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Computer literacy 3.0 Larry Press Cal State Dominguez Hills, CIS Department This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. Computer literacy generations follow platforms Today’s platform – the Internet Today’s students

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computer literacy 3 0
Computer literacy 3.0
  • Larry Press
  • Cal State Dominguez Hills, CIS Department

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

talk overview
Computer literacy generations follow platforms

Today’s platform – the Internet

Today’s students

Computer literacy 3.0 – which skills?

Computer literacy 3.0 – which concepts?

Talk overview
dartmouth time sharing 1964
Dartmouth Time Sharing, 1964

“The primary goal motivating our development of DTSS was the conviction that knowledge about computers and computing must become an essential part of a liberal education.”

Kemeny, John G., and Kurtz, T. E., "Dartmouth Time Sharing, “Science, Vol 162, No 3850, October 11, 1968, pp 223-228.

skills and concepts
Skills and concepts

“The average college graduate of today is almost sure to need a computer in his work twenty years from now. Therefore, we must prepare him today to use this most powerful of tools”.

“Even more significant is the need for changing the attitude of the typical intelligent person towards computers. ...It is vitally important that the leaders of government, industry and education should know both the potential and limitations of the use of computers, and to be aware of the respective roles of Man and machine in the partnership”.

John G. kemeney and Thomas E. Kurtz, “The Dartmouth Time-Sharing Computing System,” Final Report to the NSF), June 1967.

computer literacy 1
Computer literacy 1


  • Basic programming


  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Numeric and text data encoding
  • Applications
  • History and social implications
basic 1964 a teaching language
Basic, 1964 – a teaching language

“In all cases where there is a choice between simplicity and efficiency, simplicity is chosen”.

Kurtz, Thomas E., "BASIC" in Wexelblat, Richard L., "History of Programming Languages," Academic Press, New York, 1981.

first published basic program
First published BASIC program

10 LET X = (7+8) / 3


30 END

  • Statements all begin with verbs, making the imperative nature of the instructions explicit.

(BASIC manual, 1964)

algorithmic thinking in basic
Algorithmic thinking in BASIC

10 PRINT “Do you like me?”

20 INPUT x$

30 IF x$ = “yes” THEN 70

40 IF x$ = “Yes” THEN 70

50 PRINT “You are ugly!”


70 PRINT “I like you too!”

80 END

computer literacy 2 0
Computer literacy 2.0


  • OS and file system (CP/M, DOS)
  • Productivity applications (123, WordStar, WordPerfect, dBase)
  • A taste of BASIC


  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Applications
  • History and social implications
computer literacy 2 1
Computer literacy 2.1

Skill (increased)

  • Windows and its file system
  • Microsoft Office applications

Concepts (decreased)

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Applications
  • History and social implications
computer literacy 2 2 today
Computer literacy 2.2 (today)


  • Windows and its file system
  • Microsoft Office applications
  • Email and Web surfing

Concepts (decreased)

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Applications
  • History and social implications
  • Internet applications and technology
our students have grown up using the internet and mobile it
Our students have grown up using the Internet and mobile IT
  • Beloit College Mindshare list
  • Wesch’s “Vision of Students Today”
  • Cringely quote – over the top?
beloit college mindset list
Beloit College Mindset List


  • They are wireless, yet always connected.
  • “Google" has always been a verb.
  • Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
  • They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
  • Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.


  • Music has always been “unplugged.”
  • Thanks to MySpace and Facebook, autobiography can happen in real time.
  • Virtual reality has always been available when the real thing failed.
  • The World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were born.
  • They’re always texting 1 n other.

vision of students today
Vision of Students Today

Michael Wesch's video Vision of Students Today

some it related characteristics
Some IT-related characteristics
  • I spend 3 1/2 hours a day online.
  • I will write 42 pages for class this semester ... and over 500 pages of email
  • I will read 8 books this year ... and 2,300 Web pages and 1,281 FaceBook profiles.
  • I buy $100 textbooks that I never open.
  • I bring my laptop to class, but I'm not working on class stuff.
  • I FaceBook through most of my classes.
  • This laptop costs more than some people in the world make in a year.
cringely quote
Cringely quote

We've reached the point in our (disparate) cultural adaptation to computing and communication technology that the younger technical generations are so empowered they are impatient and ready to jettison institutions most of the rest of us tend to think of as essential, central, even immortal. They are ready to dump our schools. (my emphasis)

R. Cringley, War of the Worlds: The Human Side of Moore's Law, March 21, 2008, See also : and

computer literacy 3 027
Computer literacy 3.0


  • Content creation
  • Application development

Concepts (new)

  • Networking and communication technology
  • Policy and implications
skills create content and applications
Skills – create content and applications
  • Concise, often collaborative writing using wikis and shared documents
  • Image, audio and video editing
  • RSS
  • Social bookmarking with tags
  • Synchronous collaboration using voice and video conferencing, chat and screen sharing
  • Blogs
  • Threaded discussions
  • Social networks
  • Data and service mashups
writing a content creation skill
Writing, a content creation skill

I will write 42 pages for class this semester ...

and over 500 pages of email. (Student quote).

