How and When Are Specific Computer Skills Taught at Your Child's School?

Updated on June 03, 2014
K.S. asks from Ann Arbor, MI
24 answers

An earlier question has got me thinking. When was your child formally taught to use the keyboard as a course? When did your student get taught PowerPoint? When was she taught Excel? Is your child required to learn code? I know that my high school students are now becoming required to take an entire course online as much of their college coursework will be done that way. Are there any other major stepping stones of computer use?

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answers from Albany on

My kids have never been formally taught any of these things.

Kid 1, 21 yo 4th year computer engineering major

Kid 2, 20 yo 2nd year political science major

Kid 3, 17 yo hs junior, pre med bound


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I guess they don't have a formal typing class like we had when we were in school. I think the kids really need to be taught though. My granddaughter uses the keyboard to chat but she doesn't know how to use a lot of the keys. She only uses the ones she needs I guess.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

My son is in kindergarten and his teacher does a typing station. They look at a card with a word printed on it and then "type" the letters on a key board. By "type", if the letter is on the right side of the key board they hit it with a right finger/ left side- left finger. That's the extent of it. In preschool they use ipads.

The kindergartener's also use the computer almost daily to do ixl work and read.

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answers from Norfolk on

Keyboarding is offered as a class in high school.
Since his school taught cursive writing, our son was expected to hand write his reports.
I think it was in 4th grade he was allowed to type his reports.
Most of the computer work they did before that was teaching computer games and how to use a mouse.
He was in 6th grade when they started doing power point presentations.
This year (9th grade) in his engineering class he was using Autodesk (a CAD program).

A lot of using a computer (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc) they are just expected to pick up on their own.
If they have questions about how to do something they learn to use Help and Google to get answers.

Learning about programming/coding hasn't happened yet but the programming area of the STEM program has the smallest class size - they know that too many of those jobs are too easily off-shored.
I tell my son to learn to code as a support to his engineering but do NOT depend upon it as a main focus for employment.
My job as a programmer has been off-shored twice so I definitely have an opinion about it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

In our school district Plano, which is pretty highly rated... all 3 Sr High Schools are in the top 100 in the US (US News and World Report) every year and move up the ladder yearly.

I substitute teach and have for 13 yrs mostly in elementary school.

In K, all children are given a sign on and password (these are also kept handy for the children to look at when needed). They do a lot of reading programs on the computer and they begin keyboarding. They are NOT expected to type reports... in K it is basically to get them accustomed to the keyboard and important keys which they use with the reading and math computer station work.

In 1st, they do a lot more keyboarding and it is integrated into the Language Arts segment of the day. Maybe once a week, a station will be on keyboarding alone which is done through the program Paws in Typing Town. They learn the correct placement of the fingers and practice typing. They are also introduced to research in 1st which involves some research such as a report on a specific animal that is done around the time that 1st grade has the yearly trip to the zoo.

Each year, the process is stepped up a little more. By 3rd grade, many children are using Power Point, adding clip art etc to reports. Again, the main focus is to teach the children keyboarding, how to research, and other programs.

Cursive is introduced in the last semester of 2nd grade and in 3rd grade it is a part of the daily schedule. They practice daily and by the second semester of 3rd grade, your grade gets docked if you do not use cursive and this happens all the way up the grade levels.

So every year, students are doing more and more on the computer. in elementary, each classroom has 8-10 desktop computers. We also have a set of about 40 laptops which are stored all together and the upper levels of elementary will use the laptops together in class. By the time high school rolls around, most students have a laptop and if they don't, there are laptops and desktops available in the library for them to use to complete assignments.

Daughter never had a class specifically for Power Point, Office, Excel. Those are things she just picked up like everyone else. Practice makes perfect!

My daughter's Senior year last June involved making 30 minute movies for AP English based on a particular book, presentations in marketing and more. Also, starting in high school, MANY assignments are turned in electronically to the teacher and they all go through a secure website that scans for cheating.

Daughter just finished her 1st year of college and there were many days she took her laptop to class because it was necessary. There is no way she could keep up with assignments, research and work without a computer from about 11th grade until now. A LOT of college work is done on the computer such as the weekly quizzes and you have to have the ability to sign on and use the computer if you want to pass the course.

SO, in our district..... computer use starts in K and progresses throughout the school years in order to prepare the students for college and for life.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

Don't know, can't say that I care. They can type so whatever, right. My older daughter took keyboarding in high school because she thought I looked cool when I typed.

I thought one of the comments was funny, hunt and peck is never good. Oh okay, you tell that to half the people I work with and they are all data entry of some sort.

