Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fundamental Skills Students Need

As technology changes, so do the fundamental skills students need in order to become successful learners. Educators are aware of the differences in the technology skills and expectations of their students, but I think we are deceiving ourselves. We can't just assume students have the skills they need in order to use technology effectively.

Although our students have been using computers all of their lives this doesn't mean they know how to use common applications well. This is further compounded by the fact that they don't know what they don't know. Ask a student if they know how to use Word and they will reply emphatically yes. Ask a student how to create a footnote in Word and you will get a blank stare -- and maybe a mumbled, "I didn't know you could do that."

In order for our students to succeed academically, we need to be sure to give them opportunities to learn the necessary skills -- whether they think they need to learn them or not. So, what are the basic skills students need?