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
- Common Sense Smart Online Search Tips
- Top Research Websites, Search Engines, and a Research Choice Menu for K-12 Students
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
- Common Sense Digital Citizenship Toolkits
- Spunout: What is Digital Citizenship
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 is already embedded in most schools.
- Google Education Tools & Apps
- How Do I Use Google Classroom?
- Microsoft Teams: What is it and How Does it Work for Students and Teachers?
- What Is Microsoft PowerPoint for Education?
- Zoom/Video Conferencing Best Practices Revealed in New Research
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
- Keeping Your Students (and Yourself) Safe on Social Media: A Checklist
- When Students Use Social Media As a Source
- 5 Tips for Talking To Social Media-Addicted Teens
- How to Teach with Social Media
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
- Cyber.org Cyber Safety Videos
- Google Family Safety Center
- Common Craft Video on Secure Passwords
- Code.org Cybersecurity - Simple Encryption
- Creating Strong Passwords
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
- Basic IT Troubleshooting
- Best YouTube Sites & Channels for Education
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.
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
- How to Educate Students About Safe Data Storage
- How Does Cloud Storage Work?
- Google Workspace for Education Storage
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Cloudwards: Best Storage for Students
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
- Evaluating Educational Apps
- Education Applications Reviewed
- 6 Ways to Check if an Android App is Safe to Download
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.