How to Teach Basic Computer Skills to Kids

A teacher assists students in a computer lab at school.
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Because computers and technology are part of work, school and everyday life, it’s important that schools provide children unfamiliar with computers training in how to operate them. Failing to learn computer skills can hinder a student’s ability to get into college or to get a job after he graduates from high school. Although computer education doesn’t need to be extensive, it should teach students enough to complete schoolwork on a computer or prepare them to use a computer in the workplace.

A woman shows a young boy how to use the computer.
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Explain components of a computer. Educate students on the proper terminology for the components, such as the mouse, keyboard and monitor, because not all kids may be familiar with them. Demonstrate how to turn on a computer as well as how to double-click the mouse to get documents and programs to open.

An adolescent girl opens a web page at a desk.
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Show off the World Wide Web. Teach students how to surf the Internet and view websites by showing them how to pull up the web browser. Demonstrate how to type in a specific web address as well as use major search engines such as Google and Bing to find websites. Turn on computers' parental controls to block inappropriate websites.

A close-up of a child's hands on a computer keyboard.
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Teach keyboarding skills. Provide typing lessons that start with the home row letters and advance to full words and sentences. Add in numbers and symbols as students become more confident in their keyboarding abilities. Encourage students to lower their error rates while also increasing their speed by using games and competitions among kids. Place a piece of printer paper over a student's hands to get him in the habit of looking at the computer screen when typing rather than the keyboard.

A child uses an software app on a tablet computer.
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Provide an overview of additional software. Show students the variety of software programs available for them to use with computers. Introduce them to word processing software that allows them to type documents and papers; they’ll need this later for their schoolwork. Demonstrate what they can do with pictures in photo software as well as how an artist can sketch and draw on the computer using design programs.

Allison Dodge has been a writer since 2005, specializing in education, careers, health and travel. She has worked at educational institutions for more than 10 years. Dodge has a master's degree in education administration.