Is Computer Class In Schools Still Relevant In Malaysia?

If not, how can a computer class in school stay relevant to Industry 4.0?

In this technology driven era especially during the pandemic, online classes and meetings has been broadly implemented. As some news has highlighted that the teachers find students more confident, creative and proactive after the introduction of Home Based Learning (HBL). This is where computer class in Malaysian schools plays an important role to prepare the workforce of the future, as the future that requires computing skills is already here! Majority of the students had no problem with the online classes throughout pandemic because they have attained the skills and knowledges. Mainly revolving around google and Microsoft. However, it is still nowhere close to fulfilling the IR 4.0.

What? They are still learning Microsoft Offices?

Nowadays, the possession of computers, laptops or tablets are not exclusive to private school nor vernacular schools anymore. They can be obtained easily and government in Malaysia has been putting efforts in providing free devices to the students. CERDIK program, which has been introduced by the government aims to provide as much digital access such as laptop, tablet and data connectivity to the families in need. 

With computers in schools, what are they learning? Based on our research, despite the availability of computers in schools, they are still learning Microsoft Paint, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and etc. Even the teachers themselves have not mastered the fundamentals. While these are important, students cannot envision computer usage beyond typing, drawing, and calculating. Most of the time, they are not even using these devices for learning or productive endeavors. Gaming, Tiktok, Wikipedia, Social Media? That’s it? Have they ever wondered where these applications came from? How amazing is an organization or individual or group to have created such wonderful apps/features or websites? Have the students ever been amazed or inspired, and went to explore the sources and methods? 

Why Should We Incorporate IR4.0 Relevant Content into Our Computer Class?

Not a day goes by where humans are not advancing. Try asking yourselves these questions:

– Can our education system be radically transformed to meet the demands necessitated by IR 4.0?
– Can we keep up with the fast-paced changes in technology?
– Do we have sufficient experts and financial support to facilitate and administer new technology?
– If not now, when? 

The incorporation of IR 4.0 into computer classes becomes extremely important as it stimulates the students in terms of problem solving, critical thinking and innovation so the students become more creative and independent, which is greatly important in their daily lives as well as in the jobs they are attaining in the future. The time is ticking, the earth is oscillating, and technology is advancing. How about the existing syllabus? The syllabus should be useful at all times, not only at a certain phase of life only. The students should be exposed more frequently to Internet of Things IoT, cloud computing, AR augmented realities, AI artificial Intelligent, which are the keys and core of IR 4.0. As these are the current revolutions of the world.

(1) How? Choose between PC, Laptops, or Tablets! 

In 2022, not only we can have a computer, a pc. Tablets, laptops and smartphones are introduced and most operations that can be done on a computer can be done on these devices now. However, they might not be as convenient or as compatible as using a computer. Nuff said, a beggar can not be a chooser, while laptops are hard to come by due to costs, they do provide the best portability for a lesson. Some schools do provide tablets, however tablets have limited maneuverability in terms of functions. They do not support heavy usages such as coding, programming, video editing, and etc. They are best for research purposes however when it comes to programming lessons, they can only bite the dust. Serious tools for serious skills, every extra penny deserves its value. The government should choose wisely before they employ such tools in a classroom. No point having assets that do not serve the initial purposes. Nevertheless, as mentioned most of the operations are similar. The computer classes offered in school serve to implement fundamental skills such as google, microsoft. After the students attain the skills in handling these tools for research, calculations and documentations, they themselves can relate, bring forward and convert the skillset as well as knowledge to operate other devices such as tablet, laptop and mobile phones. As the concept in operating the common tools such as google related apps and Microsoft related apps are substantially similar. Bear in mind that these are not enough at all. Despite that, a small step is still a progress. 

(2) How? Utilise the Open Source Platforms!

With the availability of open sources, everyone can access coding, programming and related knowledge even without the guidance or access from government or school. However, it is still beneficial to have computer classes in school so the teachers and educators can guide the students as some students might not know where to start. As some of the open sources may not be free, there are numerous open sources out there which are free and are proved to be useful. These include google suite – a workspace powered by google which can organize your works perfectly, – a platform for students and teachers from all over the world to communicate and learn coding from each other , excalidraw – a virtual white board, giving you the classroom feelings and etc. Look up on the internet, there are everywhere! 

(3) How? Start small, from email, to Internet Safety!

The computer classes in school, by all means, should guide the students on how to navigate through email. Email, replacing the traditional courier and mail, is now the most formal communicating platform. Students ought to understand the fundamentals of email. The upper hands of emailing include ease of communication in a formal way as it is not only a one to one communication. Emails can be shared, forwarded, and replied by simple operations. In the former times, mice and keyboards connected to a computer or pc had to be ready in order for us to send an email. However, in 2022, we can accomplish these operations by just a tablet, laptop or even a smartphone. Moreover, in this modern era, email also acts as a security or recovery method for your bank cards, online banking details and etc. Thus, it is strongly recommended to be taught in computer classes in school as our daily lives and activities revolve around this operation. 

However, Digital Wellbeing has to be taken care of as technology can be a double edged sword. I believe these have always been parents and teachers’ concern. For an instance, commenting around is different from cyberbullying. Heavy usage of phones or computers is different from digital addiction. The students should use the digital tools for leisure, not to let them distract you from your work, studies or even families. No worries! The experts have got you covered! In these case, features like screen time monitoring or parents monitor can come into handy as they can help to handle digital wellbeing of the students. Apps such as ActiondashDigital DetoxDigitoxGoogle Family Link and etc are always there for you to maintain balance between life, school, work and technology!

Computer Classes can do so much more!

Computer classes in Malaysia school, in multiple aspects, has proven to be extremely beneficial to the students to prepare them for a changing future that you and I cannot predict. Tech is here to stay. Thus, computer classes should be continued in school, but it should also be improved to the next level. We at Chumbaka strongly believe in partnering with schools is the right way to go. Let CHumbaka take care of finding the best tech platforms and updating the curriculum to fit the students’ learning capabilities, while schools focus on personalising the learning needs for every student in a classroom environment.