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My Wife is a Girl Geek and so are my cool friends Eileen and Sarah. So, it is with some interest that the BBC chose today to pick up on survey results out today from Tesco’s which concludes ‘Girl’s more skilled on computers’.

I don’t wish to dispute the findings or the conclusion. Infact I think the evidence points to the very crux of the problem why any human, no matter age or gender, can find computing difficult. Skill has little to do with it in my opinion, the main problem is confidence.

Children are effectively like a blank canvas, they rely not only on what we teach them  but to create environments conducive to learning. This isn't just a classroom but influence and impression from different sources such as circumstance and peer-group. This for me explains why we think that Web 2.0 technologies has something to do with it and really it's only to do with a great number of people using it, I believe that Web 2,0 technologies success has actually been self perpetuating and the real reason risks being ignored because of it.

Our society has come to a point where the only way we can get mass interest into something is by making it faux cool by branding, advertising and hype. If enough people say it's cool, therefore it must be. Is this how we should be teaching our children what is right and what is wrong? Can you see the danger?

It's easy to make things cool, you just need enough money and time. The Internet is great for that, it's a conduit for which we are all connected. Like this message will ripple out only so far. Just like cool. Cool is short lived, fleeting, unsubstantial and this is what will happen to Facebook just like FriendsReunited before it as our gaze will be drawn elsewhere. So this is not the way we should be building the skills base for which our future depends and our economy relies on.

The most successful method is achievement, by growing a spark then nurturing our children from one level up to the next, not this quick fix pot-noodle world. True achievement comes with time and investment something that the growing economies of this world such as India and China know all to well. Where did all those legions of developers in India suddenly come from? Adding hot water? Whilst we were all wanting to be footballers and rockstars, they built a culture where it was Good to be a Geek no matter if you were male or female. We could learn lessons from this, however I suspect that it will be re-learning lessons in many cases.

It is good to know their are trend setters like Louise, Eileen and Sarah that like to buck the trends and follow their hearts and perhaps being on the wrong side of the percentage and this is why I admire them greatly and some small part of me wishing I was a Girl Geek too but we should make a society where being a Good Geek isn't the determine exception.

Posted on Monday, March 3, 2008 9:29 PM | Back to top

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