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Sharing Knowledge and Bridging Gaps: Children Teaching Children Computer Skills- Prof. Edna Aphek, Jerusalem, Israel


Theoretical background
It's a well-known fact that children nowadays master computer skills at a very early age and often better than adults. Our youngsters also master many qualities usually attributed to grown-ups.
In a book called Growing Up Digital, Don Tapscott describes the youngsters, whom he calls the N-Generation (net generation), as:
Tolerant, curious , assertive and more self assured and emotionally and intellectually open.

The Net Generation, summarizes Tapscott , is a generation that combines the values of humanism with societal and technical aspects.

The aforementioned characteristics, being emotionally open, self confident, tolerant and curious, combining humanism with technical aspects, make the N and digital generation ideal teachers for ICT.

Educational systems (I can mainly attest as to what has been done by the Israeli education system, and partially to what I learnt about the Shanghai education system, where I gave a seminar on the Integration of the ICT in Education, in June 2000), have been investing much time ,money and energy in teaching teachers computer and internet skills, sometimes, or should I say often, without spectacular results.
This process of teaching grown-ups a skill in order that later on they would teach it to youngsters, coincides with traditional and old assumptions - that the older teacher is the ultimate source of knowledge.
In a world where many children speak the language of computer and the internet as their "mother tongue", where many of them possess the qualities that make good teachers, it would be most appropriate and only logical to train the children who know, how to teach other children (and adults) computer and internet skills, be it other children in their schools, or children in other schools.
This short paper describes and discusses only one case of children teaching children computer skills: making PowerPoint presentations.

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