Microsoft products do not have to be taught, they are that easy. 90% of the people in my office have proficient in Word, Excel, and Powerpoint on their resume. If that is proficient I am a god! Of course I also have multiple degrees including ITM so I better know more than most. There is no reason anyone in my office know more than they do because I can create anything they need using VBA.

Still if you are not after my job I don't think high level IT is necessary is it?

Your kids need to have some idea what their interests are and seek them as a hobby now. That will make things easier. Knowing code, typing by touch, any of that is not necessary.
Okay I feel I have to throw this out after reading enough, ours is the first generation..... 1980! I was in Jr High. I was learning programming in basic and the next year cobol! Y'all are not the first generation, our generation just made it a lot easier.

My kids grew up with computers because I have owned one since I was in high school though they don't look like today do they? Google Commadore 64, first purchase after first paycheck from first job.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

even back in the dinosaur days when i had kindergartners they used computers in school. but i don't think (it's hard to remember that far back) that they had keyboard-specific (ie learn QWERTY) classes.
my kids taught themselves excel and powerpoint. they're still a bit mystified as to why i find 'em so overwhelming.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

My kids were typing in kindergarten and making power point presentations by 4th grade. They've been using the internet for research since at least 2nd grade, and have used first in math since first grade. Their preschool also had educational computer programs.

I was shocked on the other question how many people thought a first grader typing was unusual or even, ignorantly, abusive. I guess that means our crappy inner city public school is doing a good job.

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answers from St. Louis on

I never gave too much thought to it. My 14 yo. never took a formal typing class, and he types about 70 words per minute with minimum errors; I also taught him Excel and Power Point, which he masters pretty well. My little one is learning just by writing short paragraphs, journals, etc on the computer every day...They just practice and I teach (I home school) the use of the keyboard, ALT key codes, etc. By the way, they are still expected to write in cursive handwriting whatever they are able to type on a excuse.....ha!

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answers from Jacksonville on

I'm 45 and my eldest is 15, youngest is 12. They had some computer lab time (in private school) in elementary grades (all throughout elementary) but it wasn't a formal class that specifically taught keyboarding as far as I know. During that time, I invested in a computer game called SpongeBob Typing so they could learn at home on their own computers. Daughter loved it and did well (she's the younger one). Son hated doing it and only learned a little.. enough to get by.

As they have gotten older, they have used computers more at school and so he has gotten better. She types fairly well.

They did not learn power point or other tools until 6th grade (middle school). No coding as yet for either, although there are career pathways in computer technology that the high school students can choose as electives which probably are more in depth. Basic computing classes are offered in middle school for one 9 week period each grade. Then in 9th grade and up there are other more involved basic classes that are optional as well.

However, it isn't until middle school that my kids have been required to type any assignments... and those were assignments IN the computer class done in the computer lab AT school. They obviously have done more than that at home for other assignments and classes, but it was optional, not a requirement.
Once in high school, they submit a lot of assignments through their google drives. The middle school is going all paperless next year and using ipads or chrome books.
I can't tell you what the elementary is requiring here at this point, as mine have been out of the system for 3 years now. (The last year I had one in elementary, we did online school from home).
Oh, forgot to mention that they use it to search for things in the media center, and also to take AR tests beginning in Kinder. But, clicking an answer choice, or scrolling, or typing a book title in a search bar is not as tedious as typing a paper. It really isn't. I know it is a simple thing, but... let's be honest here... even my husband can type the name of a music artist into the search bar on his favorite music website (which loads the address automatically after the first 2 or 3 letters)... but he cannot type an email to save his life. He knows how to write, and write well, but typing--even hunt and peck not trying to use proper form-- is an extreme exercise in patience for him. He works on a radar and computer all day at his job... but he doesn't really have to TYPE WORDS in complete sentences. That isn't what he uses technology for in his line of work. It is frustrating to him. It takes him 10 minutes to do what I can do in 35 seconds with no effort. It is harder for me to watch him than to type it myself.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

As far as school, at my kids' school, students are taught a computer class, from Kindergarten. It is taught, per grade/age development.
This is public school.

Keyboarding, as in "typing" is not taught at my kids' school.
But if you go to: this is a free "learning to type" website for kids. Recommended by my kids' Teacher from 2nd grade.

