Computer literacy

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Computer literacy is defined as the knowledge and ability to utilize computers and related technology efficiently, with a range of skills covering levels from elementary use to computer programming and advanced problem solving. Computer literacy can also refer to the comfort level someone has with using computer programs and other applications that are associated with computers. Another valuable component is understanding how computers work and operate. Computer literacy may be distinguished from computer programming which is design and coding of computer programs rather than familiarity and skill in their use.[1]

Background[edit]

Computer literacy is different from digital literacy. Digital literacy refers to the ability to communicate or find information from the Internet. Digital literacy improves computer literacy to a certain extent.[2]

The arguments for computers in classrooms are primarily vocational or practical. They are based on assumptions that computers will be pervasive in the workplace of the future, or that they are soon going to be 'everywhere'.[3] Computer users should learn to distinguish which skills they want to improve, and be more purposeful and accurate in their use of these skills. By learning more about computer literacy, users can discover more computer functions that are worth using.[4]

With more interaction between computers and technology (audio, video, communications, etc), rapid changes in technology make it very difficult to predict the next five years. Computer literacy projects have support in many countries because they conform to general political and economic principles of those countries' public and private organizations. The web offers great potential for effective and widespread dissemination of knowledge and for the integration and coordination of technological advances. Improvements in computer literacy facilitate this.[5]

Writing about computers can improve computer literacy.[6]

In the United Kingdom[edit]

History[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the BBC Computer Literacy Project, using the BBC Micro computer, ran from 1980 to 1989. This initiative educated a generation of coders in schools and at home, prior to the development of mass market PCs in the 1990s.[7][8]

The ZX Spectrum, released in 1982, helped to popularize home computing, coding and gaming in Britain and Europe.[9][10][11] A number of prominent video game developers emerged in Britain in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[12]

Primary and secondary education[edit]

Computer programing skills were introduced into the National Curriculum in 2014.[13][14]

Policy[edit]

The government published a 'digital skills strategy' in 2017.[15][16][17]

In the United States[edit]

Primary and secondary education[edit]

In the United States, students are introduced to tablet computers in preschool or kindergarten. Tablet computers are preferred for their small size and touchscreens.[18] The touch user interface of a tablet computer is more accessible to the under-developed motor skills of young children.[19] Early childhood educators use student-centered instruction to guide the young student through various activities on the tablet computer.[20] Often this includes web browsing and the use of applications, familiarizing the young student with a basic level of computer proficiency.[19]

Teaching computer literacy to students in secondary school may improve their thinking skills and employability, but most teachers lack the understanding and classroom time to teach computer programming.[21]

Nataraj (2014) found that many college freshmen in the United States had insufficient computer skills. After freshmen completed a computer literacy course, there was a significant improvement in their understanding of the course material.[22]

Digital divide[edit]

In the US job market, computer illiteracy severely limits employment options.[23]

Non-profit organizations such as Per Scholas attempt to reduce the divide by offering free and low-cost computers to children and their families in underserved communities in South Bronx, New York, Miami, Florida, and in Columbus, Ohio.[24]

See also[edit]

Computers

Initiatives

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tobin, Catherine D. (February 1983). "Developing Computer Literacy". The Arithmetic Teacher. 30 (6): 22–23, 60. JSTOR 41190615.
  2. ^ Balogh, Meghan. "Coding Workshops Promote Digital Literacy". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  3. ^ Goodson, Ivor F., J. Marshall Mangan. Computer Literacy as Ideology." British Journal of Sociology of Education. pp. 65–79.
  4. ^ Fiorini, Barbara M. "Computer Literacy: Teach Yourself". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  5. ^ Watkins, Nellouise (1982). National Goals And Strategies For Computer Literacy. pp. 267–270.
  6. ^ Hoffman, Mark E. "Bridging Writing to Learn and Writing in the Discipline in Computer Science Education".
  7. ^ "BBC releases computer history archive". BBC News. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  8. ^ "BBC Computer Literacy Project Archive". computer-literacy-project.pilots.bbcconnectedstudio.co.uk. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Sinclair Spectrum designer Rick Dickinson dies in US". BBC News. 26 April 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2018. the machines had "spawned a generation" of coders that had helped to establish the UK's reputation as a creative, game-making powerhouse
  10. ^ Kelion, Leo (23 April 2012). "Sinclair's ZX Spectrum turns 30". BBC News. Retrieved 26 April 2018. The success was also driven by videogame sales - the machines were originally marketed as an educational tool but you ensured titles were ready at launch.
  11. ^ O'Regan, Gerard (21 June 2016). Introduction to the History of Computing: A Computing History Primer. Springer. ISBN 9783319331386.
  12. ^ Blake, Jimmy (6 January 2019). "How the UK became a major player in the gaming world". BBC News. Retrieved 7 January 2019. The gaming industry as it now exists formed around the same time back in the late 70s early 80s - there were a small number of influential people in programming.
  13. ^ Dredge, Stuart (4 September 2014). "Coding at school: a parent's guide to England's new computing curriculum". the Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  14. ^ "National curriculum in England: computing programmes of study". GOV.UK. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Government sets out digital strategy". BBC News. 1 March 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  16. ^ "UK Digital Strategy". GOV.UK. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  17. ^ "Digital Skills in the United Kingdom" (PDF). House of Lords Library Briefing. 10 August 2017.
  18. ^ Neumann, Michelle M.; Neumann, David L. (4 September 2013). "Touch Screen Tablets and Emergent Literacy". Early Childhood Education Journal. 42 (4): 231. doi:10.1007/s10643-013-0608-3.
  19. ^ a b Blackwell, Courtney K.; Lauricella, Alexis R.; Wartella, Ellen (1 July 2016). "The Influence of TPACK Contextual Factors on Early Childhood Educators' Tablet Computer Use". Computers & Education. 98: 57–69. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2016.02.010.
  20. ^ Beschorner, Beth; Hutchison, Amy (2013). "iPads as a Literacy Teaching Tool in Early Childhood" (PDF). International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology. 1 (1): 16–24.
  21. ^ Hannum, Wallace (February – March 1992). "Reconsidering Computer Literacy: A Critique of Current Efforts". The High School Journal. 74 (3): 152–159. JSTOR 40364597.
  22. ^ Nataraj, Sam (2014). "The Need for an Introductory Computer Literacy Course at the University Level" (PDF). International Journal of Business Management & Economic Research. 5 (4): 71–3.
  23. ^ Wyatt, Edward (18 August 2013). "Most of U.S. Is Wired, but Millions Aren't Plugged In". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  24. ^ "Per Scholas; Affordable Technology Finally Available to Bronx Residents". Pediatrics Week: 42. 27 August 2011.

Further reading[edit]