Cyber learning is no longer just an option in the wake of COVID-19. It is the option for education, as schools across the country have closed their doors to practice social distancing until the pandemic runs its course. Most youngsters are more computer savvy than their older counterparts, and there are plenty of benefits to online learning for high schoolers, the most obvious being the avoidance of distractions.
Quarantine leaves a lot of time without a lot of the traditional options for youngsters to occupy that time, like sports or even hanging out with friends, so now is as good a time as any to learn some new computer skills. Here are 4 computer-based tips that can be learned rather quickly, to help prepare high schoolers for collegiate and business worlds that will be more digital than ever after, being forced to make changes during the COVID-19 shut down.
Give Yourself Some (College) Credit!
If you’re a high schooler with college in your sights, know that you can never be too prepared. Great grades, community involvement, solid rapport from your teachers, and a solid resume of extracurricular activities are all important when applying for college, but already having some college credit shows an extra level of commitment to your education. Some “regular” AP classes (nothing is all that regular with COVID-19) hold college credit, but there are also online options for earning credits… and they are almost always cheaper than at a given university.
If you have a university in mind already, it’s definitely wise to start your search there, as not all credits transfer from college to college, but even if you’re not sure what college you want to attend, the shut down is a great time to get ahead for whatever may be next for you, education-wise.
Polish Your Online Portfolio
A lot of students (and adults!) here the word “portfolio” and get nervous. Just because you haven’t been a professional in a given field, doesn’t mean you don’t have portfolio-worthy work in said field. For arts and skilled trades, it’s pretty simple to see what things should be added to a portfolio: your artwork and examples or projects completed in your trade. For students focusing on a more business-oriented collegiate experience, you can still add relevant coursework, high test scores, recommendations from teachers, and other things to your online portfolio.
Master an Application
Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint have all withstood the difficult test of time in the tech world, and it’s for very good reason. They evolve every year to better serve their users. These programs are used on a daily basis in the business world, and will be heavily relied upon in college, as well.
Microsoft Word has an almost infinite amount of keyboard shortcuts that can drastically reduce your time spent on a paper for college, or reports for your bosses at the next level. Spreadsheets are great tools for organization, and learning some Excel tips and tricks before getting to college will certainly help you be ahead of the game when you arrive on campus.
Learn a Programming Language
Knowing how to use a computer is something shared by a vast majority of today’s youth, but knowing how to program one is a much more unique skill. Many high schools offer some elective classes in programming, but a lot of those classes are in dated languages like Java and SQL. In recent years, there has been a steady rise in the use of two new languages, R and PYTHON.
In a 2019 poll of programmers, more than 65% or programmers used PYTHON regularly, and 46% used R regularly, compared to 12% for Java and 32% for SQL, and the online resource for learning a language are nearly endless.
Remember How it Was, Too
Mastering the tools of the telecommuting trade is a great way to ensure you don’t fall behind during these unprecedented times, but even after you become an expert of remote learning and working, it’s important to remember that someday (hopefully sooner than later), you will be back in a face-to-face environment with peers, instructors, and potential employers. Be sure to share your knowledge of the things you mastered while quarantined, but don’t sink too far into the computer chair, either, as success lies on the shoulders of both worlds.