At my kids' school, they are taught on MAC computers.
They don't learn Excel yet in elementary.
Not even some adults know that.
Coding or computer programming, is not taught. (this is per my kids who are in elementary and middle school).
But per my kids... since before they began Kindergarten, we taught them, computer skills/how to use programs/how to type/how to navigate on a computer. My Husband is a computer guy in profession.
He taught them, coding and programming and how to use shortcuts on a computer keyboard. At home. On our own time. They can do simple coding.
So for example, my son is 7... and he is very tech savvy. And per safety and online use. My daughter too.
We taught them most things, at home.
At school, they learn presentation aspects for projects, using the computer.

Kids can learn programming very young. If they are interested and it is taught in light of their age/development.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

At my kids' school, starting in K they have computer class every 6th day. Each kid sits a computer and they can choose what 'game' they want to play. The games are things like read a story, then answer questions to win points. Or see how many math problems you can do to win points. And you can use your online points to 'buy' clip art for your home page.

So, it's learning to use a keyboard and mouse, but in a non-threatening way.

Then, in Jan of 1st grade, kids picked a topic to research and then typed of their notes on it (my son did the solar system, and typed up a fact or two about each planet). The teacher put them on display and invited the parents to come and see them.

This year, second grade, the kids each picked a research topic and did a powerpoint. Again, the parents were invited in to see the kids present.

One difference between my experience and the other post though is that all the computer work for the presentations was done at school. My district is very diverse economically, and I don't think our teachers assume that every child has access to a computer at home.

That's all the farther we are, so I don't know when they will learn excel, coding, etc. I know my son can't wait to learn coding, because he wants to learn how to make his own video games.

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answers from Chicago on

We got my kids touch computers. This basically makes using a mouse and a keyboard mostly unnecessary unless you actually want to use Word. My 6 year old is able to to use a keyboard. She cannot type. My 4 year old has no clue, but he is a master with the touch screen. In fact, I usually have to put it on desktop view in order to get a handle on it --since I am not a touch screen generation child! it's all he has known, so I'm interested in seeing how this develops. We got an ipad when he wasn't even 2, and he has spent his whole life touching things to see what they do. It's a weird way to approach things to me ;-) I can't wait to see what the baby does since even the computer is a touch! My son at least used a mouse for a year or so. We live in weird times!

I wonder what computer skills will be necessary in the future. I was just using excel and word. I use these all the time, and I'm just a SAHM (mind you, I was doing a financial report for hubby).

My hubby hopes to get the kids learning code as soon as possible. I wish him all the luck in the world, as my kids don't do anything that isn't their idea.

i figure they will learn what they need to know as they go.

I think the biggest stepping stone is going to be the rich-poor divide. We aren't rich, but we were able to pick up some refurb computers for our small children. I homeschool, so i see computers as essential. We got them each one because I was sick of them using mine and I didn't want to listen to any fighting. We didn't spend all that much money, but to many, it was a lot. What will become of kids that don't have access? I donate my used stuff to the local resource center, and they then distribute them to those in need, but there just aren't enough computers to go around. I know the local schools require kids to rent or buy laptops. I have no clue if there is financial aid, I sure hope so!

Also, it will be interesting to see what becomes of college. Research shows that disadvantaged kids really need face to face classrooms. I will be interested to see what becomes of college itself in the next 15 years. I have no doubt it will be changed greatly, especially if upper middle class families can no longer afford the old fashion approach.

I should add that I'm 42 and we got our first computer when I was 7. i got sent off to college with a computer, and that was 89. I was very happy for my computer, since I was a political science major that wrote lots and lots of papers.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Well, here, the kids start learning about the computers in 1st but don't really get busy until 4th when they type things and really learn the keys. They start powerpoint and other programs in 6th. By 8th they are making their own presentations with music and such. I have not heard anything in high school about needing to take coding or anything like that but my older kids are just finishing freshman year. But I do know they do a lot of powerpoint presentations, excel and such.
When my 6 yr old left the park district's preschool program, they mentioned that future classes would have computers though it would mostly be play since that is an easy way for them to learn the keyboard.

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answers from Rochester on

In the building where I teach every class visits the computer lab once a week starting in kindergarten. They do everything from math games, to spelling games, to typing programs, to reading games, and web sites like Tumble books. Our media specialist also takes students into the lab several times a year to teach Internet safety, how to use the Internet for research, and how to use the online shelf list (card catalog) for the media center. I don't know if formal keyboarding skills are taught, but I know for sure in 2nd grade they are already typing reports and stories they have written. By the time they are in 5th grade they are researching online and typing reports, making Power Points, using iPads to write music, and doing lots of other things. But it all comes down to what the classroom teacher is interested in, how comfortable the classroom teacher is with technology, and how much time the teacher feels can be dedicated to technology. Our district does not have a technology curriculum. Most schools dropped technology and keyboarding curriculums when high stakes testing came into play. But we do have one school that has a 1-1 iPad program, and they are exploring the possibility of making that district wide. I think more and more technology is being integrated into other subject areas rather than being a stand alone class.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

