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Computer literacy is the ability to use computers and related technology efficiently, with a range of skills covering levels from elementary use to 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.
In developed countries
Computer literacy is considered to be a very important skill to possess in developed countries. Employers want their workers to have basic computer skills because their company becomes ever more dependent on computers. Many companies try to use computers and other technology to improve business efficiency.
Computers are just as common as pen and paper are for writing, especially among youth. For many applications - especially communicating - computers are preferred over pen, paper, and typewriters because of their ability to duplicate and retain information and ease of editing.
As personal computers become commonplace and they become more powerful, the concept of computer literacy is moving beyond basic functionality to more powerful applications under the heading of multimedia literacy or new literacies.
It is frequently assumed that as computer and Internet access is common-place in the first world, everyone in those countries must have equal and ready access to this technology, and to skills in how to effectively use it. There is, however, a significant digital divide in even the most technologically advanced and enabled countries, with digital haves and have-nots. Older workers who do not use the internet at home and are computer illiterate may be frozen out of the job market even for relatively unskilled jobs such as clerking in an auto parts store.
The Digital Inclusion Forum, a consortium set up through joint participation from the Wireless Internet Institute, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Ohio's One Community, is just one organization developed to address this. Their organizational mission in this is to provide a "comprehensive resource center to inform, educate and share best practices among state and local government leaders, industry and institutional stakeholders on identifying and implementing sustainable market solutions to bridge the digital divide in North America."
A variety of private sector nonprofits and foundations also contribute to this, in addressing the needs of underserved communities. Per Scholas, for example runs programs offering free and low cost computers to children and their families in underserved communities in the South Bronx, New York, Miami, Florida and in Columbus, Ohio.
Importance of Computer Literacy
Computer literacy has value in other areas of Australian life outside of professional development. As time passes, the importance of computer literacy continually increases, as it is a key aspect to helping businesses, schools, and people (in general), equip themselves for the future.
While the world continues to advance with smarter, faster technology, the need to be computer literate becomes more imperative. Computer literacy is helpful for researching important topics or personal concerns. Knowing how to properly use a computer and navigate the digital terrain helps to keep life organised and streamlined. Mobile media devices are becoming increasingly popular, reinforcing the need for computer illiterates to consider taking a skill course.
In Australia, the majority of occupations give employees access to computers and the internet as part of their job. Having computer skills simply refers to the ability to quickly and easily navigate a computer workspace. Familiarity with office programs, such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and Quickbooks used to be the standard skill set for most business operations. True computer literacy today is demonstrated through exceptional knowledge of Internet search engines, social media expertise, and in some cases, website building and management; furthermore, to have experience working with all these has become a common prerequisite for most jobs.
Computer literacy is taken seriously, especially for children in younger ages. Australian schools have also incorporated technology into the school curriculums as a way to start developing the students’ computer literacy skills. The use of computers and the societal adoption of computers in education has been brought upon by the advancements of the technological world — very much the same concept as the workforce in Australia. The combination of technology and education is not something that is new to the Australian school curriculum; Between their early learning stages and university education, students are steadily introduced to a range of different digital devices to further develop their computer skills; these include, PCs, interactive whiteboards, laptops, and iPads. Computers have changed almost every aspect of daily life, and people can be sure that the use of computers will only become more prevalent.
Levels of Computer Literacy
There are various levels (basic, intermediate, proficient) of comfort and capability for computer literacy.
Basic – Foundational computer literacy skills
Intermediate – Computer literacy and competency beyond the foundational level
Proficient – Computer literacy and competency beyond the intermediate level applied in educational and work settings.
|Using Word Processing & Desktop Publishing||
- Computer science#Education
- Digital literacy
- Digital divide
- European Computer Driving Licence
- New literacies
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