I believe anyone who wants to become a genius can become a genius. Some are born with an innate talent for a certain craft or crafts, but many acclaimed geniuses of our time were normal people at one point. Some people may have realized their potential, but otherwise they were just average people. Living in the 21st century in a first world country such as the USA has its perks, since civilization has matured into a great state to be alive in. Tap water is a thing. Electricity is a thing. Ventilated air is a thing. Working from home is a thing – the list goes on and on. It seems to be the perfect time for geniuses to develop, and even though institutions such as the educational system seem to do more harm than good, the developmental landscape can quickly shift. With tools allowing people to foster skills and positive habits becoming more accessible to lower-income and at-risk youth and requiring less effort to produce tangibles, inequality disparities trends can be disrupted by proper usage of technology in the next generations.
Inequality is unfortunately real. For some people, finding success is much harder due to the environment and circumstances that they were born into. It can be hard to focus on a curriculum that doesn’t speak to their most pressing concerns (family, environment, money issues), even if it may have a positive impact on them. However, tools such as smartphones and laptops are leveling the playing field. Continuous connection to the Internet isn’t needed to use these tools of thought to document life, art or figments of our imagination. They can be used to build new platforms that change how people interact with digital mediums. They can be used to make money – a lot of it. While higher education is still valuable, especially in hopes of getting hired by a business or company, it's not necessary to find success anymore. A degree to code or build digital products isn't needed when there are loads of free and good resources online to help get started. However, schools are preventing kids from using these tools to their fullest potential.
How schools teach computer skills currently lacks the direction necessary to lead future generations to greener technological pastures. For example, schools may open up a computer lab and have students use the Internet within the “school firewall” doing the same or similar types of exercises over and over. Sure, there’ll be outliers that will figure out and explore positive interests during lab time. However, these enterprising explorers shouldn’t be outliers -- they should be the norm. Narrowing student usage of complex white-boxes such as computers compounds the common lack of knowledge around them. Curriculums need to expose students to different tools and methods for utilizing computers, which can be done either directly or indirectly. For example, an English class could allow book reports to be composed via a word processor (Word, Google Docs), visual means (Prezi, Powerpoint, Adobe CC) or webpages (HTML/CSS, Jekyll, Notion). Assignment guidelines like these would expand the canvas that students can draw on, as they pick up new skills and interests when given more options with which to craft a solution. Students today easily associate computers with simple ideas such as “typing essays”, “browsing the Internet” and “printing files” with how their curriculums use computers, but computers can be utilized to do so much more.
For many, digital tools can have a negative connotation, as they are tightly coupled to the Internet in people's minds. As a very lightly filtered network, the Internet is quite the double edged sword. While the Internet's origin lay in supporting military, communication and information networks, nowadays the Internet represents the ultimate consumerism experience for some. Parental guidance, now more than ever, is so important for making sure our future generations blossom with the gifts that are at their disposal, rather than dig tunnels through trash. Having a teenager spend their day with an IDE open for at least 10 minutes will pay many more dividends than scrolling through social media feeds for hours.
Future generations will be the ones building and molding what the future looks like. They just need to realize that sooner than later.