My generation is probably the first to grow up with computers in most households (I'm 30). In elementary school we started learning typing and basic computer skills, probably in second grade or so. I can recall the keyboards having a piece of paper taped over the top so we couldn't see our hands, and we used a program called Touch Typing for Beginners. I credit this early start in my ability to type very quickly, but we never learned coding or anything else. I did take a computer course in HS, and don't remember a thing about what was covered (as someone who grew up with a computer, I could already do what was taught). There were also elective computer classes, my husband took one where they would travel to other schools in the school system to repair and maintain the computer labs. I'm sure things have changed dramatically, I know schools here now assign all high school students their own laptops.

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answers from Dallas on

My kids went to K 14 and 18 yrs ago and they were taught keyboarding skills and a program called Writing to Read from kindergarten. They had computer lab every other day and lots of us parents volunteered in that lab.
They continued to go till at least 2nd grade. My youngest was pretty good by then, my oldest with long fingers and piano lessons, had great keyboarding form.

Of course back then nothing was touch. And they had an ABC program they played with before they were two. My oldest basically taught himself to read because he wanted to know what the pop ups said on his computer game.

They did power point by middle school, and were certified in Word by a high school course. The youngest took several courses online through the summer.

While it is exciting to dream what the next step is for our "touch" kids, our school system still expects them to type their papers and send them in electronically. High School through college. My H still types on a keyboard at a big national company. Mind control hasn't happened yet.

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answers from Grand Forks on

In our schools the kids are using the iPads from kindergarten on. In elementary school they share the iPads, one iPad to three kids, but in middle school each student is assigned their own iPad. My son who is in grade six has not had any formal typing/keyboarding training at all. Since they are typing on an Ipad mini, regular keyboarding isn't really useful. I'm not sure when they learn Powerpoint (or whatever it is called on Apple stuff), but I know the grade three's use it regularly. I have no idea about coding or Excel. When I went to school I was formally taught to type in a grade 10 typing class on the electric typewriter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

I imagine formal keyboarding will be taught in high-jr. high school, when their hands have grown enough to use correct form.

I remember taking a computer course in 7th grade, where we did typing, PowerPoint, Microsoft, and other random stuff. It was an elective course though, and not required. In high school we did have to take at least one computer elective.

I have never learned to code. Lol. Excel was taught in my high school course.

I went back to school the summer before last, and the only skill required for online courses is basic internet navigation. Most courses start off with a tutorial that teaches the student how to navigate that specific course, and from there it's just following along and doing your work.



answers from Las Vegas on

My daughter is finishing 2nd grade. She began using a computer in preschool, just to play games with the mouse.

In Kindergarten she had a technology class where she learned the keyboard with a program called key board climbers.

I didn't hear too much about technology in 1st grade, but in 2nd she blogs and knows how to open and use MS Word.

At this point, she can open and navigate the web on her own with the computer or iPad. As well, she has youtube down pat.

She would like to learn Photoshop, but I haven't taken the time to show her anything, but she recently cut her routine music with garage band with my guidance.

I always laugh and think my HS typing teacher must be rolling her grave to think everyone types with their thumbs today on the smart phones.



answers from Washington DC on

I was taught keyboarding and formatting in HS, probably 9th grade. I forget when the sks formally learned it in school, but SS's handwriting was so abysmal that by 8th grade they begged him to type and we got Mavis Beacon. My DD currently only learns mousing and clicking skills but she's in K. None of the sks were specifically taught Excel. I learned it in a Business class in HS. SD knew PowerPoint from school projects, but was it "taught"? Eh....None of the kids were required to learn to code (if by that you mean Perl, Javascript, HTML, etc.) for HS classes, but they were also not taking technical classes. SS's engineering course was more using the program vs coding the program. I'm sure SD knows more about Excel now as a Business major.



answers from Anchorage on

They introduce typing in 2nd/3rd here. Other then that I don't know yet since my kids are still young.



answers from Dallas on

Never. It's very frustrating because we had to take typing. Yet, they don't have keyboarding in an age where everyone types and everything has a keyboard. But then again, it's education, if it makes sense - it won't happen.



answers from Chicago on

My older 3 went to Catholic school. They had computer class once a week starting in preschool. But as for a formal learning to type like your imagining not til highschool.

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