2. Type

“This may sound notoriously ‘old school,’ but the one skill I often see missing is that of being able to touch-type. The speed at which one interacts with the computer is sometimes overlooked and, especially in secondary and post-secondary education, being able to type quickly is an incredible time-saver. I know that touch-screens work well and that user interfaces are changing, but interacting with a QWERTY keyboard still is an imperative.” —Tom Crawford, Tanque Verde USD, Tucson, Arizona

“If I could choose one skill that I would love students to learn, it would be the proper keyboarding techniques to ensure typing speed of at least 40 words per minute. Mastering the QWERTY keyboard helps establish confidence when working various software applications.” —Anonymous

3. Write

“The essential skill that all students need is the ability to write fluently and persuasively. This includes being able to formulate and sustain an argument by providing supporting evidence, which demonstrates each student’s ability to examine and integrate multiple perspectives/sources.” —Elizabeth Ann Sanders, Ph.D., associate professor, Baker University

“I would love to see every student develop writing as a skill. When [students write] about what they’ve learned, they have to collect their thoughts and put them into a logical sequence. They need to use content-specific language, and they need to use it correctly. They may be asked to explain how to solve a problem or why they would solve it in a certain way. This forces them to consider and discard various ideas, selecting the best one as a vehicle for explaining their thinking. They learn to write an introduction and then to wrap up their thoughts with a conclusion. They learn to sequence carefully, not leaving out critical steps in the process so others can replicate their work. It gives them an opportunity to really think and then to reflect that thinking through their writing. No matter what career they choose, students will need to use logical thinking. In this day of many people applying for the same job, being able to stand out on paper may just be the skill that gets them through the door for that first interview.” —Myra J. Collins, math curriculum consultant, Kirksville, Missouri