  • Conversations
  • Short documents
  • Collaborative writing

Winograd’s taxonomy covers much Internet writing:

  • Conversations for action: a request or offer which is subsequently confirmed or dropped
  • Conversations for clarification: obtaining more information about something said earlier or in a prior conversation
  • Conversations for possibilities: creating ideas and selecting one or more for future discussion
  • Conversations for orientation: exchanging information about themselves or a situation (bilateral or unilateral)
short documents
Short documents

I would not have made this so long except that I do not have the leisure to make it shorter, Blaise Pascal, 1656.

Tips from Jakob Nielsen’s Alert Box blog:

  • Blog posts
  • Web pages
  • Books must be read as deliberately and reservedely as they were written, Thoreau, Walden, 1854
  • People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences. How Users Read on the Web, Jakob Nielsen,1997
collaborative writing
Collaborative writing
  • Wikis, shared documents, blogs
  • Compiled documents
    • Relatively simple
    • A good way to begin
  • Co-authored documents – difficult
    • Organize off line?
    • Lead author does first draft?
    • Lead author creates outline?
skills application development
Skills: application development
  • The Internet is the “new spreadsheet”
  • The spreadsheet made many users into amateur application developers
  • The Internet has lowered the application development bar much further
  • Can create ad-hoc applications – a blog, social network, threaded discussion, Web site, etc. in a few minutes
  • Class roster example …
features using zoho and asp
Features using Zoho and ASP
  • View as list, spreadsheet or summary
  • Add, delete, and edit records
  • Create an RSS feed showing database changes
  • Search and sort
  • Rearrange, hide or display columns
  • Import data from xls, csv, tsv or email
  • Export as spreadsheet, csv, pdf, json, tsv or html
  • Create permalink to data entry form
  • Include data entry form in your Web site
  • Create permalink to the database or embed any view of the database in your Web site
develop and debug class roster
Develop and debug class roster


  • Four screens and plan transitions between them
  • 159 lines of script code (includes comments)
  • Six files
  • Some knowledge of ASP, Visual Basic, and SQL
  • One day (less if I were a pro)


  • One hour
concepts networking technology
Concepts: networking technology
  • Accelerating improvement in communication, storage and electronic technology
  • Data types -- numbers, text, images, audio, and video
  • Data encoding and compression
  • Analog versus digital data
  • Circuit versus packet switching and the rudiments of layered protocols (at least application versus the rest)
  • Internet connectivity from fixed (home and organization) and mobile and portable locations
  • Rudiments of wireless technology -- transmission frequency, attenuation, modulation
  • Client-server and mashup architecture
  • Software as a service (for users and developers)
concepts implications
Concepts: implications
  • Implications for individuals
  • Implications for organizations
  • Implications for society
  • The global diffusion of the Internet
  • Telecommunication policy
computer literacy 4 0
Computer literacy 4.0?
  • 1.0 Time sharing
  • 2.0 Personal computer
  • 3.0 Internet
  • 4.0 Mobile Internet?
open questions
Open questions
  • What skills should be included in computer literacy 3.0?
  • What concepts should be included in computer literacy 3.0?
  • Who is developing courses that teach these skills and concepts?
  • Should we teach computer literacy as a stand alone course or disperse it throughout the curriculum?
  • Does computer literacy require two full courses?
  • Should all students take the same computer literacy course or should there be different versions?
  • Is the term computer literacy too narrow?

Blog the answers at:

which skills and concepts
Which skills and concepts?
  • Applications and the concepts they illustrate (Edit)
  • List of skills and concepts (Edit)
follow up links
Follow up links
  • Email:
  • Web site:
  • Class notes and exercises:
  • Blog:
  • Computer literacy 3 blog:

  • Annotated version of this presentation:

  • Google doc spreadsheet concepts vs applications
  • Google doc spreadsheet concepts and skills