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How to sharpen your students’ digital skills

By Greg Carter
September 7th, 2016

Digital skills are essential for student success. What are they and how do you teach them?

digital skills

Twenty-odd years ago, the extent of an elementary schooler’s digital skills was making it through the Oregon Trail on their classroom computer without dying of dysentery.

Today, the digital skills K-12 students need to succeed both in school and after graduation have become much more complex. As classroom technology has shifted from typing classes and simple learning games (remember Math Blaster?) to tablets and online class blogs, the range of essential student skills goes far beyond those halcyon days of simple reading, writing, and arithmetic.

How to grow and succeed

Spelling, multiplication tables, and topic sentences are all still extremely valuable skills for students to learn. But digital skills, those skills specific to using digital technology, may now be just as important for creating successful students for beyond graduation.

While these skills may seem simple to those of us who were adults during the tech boom of the last few decades, for those students growing up surrounded by new and exciting technology, these skills might not be so obvious.

But make no mistake: Digital skills are absolutely critical for helping students learn, problem solve, create, grow, and succeed. And they’re needed everywhere, not just inside classrooms but for many pursuits outside them, including:

  • completing homework assignments and projects;
  • applying for colleges and summer jobs;
  • communicating with peers via social media; and
  • exploring creative outlets like writing and designing.

Next page: From creativity to tech speak