7.1. Some Specific Tools

Advances in computer technology have been increasing the range of media that can be easily created and manipulated by everyday personal computers. The explosion in the ability and desire to share "user-created content" is giving more people reasons to use these tools. This is an essay I started in the spring of 2008, but haven't published as of this writing, about the specific computer tools that should be commonly learned.

The New Computer Literacy

I feel very strongly that being able to do video (and of course photo) editing is now part of what it means to be computer literate, just as knowing how to use word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation graphics have been for the last decade (and are now part of K-12 curricula).

What does it mean to be computer literate? How has that changed over the years?

First, let's look at what it means to be literate.

Normally, being "literate" means being able to read and to some extent write. But it is more than that. Being able to read one poem or book, or fill out one type of form, does not make you literate. Being literate means that you are able to read (and write) a wide range of material, most importantly material that you have not encountered before. The whole point of literacy is that you have a general skill that lets you work with an unlimited variety of new situations.

Being literate is more than just the skills to translate between marks on a page and sounds or concepts. Being literate also includes ...

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