While there is merit in adult learning and workplace schemes, the digital skills gap will only be solved if tackled at an earlier stage. ‘As with all career paths, the classroom is the starting block and it is there where the digital skills gap will be reduced’

Technology has evolved at an extremely rapid rate. Thirty years ago, the World Wide Web did not exist. But now traditional industries have been uprooted by innovative and disruptive technology.

In fact, everything from the way we socialise and purchase goods to how we educate students has been affected by technological advancements.

However, as technology has improved, the educated system has struggled to keep apace. While the school curriculum now includes courses in IT and programming, this is only a fairly recent development and technology has largely outstripped the average person, resulting in a digital skills gap.

More than 12.6 million UK adults lack the basic digital skills required for modern-day business, while a quarter of all developers in the UK are self-taught with no university education.

These are worrying statistics. As with all career paths, the classroom is the starting block and it is there where the digital skills gap will be reduced.

But a government report revealed that 22% of IT equipment in schools is ineffective, while only 35% of IT teachers have a relevant qualification for the subject. Clearly these figures have to be improved if the next workforce is to be empowered with the digital skills they need.

There is certainly merit in adult learning and workplace schemes, but instilling the necessary skills to be digitally savvy will undoubtedly produce the best results if tackled at an earlier age.

With this in mind, here are three factors schools need to consider in order to bridge the skills gap.

1. Coding and devices

Firstly, in regards to IT and computing in schools, there have been positive steps that have promoted digital progress. The curriculum now has a more substantial focus on STEM subjects as well as computer science. Alongside this, innovations such as the BBC’s micro:bit are encouraging coding in younger generations.

However, more still needs to be done. In order to improve the situation, a greater number of devices need to be introduced into schools, and the majority of work migrated on to the cloud, to be completed via a tablet or laptop. Otherwise, the way in which students work in school will not be a true reflection of how the modern office operates.

Children need a strong grasp of the basics, including how to handle different devices and primary computing skills, or they will stumble at the first hurdle in the working world.

Of course, providing a device for every student is an expensive endeavour and often doesn’t match up with school budgets. With this in mind, organisations can also look into BYOD policies, which are already common practice in the workplace, allowing the majority of students to work from their own iPads, tablets or laptops – cementing truly transferable skills.

2. Practical necessities

Schools, colleges and universities also need to have the necessary infrastructure to support an increased focus on computing, IT and technology.

As organisations reduce the ratio between students and devices, they need to ensure that their technology infrastructure can support a tech-heavy curriculum. Schools, colleges and universities will be housing dozens – if not hundreds of devices – and they need storage solutions that can cope with accommodating them all.  

To ensure storage is fit for purpose, organisations can assess a number of questions. Can it store the number of devices you need it to? Can it charge a selection of different devices? Does it have a weight limit? And can it scale as more and more devices are introduced and the student-device ratio decreases?

If a solution cannot store the amount of devices needed, charge and sync correctly or scale in the future, it needs to be updated.

Factors such as storage are often overlooked, however, if organisations find they can’t store, sync and charge an increasing number of devices – then it will soon stall digital progress as it can fundamentally disrupt learning.  

3. Preparation is key

Outside of the physical preparations, schools also need to play a bigger role in providing a greater understanding of a student’s working future.

Providing devices and lessons in practical digital skills is an important and necessary step. However, students also need to understand what a digital career entails. Where can digital skills be utilised? What industries are they needed in? These types of questions need to be addressed so that students have a clear vision of where and how they can use the skills they garner from science and technology.

Overall, reducing the digital skills gap will be no easy feat. The government will have to continually readdress the curriculum, while schools will need to invest in devices and a technology infrastructure to support a digital future.

But once educational organisations have the technology and storage solutions in place, they can begin to empower a generation of students with the digital skills needed to push the UK onwards and upwards.

Attributed to Chris Neath, head of product development, LapCabby

Author:  Ben Rossi

Source:  http://www.information-age.com/rise-of-the-it-freelancer-123462180

Categorized in Others

A masculinity expert says he fears heavy internet porn usage may have left up to one in 10 young men with erection problems.

Dr Andrew Smiler said that easy access to endless streaming porn is leaving healthy young men with the sexual problem.

He told The Independent: “The guys I see, most of them are between 13 and 25. The vast majority are, for the most part, the picture of physical health.

“So if I’m masturbating to porn once a day for 15 minutes but I do that every day for five years, I’m pretty well on my way to being an expert to having an orgasm to porn.”

He warned that because many heavy users are young, the habit becomes even more concerning.

“If I’m 17 and that is 90% of my sexual orgasmic experience, then I’ve put a lot of effort into that particular variety/flavour of sexual development but I’ve put in very little time developing my sexuality with another person, so it makes it more challenging to become aroused to another person and you find yourself in this other direction which is often very different to sex with a person.”

A 2014 study found that one third of men watch porn every day, and given that porn consumption has been increasing over the past few years - largely due to the advent of the smartphones and super-fast data connections - it’s likely that number is now even higher.

Dr Angela Gregory, psychosexual therapist at Nottingham University Hospital, said: “Men are becoming both physically and psychologically desensitised to normal sexual stimulation and arousal with a sexual partner.”

For some men, however, they develop hypersexuality and are constantly aroused. “It’s like an itch they can’t scratch and is always on their minds,” Dr Gregory said.

Despite the prevalence of porn-consumption, as of yet there is no official diagnosis for “porn addiction” so Dr Smiler, author of Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy, doesn’t like to use the term. Gregory, on the other hand, believes some men do develop very real addictions to porn.

She frequently sees young men with erection problems but often they don’t make the link to porn as it’s deemed so normal to watch it.

Fortunately, porn-induced erectile dysfunction is fixable, most easily if you’re a healthy young male: “If you can stop [masturbating], you can reboot your system to normal arousal,” Gregory explains.

She recommends going cold turkey for 90 days - some men find it easy, others really struggle. And Dr Smiler points out that you have to retrain both your body and your mind, so he talks to a lot of his clients about what they find attractive. 

Whilst porn-induced erectile dysfunction is a huge problem for men who regularly masturbate to porn, simply watching it is also creating an unrealistic idea of sex in their minds.

“In porn, sex always happens very easily, everybody has a great time and nobody ever refuses or says ‘I don’t want to do that’,” Dr Smiler said.

“But in reality, people aren’t always in the mood. Sometimes you fall over when you're taking off your pants and it’s funny. But none of that happens on screen and so guys go in expecting it to all be easy and they don’t know what to do,” he explained.

There’s also the issue of the majority of people not looking like porn stars. Dr Smiler, who works predominantly with young men aged 13-25 and wrote a book on masculinity, believes high porn consumption “alters perceptions and expectations of who is attractive,” meaning a lot of these men find they develop extremely narrow tastes.

Gregory believes that as porn becomes more harcore, explicit and ubiquitous, more men will suffer from intimacy problems and sexual compulsion.

So is there a safe amount of porn a man can watch? It really depends on the person, but Dr Smiler believes that a man can masturbate to porn once to three times a week and “it’s not going to have any more effect on his sex life than 50 years ago when guys were masturating to posters of pin-up girls.”

But when you find yourself masturbating to porn every day - and that’s the only way you masturbate - that’s when you’re heading for problems.

Author:  Rachel Hosie

Source:  http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-sex/porn-sex-impact-men-health-and-desensitisation-a7449311.html

Categorized in Online Research


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