Join my campaign to get it taught in UK schools.
“I think this is a great idea. The internet plays such a huge role in our lives today and will end up being taught in schools, so the sooner it’s taught formally the better.”Paul Armstrong,
Also backed by:
Dr. Alicia Blum-Ross
a Research Officer in the LSE’s Department of Media and Communications on the Preparing for a Digital Future research project
Professor Sonia Livingstone OBE
Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE
Managing director of Distinctly, the award–winning search marketing agency
Principal at the Watford UTC (University Technical College)
Whether you’re a pupil, student, parent, teacher, internet professional or anyone else.
Join me today – it’s completely free – and let’s see where it takes us. Simply enter your email address below or scroll down to read more…
“Understanding the role the internet plays in both business and wider society is absolutely essential for children, so I fully support Paul’s campaign for Internet Studies to be compulsory in UK schools. Without it, children will be left behind, with it, they can thrive in our digitally focused world.”Tom Shurville,
Why am I doing this?
Because while schools teach online safety, which is obviously a very good thing, they don’t currently teach children about what the internet actually is and offers, such as…
• New and emerging employment opportunities
• The best publishing platform ever invented
• Perfect to pursue and profit from your passion regardless of your age, background and budget
Plus, consider these stats:
• 87.9% of adults in the UK use the internet (99.2% of adults aged 16 to 24) (source: ONS)
• By 2030 e-commerce will account for around 40 per cent of all UK retail sales (source: smallbusiness.co.uk)
• 70% of adults in England use social media (source: gov.uk)
• Half of young Brits aged between 25-35 are planning to transform their hobby and passion into an online business (source: taxassist.co.uk)
•Technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed in the last 144 years (source: Deloitte)
•“Over the last fifteen years, the UK has benefited from a technology-driven shift from low skill, routine jobs to higher skill, non-routine occupations. 800,000 jobs have been lost but nearly 3.5 million new ones have been created. On average, each job created is paid approximately £10,000 per annum more than the lower-skilled, routine jobs they replace, resulting in a £140 billion net boost to the economy. Every region has benefited from employment growth in higher-skilled occupations. Almost three quarters of UK businesses surveyed say that they will, net, employ more people in future and most think that technology will have a significant or very significant impact on their businesses. In the future businesses will need more skills, including: digital know-how, management capability, creativity, entrepreneurship and complex problem-solving. The UK’s continued success will rest on the ability of businesses and organisations, educators and government to anticipate correctly future skills requirements and provide the right training and education.” (source: Deloitte)
Seth Godin, one of the world’s most respected writers and experts specialising in marketing and psychology, said:
“Education can no longer be done to people, it has to be done with them. A kid is now capable of sitting through almost any class and not getting it, because if they don’t want to get it, they’re not going to get it. But if you’re into baseball cards or into Magic: The Gathering or into Game of Thrones, because you’re into them – because you’re enrolled in this journey – it’s done with you and you eagerly suck it all up.”
And I think formal education in the UK needs to modernise the subjects it teaches.
I’m a parent and have been using the internet commercially and working online since 2007 and, with so much of life and business today conducted online, I’m concerned that children (and indeed adults) are not receiving any formal education on the subject of the internet.
I work for myself across several disciplines, including journalism, copywriting, editing and internet marketing. I also build websites for clients. I have, in effect, created my dream job – and feel very strongly that the entrepreneurs of the future be given the skills, insight and knowledge to do the same.
What would be included in a formal internet studies course?
Many topics, such as:
• The importance of good written English
• The importance of design
• How to avoid fake news
• How businesses and individuals make money online
• Identifying the ‘major players’ online (ie, the dominant businesses and organisations)
• Why and how Google does what it does
• The most important and valuable online marketing channel
• A study of some of the most influential individuals on the internet – and why they matter to every child in Britain
• The value of backing up work and files in at least three locations (including the cloud)
• How the internet has changed everything for young people in terms of job creation and job-hunting
• Terminology – for example, traffic, search engine optimisation (SEO), hosting, CSS, funnels, domains, URLs
• Understanding security threats to your computer, contacts, private information and website
• How to blog and why people and companies do it
• How to build a website using WordPress (which is free and used by 27.7% of all websites) (as of 15/3/17. Source)
• How to use social media (complementary to the safety lessons that children are, thankfully, taught currently)
• Using the internet for research (and why Wikipedia should be the last place we look, not the first)
• How and why the internet of things will give the planet its biggest shake-up since that lazy Sunday morning 66 million years ago when a stray asteroid crashed into it (I ghosted a book for the chief executive of a London tech firm on this subject)
Who else thinks formal education needs a rethink?
Lots of people, many of whom are far cleverer than me. Here’s one of them – Sir Ken Robinson – giving a TED talk:
What about media studies and computer science – don’t they cover it?
One of my children is studying GCSE computer science – which is great, but as far as I know, it hasn’t touched on anything like I’m proposing with a standalone course.
As for media studies – in which I have a degree – I haven’t seen the topics mentioned above listed anywhere in current school teaching.
I believe internet studies courses should blend media studies with computer science and also business studies.
Why don’t schools already teach this stuff?
Good question. I don’t know – you’d have to contact the Department for Education, as I have. But you’ll probably get a really long email that doesn’t really say much, like I did.
One reason could be that if everybody were to set up their own company and work for themselves, there’d be no one left to work in traditional, ‘normal’ jobs and pay the taxes needed to keep the country running (and maintain the status quo, but that’s getting a little deep for here).
I’m in! What should I do now?
Two things. Simply enter your email address in the form below and I’ll keep you updated on progress and let you know when and how things develop.
Then I’d like you to share this page, using the buttons on the left (if you’re on a computer) or below (on mobile devices).
Thanks for reading (and, hopefully, joining me).
*This article was updated on 16 February 2017 to remove references to GCSEs. While these qualifications are available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, pupils in Scotland sit Standard Grades.