Computer Literacy in Schools

Computers are so integrated into daily life that computer illiteracy can be a significant liability.
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Computer literacy is no longer a nice bonus to add to a resume. Instead, basic computer skills are mandatory job requirements and even necessary for mundane daily tasks. From researching potential jobs to writing a resume, students need computer skills even before they get a job and students who can competently research and write on a computer are better-equipped for both academic and professional success. However, not all schools are created equal when it comes to computer literacy and many students aren't graduating with adequate computer skills.

1 Importance

A computer is not just a device that can help you get a job. Instead, it's a tool for everyday tasks in a wide range of jobs, including administrative assistants, doctors, lawyers and scientists. Even when computer skills aren't mandatory for a job, computer literacy can make a job easier. For example, an attorney who has excellent computer skills can competently research case law and quickly produce flawless briefs. In a world where communication increasingly occurs via e-mail and social networking, computer etiquette and a basic knowledge of how the Internet works are vital for protecting one's reputation and advancing in almost every field.

2 Necessary Skills

Every career requires different computer skills and many college programs are designed to help students master the specific skills they'll need for their chosen profession. In elementary and high school, students should learn the basics of operating a computer. These skills include using a word processor, sending and receiving e-mail, searching and researching on the web, Internet and e-mail etiquette and safety, basic troubleshooting and how to perform basic tasks in an operating system. However, the National Center for Women and Information Technology argues that computer literacy is not enough and even young students should learn computer science.

3 Computer Literacy Programs

There is a wide variety of quality among school computer literacy programs. For example, poorly-funded schools frequently have only a few computers and this can make regular computer usage nearly impossible, interfering with computer literacy education. Other schools place a strong emphasis on computer usage and literacy from the early grades. Students' computer literacy also depends partially on teachers' computer literacy, as teachers who regularly incorporate technology into their lessons produce more computer literate students.

4 Computer Classes

Children learn best when information is relevant to them and conveyed in context. Children in preschool and primary grades should get regular access to computers and learn the basics of how to use a mouse, how typing affects what appears on a computer screen and how to turn a computer on. As children grow older, they can begin learning word processing, Internet skills and even computer programming.

Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.