A proposed overhaul of British elementary schools, commissioned by the government, would make mandatory education in blogging, podcasting, Wikipedia and Twitter. Queen Victoria and World War II, not so much.
It's not as bad as it sounds: Though mandatory teaching on Second World War would become optional, it's already covered heavily in secondary schools. Children would be required to learn two key periods, but the school could decide which one.
Plenty of fodder for educational conservatives remains, though. Spellchecking would be taught alongside spelling, keyboard skills next to handwriting.
And Twitter in schools? The horror! Surely exposure to a stream of vapid, 140-character bursts of marginalia will warp young minds. And no kid needs to podcast. Right?
Actually, Twitter is becoming so ubiquitous that calling it mind-melting is the equivalent of making the same, sweeping statement about post-it notes, or brochures. Or the internet as a whole, for that matter; 14 years ago Time magazine got everyone worried the World Wide Cybernet would turn children into zombies.
The same goes for blogging and podcasting: They're just a couple of mediums.
If kids are going to learn to communicate on, say, 8.5"x 11" sheets of dead-tree slices, why not also show them how to do it online, as well? The alternative is to wait for their friends to teach them the same thing, illicitly, on their kiddie iPhones and BlackBerrys. That'll go well.