THE BLOG

After Generation Y...Generation Tech

29/04/2014 12:09 BST | Updated 28/06/2014 10:59 BST

How do we become adults? Is it by quietly learning, from our books, teachers and parents, until we have enough knowledge to go out into the world? Or is it by writing our own rules, taking risks and trying new ways of doing things?

Chances are that we tried a combination of the two when we were growing up. We made a bunch of mistakes, got a few things right - but we always knew we could count on our teachers and parents to set us straight. Maybe we listened to them, maybe we rebelled against them, but they were always the ones who had the most information about the world around us.

But what happens when it's the kids who become those who know how to do something their parents don't? Increasingly, they're the ones teaching us how to change our privacy settings on Facebook, how to save documents under a different format, and how to use cloud storage on our iPads.

This is a new generation: one with skills that many older people don't have, who are used to a new, digital way of learning and exchanging information. They don't just acquire knowledge from parents and teachers - our kids learn from their friends and from websites, and are getting used to being know-it-alls who teach upwards. Our children share ideas, tips and insights with their peers from all over the world through social media and mobile apps, absorbing immense amounts of information in an open and connected way.

We all need to listen to this new generation, because they are the experts on how to adapt to a world that is rapidly shifting. They will be the drivers for change in the future - and the best way to prepare them is to make sure they have the skills they need to support the supersonic pace at which things are changing. This starts with making sure schools are equipped with the best technology - an area in which some schools are still lagging - and understanding exactly how it can enhance every area of the curriculum.

That is why we at Virgin Media Business have launched a new initiative, called Generation Tech, to explore how technology is making a difference in schools. This is a state of the nation study that will allow us to celebrate the huge progress schools are making and hear from students themselves on how their classrooms can adapt even further to the new digital world.

It is only by empowering the next generation that we can truly teach them skills such as confidence, responsibility and a sense of pride in what they do. We can help in this by giving young people a voice on topics they're passionate about, so we're setting up the first ever Digital Youth Council. This tech-savvy group of youngsters will play a part in helping to set the digital agenda in education, learning from and giving suggestions to the country's leading education and technology experts.

In our fast changing world, nurturing tech excellence in schools is not only in the interests of our children - it is also vital to the future of this country. The digital economy is one of our greatest strengths as a nation, and we need to keep investing in digital talent and infrastructure to make sure we maintain and grow this competitive advantage.

That is why we are taking the debate on education technology to the next level, opening up the platform for the next generation, and giving them the keys to drive change in their schools. Our students are not only writing the future - they are also tweeting, coding and blogging it - and there is nothing more exciting than getting to see what the next few decades will look like in their hands.