Computer literacy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

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.[1] 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[edit]

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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4]

The Digital Inclusion Forum,[5] a consortium set up through joint participation from the Wireless Internet Institute,[6] IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Ohio's One Community,[7] 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.[8]

Importance of Computer Literacy[edit]

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.[9][10]

Australian Workforce[edit]

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.

As the digital world continues to advance, technology’s place in society can only develop and strengthen, hence the reason behind encouraging a culture of computer literacy.[9][11]

Australian Schools[edit]

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.[12][13]

Levels of Computer Literacy[edit]

There are various levels (basic, intermediate, proficient) of comfort and capability for computer literacy.[14]

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.

Table Contents.[14]

Basic Intermediate Proficient
Computer Use
  • Log on and off the computer
  • Power on and off the computer
  • Open and close applications
  • Open save and close files
  • Print documents
  • Identify parts of the computer
    • Mouse/trackpad
    • Keyboard
    • CD/DVD drive
    • Speakers
  • Using input device (e.g., mouse)
    • Point
    • Select/Click or double click
    • Click/select and hold
    • Drag and drop
  • Move cursor
  • Type/enter letters and numbers
  • Recognize and use icons to perform computer and software functions
  • Use special function keys
    • Delete
    • Shift
    • Arrow keys o Space
    • Return/enter
    • Escape
    • Backspace
    • Multi-key functions (CTRL/Alt/Del) o Caps Lock
  • Use/Adjust volume controls
  • Insert and eject media input devices(CD/DVD)
  • Troubleshoot common technology problems
    • Printer
      • Out of paper or toner
    • Computer
      • Power cords
      • Network connections
      • Peripheral connections
  • Locate and retrieve files in various directories
  • Save the same file in multiple locations (flash drive, My Documents, network folders)
  • Recognize and save files in various formats (.bmp, .jpg, .pdf, .html, etc.)
  • Create folders to organize files
  • Rename files
  • Delete files
  • Select appropriate printer and print
  • Choose appropriate page setup features
  • Using input device (e.g., mouse)
    • Select/right click
  • Multitask by using Task Bar and or minimize/maximize command or icon
  • Use special function keys
    • Page up/down
    • Home/end
  • Troubleshoot common technology promlems
    • Printer queue
    • Not connected to the network
  • Attach and use peripheral devices such as scanners, digital cameras, media storage (e.g., flash drive), and projection devices
  • View file properties to determine memory size
  • Locate and use accessibility features
    • Magnifier
  • Multitasking in a variety of ways
  • Save a compressed file (.zip)
  • Apply communication skills and 'netiquette' (having etiquette through email)
  • Read an email
  • Compose and send an email
  • Reply to a message
  • Delete an email
  • Apply communication skills and netiquette
  • Use “reply all”
  • Add an attachment
  • Save an attachment
  • Use carbon copy
  • Apply communication skills and netiquette
  • Create an address/distribution list
  • Use blind carbon copy
  • Organize emails into folders
Using Word Processing & Desktop Publishing
  • Start a new document
  • Save a document
  • Use icons and menus
  • Type or enter text
  • Complete a template or fill in a table
  • Select text and change
    • Font size
    • Font type
    • Style or effects (bold, underline, etc.)
    • Color
  • Cut, copy, and paste text
  • Use undo and redo icons
  • Select and resize graphics, pictures, clipart
  • Select multimedia clips
  • Create a new file using "Save As"
  • Use page setup and print preview
  • Print
  • Format text, lists, or paragraphs for
    • Double spacing
    • Bullets
    • Numbered lists o Alignment
    • Indention
    • Poetic forms
    • Outlining
    • Columns
    • Text direction o Text art
    • Word wrap
  • Use the spell check, grammar check, and Thesaurus
  • Apply principles and elements of graphic design
  • Use find, change, and replace tools
  • Use tools to rotate, edit, or highlight text
  • Insert graphics and clip art
  • Insert text boxes
  • Create page borders
  • Insert hyperlinks to Web sites or other files
  • Create columns and tables
  • Use sort tool (ascending and


  • Use number keys or number pad for

mathematical functions

  • Use print preview
  • Use word count tool
  • Insert page numbers
  • Manage headers and footers
  • Use program-specific templates and stationery
  • Insert and edit tables and table layout (borders, shading, column width, etc.)
  • Insert animation
  • Insert sound
  • Insert spreadsheets, graphs, and charts
  • Insert formulas
  • Save as another format such as RTF, PDF , or HTML
  • Use function keys and keyboard shortcuts
  • Adjust page views
  • Troubleshoot formatting problems—use Help feature
  • Modify toolbars to reflect current use or purpose for tool(s)
  • Use track changes and comments tools
  • Customize options and preferences in specific software
  • Format text using
  • Spacing
  • Line spacing
  • Justification
  • Margins
  • Tabs

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Computerized Manufacturing Automation: Employment, Education and the Workplace, Washington, US Congress of Technology Assessment, OTA CIT-235 April 1984, page 234
  2. ^ "Computer Literacy in the Workforce". Retrieved 2016-05-17. 
  3. ^ "Educational Initiatives Focusing on Computer Literacy & Online Education". Online Schools Offering Laptops. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Edward Wyatt (18 August 2013). "Most of U.S. Is Wired, but Millions Aren't Plugged In". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Digital Inclusion Forum". Retrieved February 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  6. ^ "The Wireless Internet Institute". Retrieved February 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  7. ^ "One Community". Retrieved February 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. ^ "Per Scholas; Affordable Technology Finally Available to Bronx Residents". Pediatrics Week: 42. 27 August 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Chapter 01 Summary.pdf - Why Is Computer Literacy Important? Computer". Retrieved 2016-05-17. 
  10. ^ "Computer-Literacry". Retrieved 2016-05-17. 
  11. ^ Willox, Innes (January 2016). "Tackling Foundation Skills in the Workforce" (PDF). The Australian Industry Group. 
  12. ^ "The role of ICT in Western Australian Education: Living and Working in a Digital World" (PDF). Education and Health Standing Committee. Parliament of Western Australia, Perth. September 2012. 
  13. ^ Tatnall, Arthur. "Computer education and societal change". Information Technology & People. 28 (4): 742–757. doi:10.1108/itp-09-2014-0202. 
  14. ^ a b "Computer Literacy Skills" (PDF). Computer Literacy Skills.