Whether you’re programming computers for Apple or having an art show in New York City, technology is now embedded into practically any field of the 21st century. Of course, different fields require varying skills in technology, but a basic education in Powerpoint and Excel is no longer enough. Yet, for Diamond Bar High School students, that’s all the required computer course really is—a glamorized tutorial of basic skills that we’ve been taught since elementary school.
Known as CTE, or Career and Technology Explorations, students must complete this requirement at some point in their four years to graduate. For students outside of Brahma Tech, who complete this class in a Freshman Computer Skills course, they have two choices: a semester-long CTE course with the second semester on Health or a combo class of the two that’s taken in the summer.
Despite it being practically in the name, all that I can remember from that summer was taking a series of screenshots from either Excel or Word. Granted, this was almost three years ago, but, considering how important this course has become for my future, I, and any other student, shouldn’t be remembering redundant clicks on my computer. Rather, students should be learning more applicable, technological skills that are better integrated into the high school curriculum.
As an example, one of the most important parts of passing this course is to watch a video from an instructor and complete an assignment on a program within Microsoft Office. Not only is Microsoft Office something that students rarely use, but most students will complete this assignment without even thinking about what they’re typing and doing.
To rectify this, classes can focus more on projects that challenge students to utilize their acquired technological skills to solve some type of problem with a creative approach. That could mean expanding the course to include the fundamentals of Adobe Creative Cloud as well as the basics of programming and coding.
But, there has to be a sense of continuity if students actually want to remember anything they learned from this course. Outside of Computer Science and Computer Graphic Courses, teachers in both humanities and STEM courses can have assignments that require students to edit a video, design a graphic or create a presentation that utilizes the skills they learn in their computer classes.
Of course, Brahma Tech is specifically designed so that students can have such assignments in their classes. But, this is a path that a student chooses in their freshman and sophomore year.
For students who may be unsure of their future career path, as most students are, the CET course can serve as a soft introduction to different spectrums within technology. And, with this proper beginners course, students can choose whether or not this is something they’re actually interested in.
Even if the student doesn’t pursue such a path, at the very least, they’ll be prepared to use any of the digital tools that their future career now requires of them.