Today, a child’s education is much more than reading, writing, and math skills. A good curriculum has its sight set on these foundations while grasping towards the emerging disciplines and technologies that

One of the biggest misconceptions I continuously see as an educator and administrator is that digital skills are not inborn. Yes, the younger generations in our society have a natural affinity for many devices. This is born out of early and often exposure. But it’s unfair to grant the vast realm of digital literacy to these young people. To start, like any discipline, many of these technological skills are learned through practice.

Swinging back around to the classroom, today’s teacher is tasked with a new burden. Equip your students with the foundational knowledge (math, reading, writing) while weaving in digital incorporations throughout each lesson.

What are the essential skills students should know before they graduate? What tools are necessary for college and work beyond the high school walls? Take a look at my list. It’s ever changing and always growing. But that’s what you get with technology. It’s a language and tool unlike any other.

  1. Digital Literacy

First on the list, students should be well versed in reading, analyzing, and searching for data that’s provided online. Much like students are taught to read dense texts to extract meaning, story arcs, themes, today’s student must understand the value in technology and how to best utilize it.

  1. Coding, Website Design, and Basic HTML

I’m grouping all three together because while not truly essential, all three have the power to elevate a student’s knowledge and experience in a tremendous way. Lucky for teachers, this category has dozens, if not hundreds of exercises and programs online to aid in the discovery of these tools. And from my own experience, these tend to be popular choices for all students.

  1. Crafting Content

Writing blogs. Drafting infographics. Writing an informative tweet. While many people may not see these skills as truly essential, the student who’s had practice in his department will be steps ahead of his peers and many of his older colleagues. The world of business, marketing, branding, advertising has moved online. Teaching your students the value in this type of knowledge may prove invaluable.

  1. Editing Images

You don’t need to be a master at Photoshop to learn how to edit images accurately and efficiently. (If Photoshop is an option, however, learn it!) But the basics should be covered. Can your student resize, change the image type, change the color, crop an image, add text? Images are in everything from reports to social media updates. Don’t let this important skill slip away!

  1. Branding

What you post online says a lot about who you are. Your students may not be thinking about the college admission officer who may stumble upon their Twitter account to get a sense of who they are as a potential student. Remind your students of the impressionable quality of the content they post. Is it appropriate? Does it speak to who they are as a person? Branding starts the minute you open a social media account or website. Educating students on this important idea is an essential part of their digital skills arsenal.