As technology is now a part of everyday life, it has become necessary for students to learn basic technology skills and digital literacy. And although many of them have been born with a digital device in hand, it’s still important to make sure they know how to use it properly to succeed in their education and ensuing careers.
1. Tech Skills Every Student Should Have: Internet Search
Students need to know how to do a proper internet search, using search terms and modifiers. This skill is needed for school, work, and life in general, and extends beyond simply “Googling” it or asking Alexa/Siri.
These resources can help students to learn to find what they’re looking for.
- Free Fact-Checking Sites for Students and Teachers (opens in new tab)
- Common Sense Smart Online Search Tips (opens in new tab)
- Snopes.com (opens in new tab)
- Top Research Websites, Search Engines, and a Research Choice Menu for K-12 Students (opens in new tab)
2. Digital Citizenship
Students need to understand their digital footprint, how to effectively communicate, the tools they can use, how to find information, strategies for when they feel unsafe online, and what is considered appropriate and inappropriate behavior.
Here are some resources to get started.
- Best Free Digital Citizenship Sites, Lessons & Activities (opens in new tab)
- Common Sense Digital Citizenship Toolkits (opens in new tab)
- Spunout: What is Digital Citizenship (opens in new tab)
3. Online & Education Collaboration Skills
As we saw over the past few years, learning how to create, edit, and modify digital documents, presentations, and spreadsheets has become an essential life skill for everyone.
Many businesses still use MS Office, however, Google Docs and other communication and collaboration platforms have become equally as popular. These all work similarly so the learning curve when switching isn't that big. Google Classroom (opens in new tab) is already embedded in most schools.
- Google Education Tools & Apps (opens in new tab)
- How Do I Use Google Classroom? (opens in new tab)
- Microsoft Teams: What is it and How Does it Work for Students and Teachers? (opens in new tab)
- What Is Microsoft PowerPoint for Education? (opens in new tab)
- Zoom/Video Conferencing Best Practices Revealed in New Research (opens in new tab)
4. Navigating Social Media
How to responsibly use social media, both inside of and outside of school and work, is critical. Students need to know how to protect and promote themselves, make positive social connections, and how to use it to connect and collaborate with others.
- Best Free Social Networks/Media Sites for Education (opens in new tab)
- Keeping Your Students (and Yourself) Safe on Social Media: A Checklist (opens in new tab)
- When Students Use Social Media As a Source (opens in new tab)
- 5 Tips for Talking To Social Media-Addicted Teens (opens in new tab)
- How to Teach with Social Media (opens in new tab)
5. Cybersecurity and Safety
Computer literacy and security are not merely elective topics for today’s students. Instead, these have become an essential part of elementary education, starting at the earliest levels— because even preschoolers have access to internet-enabled devices.
- Best Cybersecurity Lessons & Activities for K-12 (opens in new tab)
- Cyber.org Cyber Safety Videos (opens in new tab)
- Google Family Safety Center (opens in new tab)
- Common Craft Video on Secure Passwords (opens in new tab)
- Code.org Cybersecurity - Simple Encryption (opens in new tab)
- Creating Strong Passwords (opens in new tab)
6. Troubleshooting Tech and How to Find Help
Learning how to search a help menu for software or hardware, where to go to find user forums to solve problems, and how to find other technology tips is always useful. In addition, being able to identify different tech terms and devices, how to make minor fixes, and how to do basic troubleshooting for WiFi, networks, etc., are all now required life skills.
Obviously most of these solutions start with a Google search, however, platforms such as YouTube often have plenty of How To options.
- How to Help Students Troubleshoot Technology Problems (opens in new tab)
- Basic IT Troubleshooting (opens in new tab)
- Best YouTube Sites & Channels for Education (opens in new tab)
7. Typing & Keyboarding
Yes, basic typing beyond using thumbs to navigate a phone – it's a skill that is necessary for any kind of communication as well as integral for careers involving tech and coding.
- 15 Sites for Typing & Keyboarding (opens in new tab)
- Learn Typing (opens in new tab)
8. Understanding Data Privacy & Cloud Storage
Students need to understand why it is important to protect their data as well as how to do so properly. The U.S. Department of Education protects student privacy as part of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
With all of the data that students create for school and work, it is also important to store it securely and have access to it at any time. Dozens of sites offer free data storage, with limits and pricing kicking in after certain amounts are saved.
- FERPA General Guidance for Students (opens in new tab)
- How to Educate Students About Safe Data Storage (opens in new tab)
- How Does Cloud Storage Work? (opens in new tab)
- Google Workspace for Education Storage (opens in new tab)
- Microsoft OneDrive (opens in new tab)
- Cloudwards: Best Storage for Students (opens in new tab)
9. Finding Safe Apps & Software
Given the proliferation of options regarding any task, being able to find, evaluate, and use apps for school and work is critical.
- Common Sense Best Apps & Sites for Learning (opens in new tab)
- Evaluating Educational Apps (opens in new tab)
- Education Applications Reviewed (opens in new tab)
- 6 Ways to Check if an Android App is Safe to Download (opens in new tab)
10. Copyright and Citing Sources
With ease of access to content, students need to understand copyright laws and rules, how to cite a resource, and how to integrate someone else's work into their own work properly. They need to know that just because they can copy and paste something into a document, it does not mean it’s free for anyone to use.
- Library of Congress: Getting Started with Copyright and Primary Sources (opens in new tab)
- 6 Google Scholar Tips From Its Co-Creator (opens in new tab)