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Dutchess_III's avatar

What do they teach in computer classes in school?

Asked by Dutchess_III (27261 points ) February 10th, 2014

I remember being frustrated when I was teaching school that they weren’t teaching typing in computer classes. I don’t know what they taught. I just know that most kids today can’t type properly, and most don’t even have the computer skills that I have. They don’t know about hot keys, they don’t know about “search” functions. I wanted to take over a computer class and do it “right.”

What DO they teach?

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16 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Sorry to sound dumb and steer off topic for a second, I have heard that term (hot keys) before and don’t have a clue what they are or do ,so please tell me what are hot keys and what is their function?

keobooks's avatar

I didn’t know they still taught computer class in school. When I was a kid, there was only one classroom that had computers, and computers were rare at home. Computer class existed just so we could get our hands on a computer and use it. And back in my day, teaching kids to program in BASIC was another big thing too.

Now there are computers in every classroom, in the libraries and some schools even send laptops or tablets home with the kids. They are ubiquitous. When I taught classes, I didn’t teach ‘computer’, but I taught kids how to use the computers best in the particular subject.

I’ll be interested to see what other people say about this. I consider a computer class to be as strange as having a “Pen and Pencil” class.

rojo's avatar

We learned keypunch! that was a few years ago

LuckyGuy's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 They are keystrokes you can use instead of moving and clicking a mouse. If you know a few they can speed up your productivity. The five I use all the time are: Ctrl Z = Undo, Ctrl X = Delete, Ctrl C = Copy, Ctrl V = Paste, Ctrl F = Find.
There are many more.

One of the companies I worked with overseas devoted a week to teaching their new employees how to use hot keys and reduce the need for a mouse. They felt the time investment justified the increased productivity. I have to admit they sure were fast.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What @LuckyGuy said. Hot keys are a thousand times faster than using a mouse. Warning though….people won’t be able to track what you’re doing and it makes some people nervous. When people get nervous they fire you.

Oh, and they don’t use Ctrl P for paste because Ctrl P is “print.” Think of Ctrl V for paste as Ctrl “Velcro.”

livelaughlove21's avatar

I started computer classes in the 5th grade and had one each year through middle school. So, that would be 2000–2003. We used a typing program in which you progressed through individual lessons (that got harder as you went), including practice sessions and such, and then there was a “test” at the end that determined whether you had to go through the lesson again or not. Once you got over a certain wpm (I don’t remember what the requirements were), you could go on to the next lesson. Although the programs couldn’t tell if you were typing correctly, our teachers did not allow the “hunt and peck” method. The first few lessons were designed to teach correct finger placement, etc.

I’d also like to point out that this was in South Carolina, where schools aren’t so hot, but we were still required to learn how to type.

I didn’t learn things like hot keys until I took computer classes in high school. These didn’t teach typing, of course, but they taught things like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. I even took a class where we learned to use Photoshop and do some amateur web design, but that was an optional class. I had a computer at home and, because I was a loser introvert, I spent a lot of time on it, so my skills are pretty damn fine tuned at this point. I took a couple more computer classes in college, but since no one writes research papers anymore, I did it all electronically.

All of that sure came in handy, because I wouldn’t have gotten this job without being able to type over 60 wpm. I’m way faster than that, though. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think it’s constant practice and experience after the fact that is the key (ha ha!) Although I find it interesting that it was only “The first few lessons were designed to teach correct finger placement.” I had an entire semester devoted to correct finger placement and speed.

Sounds like you got lucky with your teachers @livelaughlove21. It’s been my experience that today’s computer teachers couldn’t his the broad side of a barn with an Underwood. I think they pick them at random from the lunch servers. I mean, seriously. When I was teaching at an Adult HS Degree Completion Program those people didn’t know how to type, didn’t have the first clue about Excel or Powerpoint. They didn’t even know what all Word could do.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Dutchess_III “I had an entire semester devoted to correct finger placement and speed.”

Well speed and accuracy was what the whole class was about. Finger placement doesn’t take a whole semester to teach – the rest of the time was spent on necessary practice, mastering the correct technique.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well yeah. I’m saying that I took typing before PC’s were invented, so I had an entire semester dedicated only to typing. I also got my first and only detention in typing class. :( But I got to sit next to the cutest boy in school. :)

It just seems to me that kids today should be a lot more computer literate than they are. They don’t really know computers and most of them don’t really know how to type.

keobooks's avatar

I agree. I used to teach research skills to kids and I was amazed at how bad the kids were on the computer.

1. They didn’t know how to type at all. They primarily use the computer to write papers now and they hunt and peck.

2. They don’t know how to search. They write in Google as if they were asking a person instead of using a search engine. They THINK they are masters at searching because they can sometimes find what they are looking for if they are lucky. If they can’t find it, they think there is nothing on the topic.

3. They want to spend all their time making special effects in Power Point instead of doing their research. A thin presentation is still thin – even if the pages are flying around and the font is changing color every 2 seconds.

4. Because they believe themselves to be experts, they rarely want to listen to any advice a teacher might want to give.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Dutchess_III I just don’t recall ever seeing my classmates use the hunt and peck method. All of us typed correctly. Then again, I was in all honors classes, so the students probably took school more seriously than some others. Both of my parents and my uncle use two fingers to type, and the same goes for my husband’s family. But the kids all type fine.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@keobooks Yeah…I remember about 18 years ago my oldest daughter quite sanctimoniously showing me something on the internets, laboring under the assumption that I couldn’t possibly know about this stuff because I was “old.” (I was about 38 at the time.) I let her finish showing me whatever it was, then said, “Well, there’s an easier way.” My fingers flew over the keyboard. She said, “Well, never mind then!”

I had a 20-something co-worker log on to my computer remotely (showing off) to “show” me how to use Google to search. I hadn’t asked her to. She just assumed I didn’t know anything about computers. She assumed wrong.

zenvelo's avatar

@Dutchess_III When you say “kids today” what age group are you referring to?

My kids took typing lessons on a key board in elementary school. They had computer literacy classes every year up through eighth grade. At the local high school they are expected to be fully functional in Word and PowerPoint. (I do think the schools are weak on Excel).

“Hot keys” are outmoded and limited to certain applications that are designed to use them. My kids know hot keys for certain programs, and use them, if they are useful.

My son is taking computer programming in high school, learning C++. My daughter is taking Digital Design, which is a class on graphics and production. Both are learning a lot.

@keobooks, your complaints seem to be more about kid’s behavior than a specific problem with computer lessons in school. Kids may not know how to best use Google, but when I was in school, most kids couldn’t look something up in a card catalog.

keobooks's avatar

@zenvelo—I am not arguing that kids are learning amazing things on the computer, but that it’s not usually called “Computer Class” any more. I am sure that your son says he’s taking a programming class and your daughter is taking a digital design class—maybe even from the art department.

I think teachers from every subject can help their students better use computers in different ways, but we don’t have the classes I am talking about—the ones that were supposed to show you how to turn them on and off, how to save a file, how to write a simple message in a word processing program.

zenvelo's avatar

@keobooks Where I live that is all taught in elementary school. They start with kids learning t o type and save a document at a very early level. At open house in the spring they usually have one or two slide shows of projects the kids did on computers: graphics or writing or both combined.

One year (I think it was 2nd grade) the kids had to write a “poetic” descriptive sentence and then draw a picture for it on the computer.

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