Assistant Managing Editor
In an effort to better prepare Wapakoneta HIgh School students, a new graduation requirement is being proposed.
Wapakoneta High School Principal Scott Minnig recently suggested that computer applications be made a mandatory class. He said that an important skill for today’s work force is being able to use technology.
“At the high school, we like to make sure kids are prepared,” Minnig said. “What we have heard is some are lacking computer skills.”
A computer applications class, to be taught by Julie Courter, is taken by approximately 75 percent of the school’s students now, typically freshmen and sophomores, but administrators are discussing the class as a requirement for all students in the future.
She said adding more classes would not require an additional financial obligation to the district, as it would just add to the number of students she has, increasing that to approximately 30 students per class.
Minnig said it teaches the basics.
“Students can use it wherever they go,” Courter said, explaining that freshmen who have taken the class with her have thanked her as they have used what they learned in it both in high school and college.
“When is the last time you went anywhere where someone was not using a computer?” Courter said.
One of her goals when she became a teacher, she said, is that when her students go to college they can test out of computer classes.
“It is something kids need and is really important for them to know how to do,” Courter said.
She said computer applications is an important first step in students preparing themselves for the computerized world in which they live.
“Using a computer effectively to complete school work will improve time management because you will be able to navigate easily through the many tools and features offered by the programs,” Courter said. “CNN noted that employers will be most attracted to workers proficient with information technology. Therefore, knowing your way around a computer will make you more employable.”
She said the class teaches proper keyboarding technique, which allows work to be done faster and more efficient; Microsoft Word, basics of the most widely used word processor in the country; document creation and proofreading; resumes and cover letters; business documents; Microsoft Excel because data is important in every field; Microsoft PowerPoint, which is widely used for presentations; Prezi, a relatively new, web-based alternate way to give a presentation, which will help a student stand out in the classroom or workplace; and presentation skills.
Advanced levels of the class are to further teach about Word, PowerPoint and Excel; teach students how to use the desktop publishing program, Publisher; and teach students how to use Photoshop Elements.
“Students can learn at their own pace,” said Courter, sharing that the class offers more one-on-one instruction toward individualized goals. “They can learn the way they need to rather than trying to keep up with someone else.”