4 Ways HS Students Develop the IT Skills for Higher Education

There’s still time this school year to help high school students learn the skills they’ll require to thrive in Higher Education. Here are basics you don’t want them to graduate without–from one of our Ask a Tech Teacher contributors:

4 Ways to Help High School Students Develop the IT Skills They’ll Need for Higher Education

Being able to use technology to its fullest is vital for students as they move from high school into higher education, yet it is not enough to assume that they will pick these skills up on their own.

Teachers can be proactive in their approach to fostering IT abilities in students, and here are just a few sensible strategies that will make this easier to achieve.

Leverage remote learning tools

Remote learning has become a reality for millions of people recently, and a study of higher education IT found that 70% of universities are planning to take a hybrid approach to teaching in the coming year. This means that students need to be familiar with the tools and techniques that are involved in this scenario, so that they do not fall behind their better-prepared peers.

That is not to say that teachers should simply pile in every remote learning tool and app available to them just for the sake of it; think about which tools and resources are actually appropriate for the subject in question, and use these in a way that makes a positive impact to the students’ experience. This will avoid making the process of remote learning overwhelming, while still giving them an understanding of what solutions will be part of their higher education ecosystem going forward.

Help them master search engine use

It may seem like using a search engine is an intuitive process; you enter the term or phrase you are looking for, and the results pop up. However, effective techniques for harnessing Google and other search tools must be developed in students, because being skilled in this area can save time and unlock information that would otherwise be hidden in endless numbers of results.

Specificity is useful when deciding what to search for, and there are other strategies such as singling out the most important and relevant keywords, considering alternative spellings and experimenting with both short and long-tail phrases to get the results you need. This will empower students when they are doing research in college, and can also be factored in alongside techniques that determine whether or not a given source is reputable, or worth avoiding.

Teach them to step away from tech-based distractions

One of the biggest challenges facing students today is that there are just so many opportunities to procrastinate that are afforded to them by the IT that is at their disposal. It is useful for teachers to try and demonstrate how damaging these distractions can be, and to give them the ability to remove this from the equation as they enter higher education.

You could introduce the concept of tech detox days, when smartphones and other connected devices are put to one side or left at home, and social media accounts are signed out of to minimize the amount that these facets impinge on their attentions for a 24 hour period. Developing this discipline with regards to IT is just as crucial to their future studies as gaining an appreciation of how to harness tech tools.

Make them aware of cyber threats

Personal information is a valuable currency in the digital age, and cybercriminals are constantly attempting to intervene and steal data from unsuspecting victims, regardless of their age or background.

College students can be susceptible to scams, so it is necessary to inform them of the nature of the threats they face, from phishing sites to social engineering attacks carried out via instant message, email or even a phone call.

Taking the step into higher education can be scary for students and their educators alike, but with well-developed IT skills they will stand a better chance of flourishing.

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Author: Jacqui
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