I watched a fine interview with Molly at backstage.bbc.co.uk the other day, and it hit me that education and teacher training are the last link in the web standards chain. Well, okay, so Molly had a few things along this line to say. But not exactly what I’m about to say.
The technical people have all figured out that web standards work and make life easier. The corporate interests have all figured out that web standards bring a better return on investment and make good business sense. The accessibility advocates have all determined that web standards promote accessibility. The browser makers have all (finally, mostly) come into compliance with web standards. Everything is in place, everyone is convinced, but new sites are still being created using less-than-standards compliant code. Is education holding us back?
I’m going to generalize a bit now. It seems that all those busy, over-scheduled teachers in all the large and small colleges and universities around the country haven’t gotten the word yet. They haven’t had the training they need. They haven’t had time to figure out CSS for themselves. They don’t have the textbooks and resources they need. They are hamstrung by outdated requirements and antique regulations for technology education. And, as a result, they are not turning out students trained in standards, ready for industry jobs, who can produce sites based on best practices.
Of course, there are examples of colleges and universities where teachers are given the needed training, resources and opportunities to learn. When I find such examples, I’m quick to point to them here. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? There haven’t been many good examples to point to.
Teacher’s need to kick and scream to be sent to seminars, conferences, and classes; to have expert trainers brought to them; to hear what industry wants from their students. Yes, education is a bureaucracy, a slow-moving behemoth. But teachers can go to department heads and demand travel money to attended the right conferences, to have the right trainers, to plan a budget that will promote change.
I write books I think will help teachers teach standards. I review books to find the good ones that will help teachers teach standards. I can come to your college and help teachers learn about standards. If there is anything else that I can do for any college to make change happen, just let me know. I’ll be glad to do what I can.