High School Computer Curriculum 2/22/01 It is no surprise that our era is called the "age of technology." Computer related professions have more openings and are in need of more employees than any other profession. We have just entered a new millennium and a new century; and computer skills are the key to a successful career. More and more schools are beginning to require computer courses and computer literacy tests to ensure their students a successful future.
The curriculum for computer skills prepares students to use computer technology in their schoolwork. They use communicating computers for personal use, for accessing information, for problem solving, and for communicating data. The goals for kindergarten through eighth grade curriculum build on the skills from each previous grade. There are two important goals for the computer skills curriculum. The first goal requires students to learn the important issues in ethical behavior in the use of computer technology.
The second goal requires students to demonstrate their knowledge in the use of computer technology. There are ten things students must learn how to do in the classes: keyboarding, word processing, telecomputing, database, spreadsheet, societal issues, ethics, computer terms, operation and care, and independent curriculum software use. The objectives for high school years provide opportunities for students to use the computer independently for personal use and school work. At the end of each course, students need to take a proficiency test to pass the class.
There are many schools across America that have mandatory computer requirements for graduation. These schools have a variety of different specific requirements, but they all try to accomplish the same goals. Lee Can High School in Beattyville, Kentucky, St. Thomas' Episcopal school in Houston, Texas, and Department of Defense High Schools each require one year of computer technology. Pinewood school in Los Altos Hills, California requires one semester of computer literacy as well as 20 hours of computer literacy each year. Maize High School in Maize, Kansas and Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire both require one semester of computer courses. All high schools in Wake county, North Carolina require students to demonstrate computer proficiency as a perquisite for graduation. Finally, all high schools in the state of Kansas require one year of computer technology.
Computer skills are becoming increasingly more important for a successful career. Baseher-Linwood public school of Kansas District #458 sums these goals up the best: "The learner will demonstrate skills in using computer technology. The learner will comprehend and apply a variety of computer skills and technologies to access, analyze, interpret, integrate, apply, and communicate information. The learner will understand important issues of a technology-based society and will exhibit ethical behavior in the use of computer technology." These objectives are the goals of all school computer programs as they cover using and understanding computers and using them responsibly. Skills learned by computer classes prepare them for the business world and a career in computers.
In California, only one school district was found that requires high school students to take a computer skills class. That school district is the Los Altos unified School district. The states that were found that have computer skills as requirements are North Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, and Virginia. What can be done so that California has more than one school district with computer literacy classes as a requirement for graduation? We need more schools to have computer literacy as a graduation requirement so we can get more students up to the high technology classes.
Well over 50% of California's public schools are over 30 years old. More than half of California's schools lack adequate electrical power for computers and communications technology. Only 44% of California classrooms have Internet access. California ranks 42nd out of 50 states in students per internet-connected computer. California ranks dead last in students per instructional computer. (Let's Fix Our Schools: Frequently Asked Questions [Online]) California is not as high tech as most of the other states in the United States. Something must be done to fix the schools and prepare students for the real world, to make them more employable in both manufacturing and retail business. Mandatory computer courses may be the solution.