Computer literacy

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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.[1][2] By another measure, computer literacy requires some understanding of computer programming and how computers work.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5] Early childhood educators use student-centered instruction to guide the young student through various activities on the tablet computer.[6] Often this includes web browsing and the use of applications, familiarizing the young student with a basic level of computer proficiency.[5]

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.[7]

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.[8]

Digital divide[edit]

In the US job market, computer illiteracy severely limits employment options.[9]

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.[10]

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. ^ Haigh, Robert W. (March–April 1985). "Planning for Computer Literacy". The Journal of Higher Education. 56 (2): 161–171. doi:10.2307/1981664. JSTOR 1981664. 
  3. ^ Tobin, Catherine D. (February 1983). "Developing Computer Literacy". The Arithmetic Teacher. 30 (6): 22–23, 60. JSTOR 41190615. 
  4. ^ Neumann, M.M. & Neumann, D.L. (Sept. 4 2013). Touch Screen Tablets and Emergent Literacy. Early Childhood Education 42: 231
  5. ^ a b Blackwell C, Lauricella A, Wartella E (July 1, 2016). The influence of TPACK contextual factors on early childhood educators’ tablet computer use. Computers & Education 98:57-69.
  6. ^ Beschorner, Beth and Hutchison, Amy C. (2013). iPads as a Literacy Teaching Tool in Early Childhood. Education Publications. Paper 26.
  7. ^ Hannum, Wallace (February–March 1992). "Reconsidering Computer Literacy: A Critique of Current Efforts". The High School Journal. 74 (3): 152–159. JSTOR 40364597. 
  8. ^ Nataraj, S (2014). "The Need for an Introductory Computer Literacy Course at the University Level". International Journal Of Business Management & Economic Research. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "Per Scholas; Affordable Technology Finally Available to Bronx Residents". Pediatrics Week: 42. 27 August 2011.