More often than not, computer literacy and digital literacy are mistaken for the same terms. Although intertwined, computer literacy and digital literacy are mutually exclusive concepts.
We are currently in a digital age, and digital literacy is a necessary skill one must have to succeed. Digital literacy is the ability to communicate and execute tasks intelligently via digital platforms. Computer literacy is a subset of digital literacy because to be digitally inclined, one must know how to navigate digital platforms, including the computer.
Comparing computer literacy and digital literacy helps one to understand the thin line between both terms, and the importance of each one of them in today’s world.
Overview of Computer and Digital Literacy
Digital literacy is beyond knowing how to use digital tools, such as social media search engines, and other technological tools. While these skills are important, they do not form the entire base of digital literacy.
Digital literacy, therefore, is the ability of individuals to recognize and utilize digital tools to create awareness, opportunities, and a means for expression. The ability to convert a digital tool to meet your needs at a specific period is digital literacy. To teach kids digital literacy, you need to teach them beyond operating digital tools. Let them know the importance of each tool, when and how to use each tool at a particular time, as well as how to filter tools to their benefit.
Computer literacy is simply the ability to use computers, and other related tools, efficiently. Computer literacy is beyond knowing how to press specific buttons or perform singular tasks; it also covers a deep understanding of how to perform tasks, code, and solve advanced problems.
When a person can comfortably operate a computer and effectively execute tasks, that person can be said to be computer literate.
Comparing computer literacy and digital literacy enlightens you on the distinctness between the two. It also gives you an insight into steps you need to take to be highly literate in both fields.
All About Computer Literacy
Before diving into the cogent difference between computer literacy and digital literacy, it is pertinent that you understand what each means in independent contexts. Here is all you need to know about Computer Literacy.
Computer literacy means competency in operating computers, as well as the ability to perform functions, such as editing a video, attending a meeting, and using the internet, all on a computer. Computer literacy also involves having a knowledge of computer tools, keys, and uses, as well as being able to utilize those tools effectively.
Computer literacy is generally a necessary skill for everyone to have in this modern technological age. Almost all job descriptions today require computer literacy skills. Even kids in school use the computer as a tool for learning.
Basic computer skills which sum up a person’s literacy include the ability to troubleshoot a computer for minor problems, modify and edit texts, perform general maintenance, solve problems and perform tasks independently.
In other words, a computer literate is a person who uses the computer and other related technology to execute tasks more efficiently and effectively.
How To Teach Computer Literacy to Kids
The ability to type on a computer does not equate to literacy. Computer literacy involves a person’s ability to perform both software and hardware functions on the computer. Using the internet, setting reminders, and solving troubleshooting problems, among others, sum up computer literacy.
The best way to teach kids how to be computer literate is to assign new tasks to them and allow them to figure them out. Kids can also learn computer skills progressively till they become literates. Some of the best computer skills for kids to learn include:
- Typing and modifying texts
- Connecting to the internet
- Microsoft Office suites
- Fixing minor troubleshoot errors
- Operating Systems
- Communication Tools
All About Digital Literacy
Digital literacy is the broader aspect of computer literacy. Without computer literacy, one cannot advance to being digitally literate. This is because computer literacy skill is a primary aspect of digital literacy.
Digital literacy, therefore, concerns itself with the purpose behind which technology is used. It is beyond exposure to these digital and technology tools- it also involves why, when, who, and time of utilizing digital tools. For example, a person who is efficient with posting and interacting with friends across social media platforms is said to possess digital skills.
However, the ability of that person to make an impact, sell a product, compete for a position, apply for a job, etc., as well as using the right platform and keywords at each point in time is said to be digital literate.
There are tons of people who are active across digital platforms. They all have their personal and societal goals, beliefs, and aspirations which are different from that of others, and for harmony and unity among all, digital literacy is important. You must be sensitive to the differences between you and others, and understand moods and events before performing any action.
In other words, digital marketing is the ability of a person to employ digital tools and skills to achieve their goals and relate with other people.
How To Teach Digital Literacy to Kids
Children need to understand the difference between digital skills and digital literacy while growing up. It is not enough for a person to know how to speak a language. To become literates in that language, they must know how to read and write in that language. They must also know how to perform tasks and achieve their goals using that language.
The same applies to digital literacy; kids must learn beyond operating digital tools. Parents must help them understand the power of digital platforms and how they can harness it for their benefit.
Beyond operating these digital platforms, kids can learn how to perform other functions, including building a portfolio, creating a website, making sales, and starting a career, among others. To become a digital literate, you must learn certain skills and tools. Some of the best digital skills include:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Digital Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing and optimization
- Email marketing, among others.
The good thing is that you can find these courses online for free! You do not have to break the bank to become a digital literate. These skills are also in-demand and compulsory skills in the current digital workspace.
Difference Between Computer and Digital Literacy
Now that it is clear that computer literacy and digital literacy are two related, but different entities, let us study the cogent differences between computer literacy and digital literacy.
Digital Literacy Captures a More Comprehensive Depth
While both computer literacy and digital literacy are deep, digital literacy is deeper. Computer literacy is limited to what you can do with a computer beyond basic functions. Digital literacy, on the other hand, refers to the capacity with which a person can use technology effectively.
Digital literacy concerns itself with how well a person can think critically and independently about the best way to use digital platforms to achieve your goals, solve problems, and relate with other members of the digital community.
Computer Literacy Focus on the “How”
To be computer literate, you must understand all about how to use a computer. Some people only know how to use Microsoft suites on a computer. That alone, however, does not equate to computer literacy. You must know how to use and maintain a computer with all ramifications.
When it comes to digital literacy, the focus on ‘how’ is only a step towards digital literacy. Digital literacy also involves why, when, whom, time, purpose, response, and feedback. The ability to also adapt to different digital platforms and conditions is also a cogent aspect of digital literacy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to frequently asked questions about computer and digital literacy.
Computer literacy and digital literacy are highly important in our world today. Although different entities, they are both important skills everyone must-have. To be digitally inclined, computer literacy is a must-have. Similarly, digital skills are advantageous to learning about computer literacy.
There is a huge and clear difference between computer literacy and digital literacy. Computer literacy is the ability of a person to understand a computer and perform different functions on a computer. Digital literacy, however, refers to one’s ability to interpret situations in the digital space, and leverage digital platforms to achieve personal and community goals and objectives.
Literacy can be advanced knowledge in any subject/field. Digital literacy is a subset of literacy that focuses on the ability of individuals to recognize and utilize digital tools to create awareness, opportunities, and a means for expression.
Summary Computer Literacy vs Digital Literacy
Becoming a computer and digital literate is compulsory in today’s world. Teachers should also endeavor that they train their students to become both computer and digital literacy.
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