At a couple of the high schools we serve, students choose to take KidsTek as an elective course called Business Computing to gain advanced skills in networking, entrepreneurship, and the Microsoft Office Suite. Students who excel in this course also receive the opportunity to earn a Microsoft Office Specialist Certification in Microsoft Word and Excel.
This school year, KidsTek held certification exams at our programs at two Denver high schools: North High and Florence Crirttenton High. Both of these classes focused on the business side of the tech industry as well as the Microsoft Office skills that are beneficial for a wide range of higher education and career tracks. KidsTek instructor Emily Tow taught at both high schools by incorporating engaging material that reflected the unique student interests at each school.
The spring semester at North High School focused on mastering Microsoft Excel, after these students learn advanced Microsoft Word in the fall. Speakers were brought in to share their experience as entrepreneurs and tech leaders in order to make a connection between what the students were doing in class and how they will use those tools in the real world. While speakers bring a lot to the classroom, a KidsTek field trip to CU Boulder made an even bigger impact on the students as we explored the Leeds School of Business campus.
To tie in life as a business student with the KidsTek curriculum, Darrell Zechman, Leeds Scholars/Honors Program Director at CU Boulder, led an interactive presentation of how Microsoft Excel is used in the business world. After working out a tricky math question as a group, Darrell punched the equation into Excel by using a formula to get the correct answer even faster. This demonstration was to showcase the benefits of learning these skills while in high school.
“The KidsTek initiative to get high school students certified in Microsoft Office will have immense benefits as these students progress through their educational and professional lives,” Darrell said. “In the business and STEM fields, the ability to work with data is becoming a necessary skill set. Being able to utilize a tool such as Microsoft Excel to analyze large datasets and translating that information into easily visualized graphics and carefully articulated text in an application such as Microsoft Word will allow these students to add value– both in the classroom and workplace.”
During KidsTek’s first semester teaching at Florence Crittenton High School, Emily taught Microsoft Word with a heavy emphasis on project-based learning. In order to keep the students engaged while creating tables and SmartArt, Emily inserted each skill into interesting projects that not only had students practicing practical Microsoft Word skills, but also required students to use their creative thinking skills. Meghan Lang, Program Manager with KidsTek, shared, “Because Emily uses relevant topics to teach the material of the class, and sincerely thinks about what the students will be interested in, the ability for them to retain the information increases.”
With another successful school year wrapped up, KidsTek high school students have plenty of new technology and business skills to add to their resumes. KidsTek would especially like to congratulate all the students who worked hard to take and pass the Microsoft Word and/or Microsoft Excel certification exams this year!