Remonzer’s Weblog

everything that I am learning in EDUC 628

Literacy – What Does it All Mean? February 8, 2008

Filed under: EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 12:29 am

I have been trying to keep up with the reading for my classes, despite the fact that I am out of my element (family emergencies this week have taken me away from teaching and my regular routine) and am struggling to keep up with the assignments for both my classes.  My struggle and stress increased a little as I read this blog: http://durandus.com/phaedrus/2008/02/05/programming-the-new-literacy/  and thought about what an uncool grandmother that I am going to be because I can’t program a computer well enough to create games for my grandchildren’s birthdays.  In addition, they are likely to tell stories about how illiterate their grandmother is/was.  This, after working hard to obtain a college education.  I sure hope Mr. Prensky is off the mark on this one. 

It is just as likely that I would have lost my cool grandmother status by giving the kids a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird or other piece of great literature long before the computer programming illiteracy issue arose.  Part of my definition of literacy includes the ability to read and interpret classic literature as well as basic abilities to write for communication purposes.

Having expressed all of that, now I will add that I can envision a future where knowledge of computer programming languages could be a skill possessed by an elite class, but not to the exclusion of others who have the opportunity, aptitude, and ambition to learn – unless, of course, an effort has been made to lock them out, which is another condition that hearkens back to the Middle Ages also referenced in Prensky’s blog.

Personally, I would like to learn programming languages.  But – I took a class in beginning computer programming that involved flow-charts, if-then statements and some other components that I have forgotten now and it was very difficult for me.  I hope that doesn’t mean that I am going to be nearly illiterate in a few years.  Actually, I think that a person who knows how to use a fairly wide range of computer applications can be considered computer literate.  However, I do feel that knowing how to program would be the ultimate in computer literacy. 

I wonder if knowing how to fix a computer when assorted problems with the CPU arise is considered a form of computer literacy?  

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3 Responses to “Literacy – What Does it All Mean?”

  1. dancingnancy533 Says:

    One thing that I am going to try and do as a father is avoid buying my kids too many toys. As a former kid, I know exactly what happens with new toys. They get played with for about 2 days and then discarded into a chest where they remain for the rest of their days. Instead, if my children ask for a book from the bookstore, then I’ll gladly buy it for them. Whether it is a comic book or the latest novel from Stephen King, it is all reading to me.
    There will be a few books I will encourage my kids to read like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Huckleberry Finn’ to name a few.

    In response to your question, yes, I do believe that knowing how to fix assorted problems with the CPU is a form a computer literacy. You have to know what to look for and what the best remedy is for the problem. So, you are in fact literate on the inner workings of a computer. Some may disagree, but it is my humble opinion.

  2. Stephannie Marsillett Says:

    If I had a choice, I would rather learn how to troubleshoot or fix problems instead of creating programs for a computer. I too believe that troubleshooting is a form of computer literacy. It takes knowledge and skills that have to be applied in order to make something happen.

    Also, like you, I had the one class in basic programming and had it not been for my husband (friend then) I would have failed. I didn’t understand a thing I was learning nor did it interest me to know. I wonder if that is hurting me now?

  3. Kim R Says:

    I remember a college class a heck of a long time ago in which we had to do BASIC ( I think that is what it was) and after I got the hang of it, it was pretty cool…but I think that becoming socially literate/appropriate is also important. We adapt to our surroundings, and being able to fit in w/any given group is ultimately what we focus on.


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