Five technology skills every student should learn

By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor
September 4th, 2012

“It’s important to remember that technology is there to bend to your will, not the other way around,” said one reader.

What are the most critical technology skills for students to learn? We recently asked our readers this question, and here’s what they had to say.

From having the courage to experiment with different technologies to possessing online literacy, readers said being a tech-savvy student in the 21st century is about much more than learning how to use a certain software program or device—it’s about being able to adapt to what’s constantly changing.

What do you think of this list? Is there anything you’d like to add? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section.

(Comments edited for brevity.)


1. Online literacy

“Students need to be able to read a news article and determine if there is bias and if it’s truthful. They then need to learn how to read the comment sections of online news articles and respond appropriately with a well thought-out comment.” —Sandy Harty, Salt Lake City

See also:

Why more schools aren’t teaching web literacy—and how they can start

Web literacy: Where the Common Core meets common sense

Are kids all that techno-smart? Maybe not

The most important technology skill for students is the ability to judge the quality and hidden influences of content that they encounter in the online world. Thirty years ago, most research materials available to students were vetted by some kind of gatekeepers. Encyclopedias, books, newspapers, and magazines all had levels of review for content before it was published. (Yes, those folks had their biases–but there was at least some level of review and fact-checking before publication.) Now, we live in a world where anyone can post content online that looks quite reliable. And it’s very hard to tell if the writer is slanting the information in support of their agenda, or giving equal time to all sides. … Students will need to learn to cross-check information, check reliability of sources, understand types of domains and institutions, and how to take time and verify what they learn.” —Dick Carlson, chief learning officer, Applied Educational Systems