Good idea ... or just plain stupid?
Primary schools in England could ditch traditional lessons in favor of teaching children how to use social networking sites such as Twitter, it emerged yesterday.
In the biggest education shake-up for 20 years, pupils would no longer have to learn about the Romans, Vikings, Tudors, Victorians or the Second World War.
Instead, under the blueprint for a new primary curriculum, they would have to be able to master websites such as Wikipedia, as well as blogging and podcasting. Compulsory sex education will start from five and children as young as nine will be taught to make 'informed decisions' about taking drugs and drinking alcohol.
A physical development, health and wellbeing program will make sex education compulsory in primaries for the first time. From around the age of five, pupils will be taught about gender differences while at nine, they will learn about 'the physical changes that take place in the human body as they grow and how these relate to human reproduction'. They will also be told 'how new relationships may develop'.
Proposed 'English will cover 'media texts' and 'social and collaborative forms of communication' alongside traditional works of literature. These should include 'emails, messaging, wikis and twitters'. Wikis, as in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, are information databases that rely on being edited by the public, regardless of whether they have any specialist knowledge in the subject being discussed. Twitter is the latest phenomenon in social networking that entails writing short messages of just 140 characters to update other users of one's activities, feelings or thoughts.
Under the proposed curriculum, children must also gain 'fluency' in keyboard skills as well as handwriting, and learn to use a spellchecker as well as learning to spell.
Is this a good idea ... or is it simply the 'dumbing down' of education?