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As technology continues to increase in prominence in our educational, professional and social worlds, it’s more important than ever that students develop fundamental computer skills so they may have a strong foundation for future development.

Mastering computer fundamentals is essential to a student’s digital literacy, and contributes to digital equity, as well. Starting as early as kindergarten, learning computer fundamentals skills can give a child the head start they need to use computers efficiently, effectively, responsibly and, most importantly, safely.

Computer Fundamentals Skills for Students – by Grade Band

Computer fundamentals blend computer science and digital literacy to help students develop confidence in technology operations. These skills can be applied in everyday life by helping them to choose technology and use it effectively, troubleshoot current technologies, and transfer that knowledge to explore emerging technologies.

Kindergarten – 2nd Grade

For younger students, computer fundamentals curriculum should be centered around understanding basic computer hardware and software components as well as their specific functionality. Examples include

  • Identifying computer components such as the processor, keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers and printer.
  • Being able to use a mouse to select, drag and click objects on the screen.
  • Associating computer components with their function.
  • Performing basic hardware functions such as using a scanner, printer and connecting to the internet.
  • Identifying and using computer files and software.
  • Mastering the use of windows, including minimizing, maximizing, restoring, resizing and using the scroll bar.
  • Being able to select and use basic task-appropriate software.

3rd Grade – 5th Grade 

Older elementary students should begin learning computer fundamentals skills related to how computer systems input, store, process, and output data. They should also advance their knowledge in digital citizenship and safety. This includes

  • Defining input, output and processing devices.
  • Describing how internal and external parts of computing devices work together.
  • Conceptualizing the cloud and understanding cloud computing and its uses.
  • Discussing privacy issues and how personal information should be protected.

6th Grade – 8th Grade

Middle school students should learn more advanced computer fundamentals skills that connect digital skills to more complex real-world applications. They should have a mastery of digital citizenship and the skills to use technology effectively and responsibly and to translate those skills into other types of technology. This includes

  • Effectively using computer applications and hardware.
  • Identifying and using a variety of media storage and understanding use cases.
  • Developing an understanding of operating systems and graphic user interfaces.
  • Identifying successful troubleshooting strategies for common hardware and software issues.
  • Understanding transferrable functions between different types of software.
  • Differentiating between software types and common use cases.
  • Applying computer fundamentals knowledge to other technology, including mobile devices.
  • Understanding network technology and applying knowledge in cross-platform connectivity uses.
  • Mastering safety and responsibility online, including how to be a good digital citizen.

Final Thoughts 

Teaching students computer fundamentals skills should blend learning sequences with collaborative activities and hands-on projects. This allows students to better grasp and apply technology skills, gain experience applying these skills in real-world scenarios, and augment these skills with computational thinking and problem-solving skills that can be applied across their academic and professional careers. 

For more information about Learning.com and our computer fundamentals program for students, click “Explore EasyTech” below.