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What Every High School Student Should Know About Computing

What I would teach beginning computer students

I was recently asked to respond to the following questions:

If we were to change our standards of what is taught in our computer literacy classes in high school, what would be 6-10 things that you think should be taught in the class? What should every high school student know about computing, software, applications, etc.?

The following was my response off the top of my head...

Thinking about what I wish my family members knew about computers from least to greatest:

  1. The directory structure. How to get to various paths in a GUI browser and CLI. Differences & similarities of Windows, Linux, & OS X.
  2. Along those lines, when you are prompted to save a file - know where you are saving it and how to find it again.
  3. How to find files on an external hard drive, USB drive, SD card, etc. How to import pictures from a camera. How to sync a mobile device.
  4. The difference between a browser and the Internet and the difference between different browsers.
  5. The difference between a file and an application - how files relate to applications. (Your Word document is not your Word application)
  6. How to set up a printer and scanner and install the necessary drivers.
  7. How to install applications on each operating system listed above.
  8. The difference between a text file and a binary or application file. How a text file can be read as an application file (CSV opens in Excel for example).
  9. HTML & CSS
  10. Basic programming in Javascript & some other scripting language (Python, Ruby, PHP)

What do you think? What would you add/remove/change from my list above?

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Dustin Davis

Dustin Davis is a software engineer, people manager, hacker, and entreprenuer. He loves to develop systems and automation. He lives with his wife and five kids in Utah.

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Dustin Davis