We are introduced to a new iPhone every few months, a faster cellular plan nearly every week and updated on breaking news and information within seconds. Technology is moving faster than many of us can keep up with. Advanced systems and programs have been adopted into almost every aspect of the professional world. And yet, for some odd reason, our education system still fails to integrate technology into the classroom, let alone offer classes that teach the importance or application of tech skills.
For those of us who don’t pursue a tech-heavy degree, most of the skills associated with that track will go unlearned. The problem with this is that most technological skills are becoming standard qualifications for almost any field.
Hiring managers, executives, and tech experts shared the top tech skills that they hope to see on candidate’s resumes, creating a list of the hottest job skills found on LinkedIn. Included on the list were skills such as coding, mobile development, big data analytics, and cyber security, skills the average candidate could not learn on their own.
By integrating technology into standard education, emphasizing it to the degree of general sciences and liberal arts, we will help students acquire skills they need to be able to survive the new highly complex, technological-knowledge based economy.
Tech skills are now becoming qualifying barriers to many entry-level fields. By denying students access to tech education, we weaken their chances and flexibility within their chosen field. It’s time we pushed for a high quality tech education for our students.
Ari Abramson, a Fox School Representative for Temple Student Government and past president of the Association for Information Systems (AIS), gave us the insight on all things Temple tech. A junior Management Information Systems major, Abramson believes Temple offers many resources for its students to learn about technology, we just have to take advantage of them.
“The Gen-Ed program is focused on giving students a well-rounded education, not just in their school of study. Potentially, students do have the options to take courses such as Cyber Space and Society but naturally I don’t think every student will have the passion to learn about computers. The university needs to push students to take those courses for a basic understanding.”
It’s often overlooked, but the opportunity to grow our tech literacy is built right into our curriculum. Although most of us look at it as a burden, the two-course requirement in Science and Technology can and should be used to gain basic knowledge in big data or cyber security.
AIS offers resources aimed specifically for MIS majors, but that doesn’t mean we all can’t benefit. Non MIS majors can attend speaker presentations, learn about up and coming technology and have the opportunity take advantage of their developmental workshops to gain real world and professional skills.
“We have a program called Technical Development Application Program that offers five in person workshops and one take home supplement,” said Abramson, “The goal is to find the topics that students want to learn about that we don’t learn about in our mass curriculum. We have industry professionals come in and teach hands on options.”
Every week, regardless of their major, Temple students receive “Tech Bits” emails from Computer Services. A lot is invested into developing resources like these and the 24/7 Help Desk in the Tech Center where students can quickly get their questions answered. Abramson believes there is a strong level of support from the university; it’s just a matter of students taking advantage of the resources in front of them.
“Those emails offer really useful information,” said Abramson, “and even contain little tips and tricks and I encourage anyone who is trying to learn about computers or things they could potentially use to their advantage to read to those emails.”
Temple licenses with a company called Lynda.com. Here students have the opportunity to learn skills ranging from Photoshop to coding. The website is full of video tutorials which Abramson believes is a great way to practice new skills and take them beyond what is originally taught.
AIS works with the Dr. Tanner G. Duckrey School, a school that receives donations from Temple Tech for Philly and the Computer Recycling Center. Refurbished computers from Temple are donated to several schools in the area.
“Because of its close proximity to Temple, about twice a week, we send students to the school for about an hour to help install the computer labs and help move computers around, ensuring everything is plugged in and working,” said Abramson, “We do this to ensure that students have access to technology at a young age.”
We are privileged to attend a university with amazing resources and unlimited opportunities. This is not the case for every child but AIS is going above and beyond to help create a better future for the young students.
“When you go into the school, you are able to see firsthand that these schools do not have a lot of money. But when you see the looks on the kids’ faces when we install the new computers, you see the opportunities we are providing.”
Becoming literate in technology opens even more doors. Join an organization, maybe even read the annoying emails we receive weekly to learn something new everyday. Push yourself ahead of the competition and learn what others are too lazy or uninterested to learn.
According to Abramson, “There’s a lot of stress towards joining a student professional organization because it’s marketed to us as the best way to get your hands dirty while in school.”
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