Excel: Why Your Kids Should “Learn iT!” Too

By Elizabeth RobieMixed Race girl on floor with a computer Whether it’s YouTube, Facebook, or World of Warcraft,the average youngster spends an hour-and-a-half with a computer each day (outside of schoolwork). Most kids are masters of online media, social networking, and gaming, but when it comes to non-recreational computer use, their skills are not so savvy. Middle school and high school assignments rarely require anything beyond simple word processing or a basic Internet search. Some particularly in-tune teachers integrate technology into their lesson plans, but in my opinion, this does not happen enough.

"Excel is one of the most powerful user-friendly applications of all time"

Why is this lack of technology education a problem? Well, in most sectors, technology skills are a must. Nearly every job posting references some sort of computer competency, from word processing to database management to programming. But perhaps the most common skill request I see in job postings these days is the familiar “Microsoft Office Proficiency” qualification.

Of all the applications used in the office, Excel is arguably the most prolific. Excel is one of the most powerful user-friendly applications of all time and as a consequence, it’s everywhere you look in the business world. A job seeker with truly advanced Excel skills would be a valuable asset to many companies. (And if you know Excel well you know what I mean by advanced!) If you’re the go-to Excel guru at the office you have a higher chance of keeping your job because you have a concrete skill that’s not-so-prevalent.

Plus, there are many personal benefits that come with knowing Excel, such as knowing your way around the thousands of templates and the What-if Analysis tool pack for financial planning (See Getting Cozy at Home…with Excel). Hey, maybe it’s also not such a bad idea to show kids how to budget their finances and assess loan parameters!

If proficiency in Microsoft Office is what employers want, then why aren’t schools teaching these applications? The inability for many school programs to catch up to a technology-driven generation is surprising.

What can you do as a parent? Enroll your kids in a summer Learn iT! class. They’ll be happy you did with our funny, enthusiastic instructors (and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies!) Or, join Learn iT! Anytime, a website that offers unlimited access to videos on Microsoft Office applications, and much more.

Want your kids to excel? Have them learn Excel.

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Lissy RobieA former college track star (boasting a sub 5 minute mile) and high school science teacher, Elizabeth Robie is passionate about education and technology. In her spare time, she enjoys running, playing with her dog Seamus, and watching Duke basketball religiously. At Learn iT! Elizabeth teaches the entire MS Office Suite.