Posted by Christy Williams on June 14th, 2016
Once a futuristic concept relegated to expensive offices and corporations, computers have become a significant part of mainstream life. The digital age continues to advance, requiring a previously unmatched necessity for students to be computer literate.
Students need computer literacy skills for research and studying while in school and additionally for many jobs they will pursue. Places that they visit in the community will also require the use of computers to access necessary information, complete forms and applications, locate books in the library and many other previously manual tasks.
In addition to the daily usage of computers for tasks, the high school equivalency (HSE) and several other skills assessments have moved to digital formats. Students must be computer literate in order to successfully pass these exams. Among the skills necessary to be considered computer literate are basic access, word processing, file location, internet usage and email.
1. Basic Access & Sign-on
All computer users should be familiar with basic operational tasks such as powering on a computer and logging in with a user name and password. Basic keyboarding and mouse knowledge will be necessary to help students navigate the fields for input.
2. Word Processing & Spreadsheets
Word processing is one of the oldest and most useful functions of personal computers. Students should be aware of the basic functions of creating documents, including the use of special features such as text formatting and spell check. Learners should also be familiar with the basics of creating simple tables in a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel.
3. Accessing Files & Software
Software programs and files are stored on computers. Students should be familiar with how to locate and access these programs and files. The most simplistic ability will be selecting desktop icons that have been created for shortcut access to files. Slightly more advanced usage will require the use of searching the start menu for a particular file or program.
4. Internet & Search Engines
Because the internet is so widely used for so many purposes, it is imperative that computer users be familiar with how to access a browser. The most common browsers allowing internet access are Microsoft Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Students should understand how to type a specific web address into the browser. Students should also be familiar with the basics of using search engines, such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo, to find websites and information on particular topics.
Email has become a widely accepted means for communicating and sharing information. Students should be familiar with setting up and checking email messages. Furthermore, students should have their own personal email address. Often this information is used to access and register for particular websites. Many career sites, offices and schools use email as primary contact for updates. Email is also a way for students to store and share information.
Public computer access at places like the library, community centers, churches and other places in the community allows students to learn and practice their computer skills. Many of these places also offer classes to help strengthen computer literacy skills. The development of computer skills will spill over into many areas of life for students, thus making basic skills such as word processing, search engine usage and file access invaluable in their life toolbox.