in which technology and terminology around technology is constantly updating and changing. Makes me feel like I need to source an ITC dictionary or something to try and keep up with what it all means!