Olivier Assayas's film on the aftermath of May 1968 is infantile ultra-leftism
JOE GLENTON explains his need to respond to a world that is unsustainably divided
One of the best projects of the inaugural Brighton Digital Festival, which ran throughout September, was the placing of high-quality geek speakers into local schools.
Acclaimed people like Aral Balkan and Anna Debenham have taken genuinely sophisticated, inspiring seminars and workshops direct to Brighton kids.
I think this was the smartest, most potential-filled part of the festival, not just for the stated reason that it gives young people a glimpse beyond top-line website consumption into the deeper digital arts.
Even more importantly these guys are the cavalry charging in, bringing desperately needed back-up to lonely web savvy teachers who know we urgently need to bring children better access and education in the online and digital worlds.
Such teachers are sadly still a rarity, set against a majority of colleagues who usually get more suspicious and ill-informed on the subject the higher up the pay-scale you look.
They're surrounded by - drowning in - deep cynicism about the importance and even usefulness of digital technologies from all parts of the school heirachy.
Almost every time I visit a school I find two things. First, a poster of Michael Gove with a Hitler moustache drawn on (often one for each department staff area and occasionally an extra one in the glass trophy cabinet beside the memorial to the war dead). Secondly, I find a wild-eyed and desperate teacher hamstrung and harried by the school's overbearing 1990s Internet set-up.
Such cultural distancing from the digital world in the education system hums with intensity even as they proclaim false creds from the rooftops. And yet since school infrastructure is often built on a zero budget patchwork of bodge jobs, the savviest kids have run rings around it anyway.
Resources are a perpetual problem: I imagine a lot of kids, even not-so-privileged children, are now carrying better technology into school than the teachers have access to for lessons.
The solution is simple - wifi should be in every school. If your first response is to worry about the problems it brings get a grip. This isn't a choice, it's the new reality and young people deserve to be better prepared for it than we were.
Yes of course it gets supervised - all childrens' behaviour gets supervised. They can agree proper use like anybody else. However today some local education authorities have a starting point of "no access at all, to any website," until senior staff members add specific sites to a "white list" one at a time.
And far too often staff members are trapped in the same ring-fenced snail's pace network as their pupils.
Not only denied access to the most powerful educational tool ever conceived in the history of the world but also with a whiff of sedition around the learning of any crucial skills that might unlock the system's mysteries.
The first and loudest conversation about digital tech is always about "safety." It's as if an entire nation's digital education policy is obsessively focused on stopping teenagers look at pornography.
"Facebook bullying" is just bullying. That it occurs on one particular website doesn't make it any different from a clique of nasty bastards in the queue for the bus.
By creating scary taglines and attaching them to one comms tool, our stupid educators render it glamorous (otherly), while at the same time distancing themselves from the ability to solve the problem. If ever there wasn't a time for behaviour to become the responsibility of IT wonks, it's bringing up children.
It's also a myth that all children are supremely, instinctively savvy in this area: The phrase "digital native," for someone growing up web literate, risks obscuring that most of them do little beyond the most passive consumption of the internet.
Some kids are born geeks, it's a talent like anything else. But for the rest, just because they speak a weird new language doesn't mean they're not mistakenly typing web addresses into Google, or believing that Facebook is a benevolent gift from angels.
I think this is vital and there's precedent - we were so slow unpacking conventional media, we were complicit in raising a generation of passive, swallow-all, "don't care how it works" consumers.
If school is worth anything, it must unlock the make-up of the computer and the web as a priority, including hacking, programming, taking bits apart and creating new things from them.
For me this stuff - alongside perhaps a bunch of general survivalism skills - is just about the only valid "universal" subject left for a school to teach, once basic literacy and numeracy is accounted for.
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