June 15, 2011

“Another way in which computers can be either integrated into or isolated from the learning process has to do less with the computer as an instrument than with computing as a set of ideas. The issue appears very clearly when one contrasts what has come to be called “computer literacy” with the sense of the word literacy used to refer to someone as a literate person. Computer literacy has come to be defined, especially in the context of School, as a very minimal practical knowledge about computers.

Someone who had so minimal a level of knowledge of reading, writing and literature would be called illiterate.

Moreover, the difference is not merely one of degree buy of one of kinds of knowledge. When we say, “X is a very literate person,” we do not mean that X is highly skilled at deciphering phonics. At the least, we imply that X knows literature, but beyond this we mean that X has certain ways of understanding the world that derive from an acquaintance with literary culture.In the same way, the term computer literacy should refer to the kinds of knowing that derive from a computer culture.”

Papert, S. (1993) The Children’s Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer. NY: Basic Books. Page 52.

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