Technology in education

Flip through any newspaper today, and most likely there will be a tech article about the latest government attempt to introduce technology to students. Read through that article, and you will find that more often than not this attempt will involve teaching kids to code, whether it is by computer or the use of a microcontroller. While this is all fine and dandy, this methodology inevitably misses out on a large part of the tech equation: the other part of “electronics, the so-called analog, or “discrete”, electronics.

First of all, it may be prudent to examine why we are teaching the young in the first place. Show me a man who believes that technology does not play a role in the future, and I will ask why on earth you are in the office of a future CEO of technology. Teaching technology to children opens up the future to them, and in this world, that is their chances at a future with a good life.

Another virtue of analog electronics is simplicity. Ask a guy who only knows how to program to build a circuit that brightens an led when it gets dark, and he will probably cook up some complicated program involving reading an LDR and mapping its value to the PWM of a LED. Bring the same problem to a guy who knows how to use these discrete components, and he will do the same thing with only a transistor and resistor extra. In the small scale, analog electronics are simpler than the usage of microcontrollers, but the functionality remains.

In conclusion, it will be wise to recount the story of the man having a fish for lunch. A fish has two sides, but only one faces the air at any point in time. Does he only eat one side of a fish? Do you only learn one facet of a skill? Is this story made up? Am I even serious at all? These are all questions that need to be answered, and the answers will come easily, but for those answers to have an impact on your life and the lives of others requires work, work that only you, and the forces of energy and time divided, can accomplish.