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« The 6 tech skills expected of all incoming freshmen - two | Main | The international school challenge »

The 6 tech skills expected of all incoming freshmen - one

In 2005, I outlined five skills classroom teachers should expect all incoming high school freshman to have mastered. Eight years ago. Time for an update. I'll look at each skill, one per day, and add a 6th skill area - Managing one's online presence. Each skill is accompanied by a set of expectations, a performance task, and an evaluation checklist. Changes to the 2005 document are in bold.

1. Word processing

A suggested performance task to assess the level of competency of incoming high school freshmen:

I can use the word processor, Word, GoogleDocs, or OpenOffice, to complete assignments when requested: reports, essays, and other written work. I can compose a document in a word processor and edit it using commands like copy and paste, find, undo, and “save as” to create multiple drafts. I can spell check, and change the format of a document. I can paginate, preview, and print my work. I have a system to store, organize, retrieve, and share my work using a cloud-based tool or tools. This system will form the basis of a digital portfolio of my best work.  I am able to perform the following tasks when using a word processor:
  1. Identify a word processing program and open a new word processing file.
  2. Set preferences/options to show special formatting characters such as spaces, carriage returns and tabs.
  3. Type in text and delete text by letter, word, sentence, and paragraph.
  4. Insert text at the beginning, middle, and end of a document.
  5. Cut and paste text. Copy and paste text.
  6. Use select all and undo commands.
  7. Format text by changing font, size, and style.
  8. Change paragraph justification and line spacing. Change the margins for a document.
  9. Use the program’s spelling checker and thesaurus.
  10. Create a footer that includes an automatic page number.
  11. Preview a document and print the document.
  12. Save the document as a pdf file.
  13. Save a document under another name.
  14. Save document to a specific location/folder.
  15. View multiple documents at the same time, and switch between multiple documents on a desktop. Copy and paste between documents.
  16. Restore an older version of a document.
  17. Share a document by giving viewing, commenting, and editing rights to selected individuals or groups.
If you have questions about any of these skills, please contact your library media specialist for help.

Compose a 3-5 paragraph 500 word personal essay on a topic of your choice (or as assigned by your teacher)
using a word processor. Print a copy for submission or share the document online. Your printed or shared copy will be assessed using the following checklist.
Assessment checklist:
  • Name of the file, along with your name, your teacher’s name, class name and hour is in the upper left corner of the paper.
  • First paragraph is pasted at the bottom of the document, separated from the main text by several blank lines.
  • Body of paper is printed in 12 point Times New Roman font, and is double-spaced. 
  • Each paragraph is indented, using the tab function, 5 spaces.
  • Title of paper is centered, in bold, and in 18 point Arial font.
  • Paper has one-inch margins with one paragraph inset to a 2-inch margin.
  • At least one word is underlined that was flagged by the spell checker.
  • A word replaced using the thesaurus is in italics and bold.
  • There is a page number in either the footer or header.
  • The document is shared with the instructor who has been given commenting rights.

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Reader Comments (3)

I am daily astonished at how many students STILL cannot do this, despite keyboarding classes and course assignments that require a word processed document.

We in the library can definitely help, but first and foremost the assignment has to be important to the student for these to really "stick." It's not a learning problem, but rather an engagement problem.

February 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Jo Nelson

I wonder if this has to do with a lack of consistency across subjects - if students were given the same requirements in every class, I assume it wouldn't take long for the students to learn this and apply it.

The same can be said for presentations - if teachers and admins agreed to a specific set of requirements, the students would eventually achieve them and we would not have any more painfully bad presentations.

February 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKenn Gorman

Hi Cathy,

I agree it is an engagement problem AND a conistency among all teachers' expectations problem. My whole theory here is a limited number of universal skills is preferable to lots of badly taught ones.



Excellent point. These need to be common expectations (and reasons for using the skills) in ALL classes.


March 1, 2013 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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