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Digital Savvy Online Course Review by Laura Delgado

Chris Yust
Homeschool Programming
980 Birmingham Rd.
Suite 501-128
Alpharetta, GA 30004

Online computer courses are a great way for homeschoolers to learn new computing skills, but an online computer course about . . . computing? Yes! That is actually a reality, thanks to Homeschool Programming’s Digital Savvy Online Course. Designed for middle school and high school students desiring to learn more about computers in general, and about digital literacy, operating systems, social media, and Office-style applications in particular, Digital Savvy Online Course is the perfect course for students either just learning to navigate the world of computers or for those who have not fully explored everything their computer can do. Alternatively, Digital Savvy makes a great computer elective for students looking to fill a niche spot on their transcripts.

This online course covers two semesters (33 weeks). Each chapter contains video instruction, lab assignments, hands-on activities, quizzes, and a test. The included syllabus provides an estimate of the days needed to complete each chapter although, of course, families can adjust those times to suit their individual needs. The specific topics covered in the course are as follows: fundamentals of computer hardware and software, operating systems, managing files, computer maintenance and troubleshooting, computer networks, search engines, computer security, word processing, spreadsheet programs, presentation programs, database technology, project management and teamwork, digital images, internet communications, social media, creating web pages, web links, images and animation, programming concepts, digital logic, and careers and professional skills.

The minimum computer requirements for this course are a CPU of at least 1.6Ghz, at least 1024MB of RAM, a display monitor with 1024 x 768 or higher resolution, and a hard drive with 3 GB or more free space. The course supports Windows 7 (all versions), Windows 8 (except RT), Windows 10, and Mac OS version 10.7 and above (on Intel-based CPUs).

The course costs $145 (with the option to purchase additional licenses for siblings for $40 each) and is good for one year from date of purchase, although extensions are available for an additional fee. 

Digital Savvy Online Course is very easy to use. Once parents have followed the instructions to set up an online account, the student is able to login and begin the course immediately. After watching the lesson video, the student is prompted to take a quiz and complete the assigned activities. Lessons not only include the lesson video, but each lesson also includes the full lesson text, as well as fully illustrated and explained teacher notes and quiz answer key. Parent-teachers are really covered in every aspect with this course, by which I mean it is a completely self-teaching course (a student can sit down in front of it and move through it with no parental involvement), but for parents who want either to be involved or who want to know exactly what is in the videos without actually watching every minute of them, Digital Savvy has provided every bit of information for them. Each activity a student will be doing in each lesson is outlined in the parent notes as well.

My 13-year-old son has been enjoying this course, although he has been moving through it at a slower pace than the one suggested by Homeschool Programming. Even so, he will still finish it within the year’s allotted time. The videos are clear and easy to understand and, perhaps most importantly, not too long. There are cartoonish graphics, but they are appropriate for the purposes of illustration and are not distracting or over the top. The activities appropriately support the lessons and are both age and level appropriate (meaning that the student is not asked to do more than he is able, given what he has already learned).

This course really could have a place in any homeschooler’s schedule, assuming the student has basic computer knowledge. A child who has grown up on the computer and has even minimal programming skills would probably find the course too easy, but even these students would likely take away some valuable information from certain sections, especially those relating to social media. As a parent, I have appreciated the ease with which one can dive right into Digital Savvy. My only suggestion would be to have the teacher’s guide compiled as one large file, rather than having it broken down by lesson. I would love to be able to download the file as a pdf and take it to an office supply store to have it printed and bound so that I had the entire thing as a reference without having to be on my computer. I am more of a “read it off the printed page” kind of person! Similarly, I would love to see the same option for the student text. I would even be willing to pay a small upgraded fee for this option. I understand the issue of copyright concerns, but an industrious enough person would be able to compile the individual pages herself and print the whole lot; I am just not that industrious.

I have been nothing but pleased with any of Homeschool Programming’s offerings in the past, and Digital Savvy Online Course is no exception. It is a practical basic computing curriculum from which most homeschoolers could derive great benefit.

—Product review by Laura Delgado, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2016