• Web-based Career & Technical Education

6 Essential Computer Skills a Student Must Know Before Graduating

May 10th, 2017 Mike Gecawich

It is becoming more and more common that school districts require students to pass a computer literacy course as part of their requirements to graduate from high school, and with good reason! Having basic mastery of computer skills is absolutely essential for success in college and the workplace.

While there are some aspects of technology use that seem to be second nature to students (like finding the perfect meme for every situation), there are many other skills and tools that must be taught.

So what are the essentials that no student should leave high school without? While this list could arguably be much longer, in our book these are the top 6 computer skills that students should know before graduating.


Not to be overlooked as an essential computer skill, typing really is the foundation of computer literacy because it is used no matter what you are trying to get done. From writing an essay, to conducting research, to sending an email, students will be more efficient and will be able to communicate more clearly and with fewer mistakes if they are proficient typists.

Microsoft Office

It would be nearly impossible to navigate college or the workplace without having reasonable mastery of Microsoft Office. Within this suite of digital office tools, the most important trifecta to master are Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

As long as students are comfortable and confident using these three tools, they will be prepared for all of the deliverable writing, spreadsheet building, and presentation giving that await them after high school. Teaching Microsoft Office doesn’t need to be boring! Help students learn Microsoft Office through an engaging interface with the Excellent Adventures simulation.

Google Drive

While knowing the basics of Microsoft Office is still a must, schools, universities, and workplaces are increasingly coming to rely on the Google Drive suite for all word processing, data organizing, and presentation needs. Google Drive includes a similar product for each of the Microsoft Office staples (Docs instead of Word, Sheets instead of Excel).

The interface is similar, but the big difference is that these documents can be shared with others and updated by multiple users in real time. Google Drive is changing the way that teams in all sectors work together on projects, and is a skill set that your soon-to-be graduates can’t live without. Let students teach themselves this suite of tools with Learn By Doing: Google-Docs.

Digital Publishing

Digital Publishing is one area where students can use technology to foster their creative side. In order to do so, though, students must first know the ins and outs of some of the basic software used in digital publishing.

From Microsoft Publisher to Photoshop, students should understand at least the basics of how to design, edit, and distribute their own graphic publications. With our simulation based course, Burger Shack, students can learn digital publishing by taking on the role of a graphic designer for a popular restaurant.

Conducting Internet Research

In today’s world, “Google” has become a verb. Want to know the last time the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series? Google it. How about where to find the best whitewater rafting East of the Rockies? Google it. Students need to know how to effectively and efficiently search for information.

Beyond day-to-day quests for random trivia or movie start times, they also need to know how to conduct more comprehensive research that involves evaluating the reliability of websites and citing sources in an academic paper. Make teaching internet search skills fun with iAcademy’s Internet Search Activities.

Social Media

Like it or not, social media is here to stay and is a very real part of how people use technology today. While it might seem like posting photos to Facebook is second nature to most students, there are many aspects of social media use that need to be taught.

Students should learn safety and privacy protocols for social media use to ensure they aren’t putting themselves at risk in any way. There are also some social media platforms such as LinkedIn that are professionally oriented and require that students present a more polished version of themselves.

Before graduating, students need to learn how to navigate the different purposes for these various sites. Help them learn the distinctions with Social Media Essentials Featuring LinkedIn and Twitter.

Sure, this list doesn’t cover every computer skill students will need in their lifetime, but by helping them learn the basics in each of these areas, they’ll be well equipped to teach themselves the rest when the time comes.


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