Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #466 7/17/2019

Question: What is computer literacy?


Computer literacy is when people have the fundamental skills to do basic items on a computer. This is similar to literacy which many define today as the ability to read on the 4th grade level. In many ways both are needed to exist in today’s world.

Items that people need to know to be considered computer literate include being able to turn a computer on and off, being able to start and use a computer browser for the Internet, being able to read and send email and being able to write a simple document such as a simple letter.

Being able to turn a computer on and off may not be as important now as places and people starting to use virtual networked computers that often have no on/off switch, however most computers and related devices (phones, iPads, Chrome books, etc) still have on off switches.

Being able to start and use a web browser makes you able to find information on the Internet, pay bills, search for places, etc. The browser could be one of several. The current popular ones are Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft’s old Internet Explorer and new Edge (which is totally changing now) that you could learn. The brand of browser is not important, just using a browser. Being able to search for information is vitally important and Google is far and away currently the most used one.

Being able to send and read email may be more important to many people than using the Internet but today most people use a program inside their browser to read and send email. There are still a few standalone such as Outlook, but it can be used in the browser also. Popular email programs are Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo mail, and others.

Being able to type a simple letter in Word or another word processor and use spell check is important in today’s world.

If you need training on computer literacy or know someone who does here are a few places. First is your public library may offer classes, second a number of technical colleges offer this training and third your county may have a literacy center that offers these. Catoosa County has the Catoosa Citizens for Literacy with it’s Learning Center where they offer these classes.

Besides the computer literacy classes these places may well also help people needing literacy training and to get their GED. The Catoosa Literacy center working with Georgia Northwestern Technical College and community partners can help you get your GED at little or no expense helping with fees, childcare and transportation. If you are in other counties look and see what they offer for literacy and computer literacy. Again technical colleges are excellent resources.