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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. By another measure, computer literacy requires some understanding of computer programming and how computers work.
In the United States
Primary and secondary education
In the United States, students are introduced to tablet computers in preschool or kindergarten. Tablet computers are preferred for their small size and touchscreens. The simple tap and swipe features of tablet computers are convenient for the under-developed motor skills of young children and similarly present the functions of the mouse and keyboard. Early childhood educators use student-centered instruction to guide the young student through various activities on the tablet computer. Often this includes web browsing and the use of applications, familiarizing the young student with a basic level of computer proficiency.
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.
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.
In the US job market, computer illiteracy severely limits employment options.
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.
Levels of computer literacy
The following table distinguishes between three levels of computer literacy: basic, intermediate, and proficient:
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- "Per Scholas; Affordable Technology Finally Available to Bronx Residents". Pediatrics Week: 42. 27 August 2011.
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