Do our ideas of "basic skills" in a school context actually match what people need to know in our society? From what I've seen, schools are getting much better at incorporating computers into the curriculum, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. I think I need to keep a running list of technology skills everyone should have (i.e. that I should teach my students). I get the sense that most people are finally realizing that computers are becoming just another element of daily life, and are more willing to teach and learn "21st Century Skills" but don't necessarily know what's most important. Some of this is basic operation knowledge (what's the best way to share files with other people?) and some of it is a bit more political (how do you write a formal email? is there such a thing?). I have not yet seen any books published with guidelines for text message etiquette, and yet that's something people are beginning to expect of each other. We know the Internet is a mix of really useful information and really terrible monsters, but we don't necessarily practice discerning between the two or give students much help in finding the really useful parts. And everyone loves the Xerox whisperer, but when does anyone let students tinker around and learn how a copier works?
So anyhow, in addition to the things mentioned already, I'm keeping a running list of technology skills I think I owe it to my students to teach or at least briefly discuss. As a large part of our technology skills ultimately have to do with communication, I do not believe such lessons would be out of place for an English teacher to tackle.
Here's my list so far (please add to it in the Comments--I'm sure there's much more that could be added): email (and text message) etiquette, different file types, basic MS Office (including a unit on professional PowerPoint presentations), copy/scan/fax machine commands, printer troubleshooting, storage options, utilizing a local network, compressing and decompressing files, navigating online research and searching effectively, editing a wiki... and definitely learning how to run all the new SmartBoard equipment I keep seeing in classrooms!