7 Computer Skills to Master by High School
Computers are everywhere today, so it’s normal for children to develop computer skills quickly and early on. By virtual elementary school, kids are figuring out how to use a mouse and navigate the keyboard.
As your child grows and his or her knowledge of technology expands, there are certain things that he or she needs to learn for school. Knowing how to cite online sources in a paper and create a chart in Microsoft Excel are just a few examples.
To make sure your child is equipped with the right skills, take a look at the list below. You’ll find the seven computer skills your child should master by the time he or she starts virtual high school.
Using a keyboard is one of the first computer skills a young child develops. By middle school, children should be able to type proficiently with two hands. To make typing even easier, have your child practice his or her typing skills with apps like Type-Fu.
Computers offer many different communication channels, such as email, chat, and social media posts. To use these channels correctly, your child needs to understand how messages should change depending on the context. For example, it’s fine to use emoticons and poor punctuation in an email to a friend, but an email cover letter to an employer must be formal and precise.
Online etiquette and safety
Another lesson that children learn early on is how to use the computer appropriately. You may have taught your child to avoid suspicious sites and emails, stay safe on social networks, prevent digital eyestrain, and communicate with others respectfully. After all, the rules of virtual classroom etiquette apply to your child’s time on the computer.
Knowing the basics of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is important in the professional world as well as in school. By high school, your child should know how to adjust margins and spacing, check word counts, create headers and footers, and track changes in Word. In Excel, your child should know how to organize information in charts and graphs, write formulas, sort and filter data, and use cell references. Visit Microsoft’s Office training page to find tutorials on many different topics.
One of your child’s responsibilities can be to keep his or her computer files organized. That means neatly arranging files in labeled folders, not saving them to the desktop. Check the student’s computer maintenance checklist to see if your child knows all of the guidelines.
Using web browsers
Children have a better experience browsing the Internet when they know the basics of web browsers. Make sure your child is familiar with the major browsers—Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome—and knows how to add websites to “Bookmarks” or “Favorites.” Older students should learn how to clear a browser’s history, cache, and cookies to fix browser performance issues. The web browser’s respective add-on galleries can provide helpful add-ons to customize and improve the browsing experience.
Online research skills are crucial for students in middle school and high school. Besides understanding how to use search engines, your child must learn how to identify legitimate resources, fact-check information, and cite online sources in papers. Picking up these research techniques will also help your child beyond high school.
Once children have mastered the above skills, they’re ready to cover more sophisticated concepts of information technology and computer science, like joining the global Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week. What are some advanced computer skills your child has impressed you with? Share with us below.