Students today need to master technology skills more than ever.
Computer skills are essential for 21st century communication, research, professions, and socializing.
When it comes to students in schools, though, there’s an added perk to having computer skills that is often overlooked.
Improved test scores!
States and districts across the country are increasingly transitioning standardized tests from paper to computers. In the process, they’re finding that students who log more computer time tend to perform better on these tests.
Keep reading for the inside scoop on these findings and some strategies for boosting computer literacy for students.
More Computer Skills = Higher Test Scores
It makes sense that students who are more adept on computers are likely to score better on computer-based tests.
In looking at students who took the computer-based NAEP writing achievement test, researchers found that the differences in scores between computer literate and non-computer literate students to be very significant.
Kids who used technology both in and out of school did substantially better than those who didn’t.
In recent years, these findings have led many middle and high schools to implement more technology use in classrooms.
Considering the direction that standardized tests are heading, though, these computer skills are important for students in lower grades as well.
Many states are now using online testing platforms starting in third grade!
In order to give all students the opportunity to do their best work on these exams, schools need to build tech literacy well before middle school.
Strategies for Boosting Computer Literacy
Even our school’s youngest students can benefit from having structured computer time to get familiar with this powerful tool.
While even something as simple as playing online games or chatting with friends is a great introduction to computers, students will get the most bang for their buck if computer time is purposeful and academic.
A great place to start? Typing, of course!
For standardized tests students as young as third grade are asked to compose typed essays under time constraints.
In order to ensure that students are able to get their best thoughts down before time runs out, knowing how to type with speed and accuracy is imperative.
Having students spend even just 10-15 minutes per day on a typing program such as Typing.com can make a huge difference come testing week.
Don’t have time in your class schedule for typing? Consider making Typing.com an option for early finishers. Or, assign 10 minutes per night of typing homework.
Another way to get students comfortable with computers is to complete at least one assignment per week on the computer.
There are plenty of useful websites that teachers can use to assign readings and accompanying questions to students.
NewsELA is one of our favorites as it allows teachers to alter the reading level of current events articles to meet students’ needs.
Teachers can print these articles for students. Nonetheless, having kids do their reading on the computer is good practice for testing, college, and the workplace beyond.
Encourage students to take notes, or use the digital annotation software available to make sure they are practicing active reading strategies, even while reading on the computer screen.
Incorporating strategic computer use into your weekly lessons is a quick and easy way to prepare students for computer-based tests and (more importantly) the work world beyond.