Importance of Computer Literacy Computer literacy is having up to date knowledge of computers and their capabilities. One of the more popular aspects of the computer is the use of the internet. The internet is a worldwide collection of networks that links millions of businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, and individuals. It was originally started by the Pentagon for scientists and military to put information and their studies on a network that was easily shared with one another.
They also designed it so it could function even when part of the network is disabled by a terrorist attack or natural disaster. The servers allow connection between other computers by linking it to its network, to allow clients to communicate. Today, there is no one controller or person in charge of the internet, it is publicly accessed, but there are major corporations that oversee everything. Knowing how computers and the internet function together is very important.
A computer is an electronic device, functioning under the control of directions stored in its own memory, which can admit data according to specified guidelines, produce results, and store the results for future use. The main purpose of a computer is to process data into information, or output, that people can understand. Data, or input, is a collection of unprocessed items, which include text, numbers, images, audio, and video. The series of input, output, storage activities, communication actions, and system unit are part of the information processing cycle.
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In order to complete these functions there are many electrical and mechanical components in a computer called hardware. One advantage of all these components is that they are very reliable and rarely break and need replacing. First there is the input device, which is any hardware component that allows you to enter data and commands into a computer. The advantage of input is that it is consistent, whatever it is given it will produce the same results during the output. Five commonly used input devices are the keyboard, mouse, microphone, scanner, and web cam.
Next, there is the output device, which is any hardware component that conveys information to one or more people such as a printer, monitor, and speakers. Then, the system unit is a case that holds the electronic mechanisms of the computer that are used to route data. The system unit is linked to a circuit board called the motherboard. The two main components of the motherboard are the processor and memory. The processor, also known as the CPU (central processing unit) is the electrical component that interprets and carries out the basic instructions that operate the computer.
Memory consists of electronic components that store instructions waiting to be executed and data needed by those instructions. One of the main advantages of the computer is its speed. When data flows through the circuits it is moving incredibly fast, processing billions and trillions of operations in a single second. Next, the storage device is used to hold data, instructions, and information for future use. A computer keeps these on storage media like memory cards or USB flash drives. A storage device records and retrieves items to and from the storage media.
The storage availability on a computer is a huge benefit because you can store enormous amounts of data and process it anytime. Finally, a communication device is a hardware component that enables a computer to transmit and receive data, instructions, and information to from one or more computers or mobile devices. This is highly beneficial considering most computers today communicate with each other. This capability allows computers to share their processing life cycles with other people.
The completion and understanding of the information processing life cycle of computers allows users to access so much more information than previous generations. Just owning a computer is still limiting its capabilities if you are not using the internet though. In Bill Gates’ The Road Ahead, he discusses how the internet is an “information highway” and that there is lots of materials out there, but you use filters to help you find what you need. The internet is like also like a highway because the information that you request passes through many networks until it reaches you.
First, the computer initiates a request of data specific to the IP (internet protocol) address currently in use, then transfers that request through the modem to the central cable system, that proceeds to an even larger central cable system. The ISP routes your request to the appropriate destination server. Finally, the server receives your request and responds. This all happens within a few seconds depending on how fast your internet is. In order to use the internet you will need a web browser. A web browser is application software that connects mobile devices or computers to the internet.
Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Google Chrome are some the most popular web browsers. Once the web browser is set up, you are able to set a home page, or the website that will appear every time you open your browser. It is most common to have your homepage setting to a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. A search engine is a program that finds websites, webpages, videos, and news that is related to a key word or subject. When the search engine finds the results it provides hyperlinks and short descriptions about the webpages related to your search.
Gates compares these filters to using a library catalog (Gates, 1995). This makes navigating the internet very simple and easy to use to help from too much information piling up on you. When using computers and the internet, it would also be beneficial to apply application software. Application software consists of programs made specifically to make people more productive. It also assists with personal tasks. It is designed to make business activities more efficient, help with graphics and multimedia projects, to support home, personal, and educational duties, and to facilitate communication.
One of the more popular uses of the computer is the easily navigated communication software. E-mailing is very popular among schools and businesses as a way to relay information. Texts, pictures, and video messages can all be transferred wirelessly from mobile devices to computers to share. Video conferencing helps meetings between geographically separated people. Nick Wingfield, a reporter for the New York Times posted a video talking about Microsoft’s buy out of Skype and was discussing the company’s direction.
He talked about how they are trying to make a business platform for Skype conference calls on Windows 8 (Wingfield, 2012). This would be great and could possibly change how the working world does business. A lot of people are able to work from home through e-mail or conference calls, but if Skype comes out with something specifically for distance meetings this could cut out the need to go to the office all together for some businesses. This would mean saving time and gas on driving, more family interaction, and companies could save money on office space.
If everyone worked from home location wouldn’t even matter, cost of living would go down in places like New York and D. C. My brother is already allowed to do this as a patent examiner for the US government and only has to fly in from Michigan to DC when certain clients want to see him. I think businesses will slowly move more towards using this application software more heavily in the future. I don’t see how getting information faster and more effective could be bad at all. By browsing the internet with easy use of search engines we will be able to learn more and faster and wasting less time looking.
Some people may be afraid of the advances in computers like NPR’s Chris Arnold talked about “The race against the machine” and how super computers like Jeopardy’s WATSON can do the research of 500 lawyers at once (Arnold, 2011). Yes, this may take away the need for lawyers because computers make research easier, but technology constantly being upgraded and increasing in households jobs will be made up in the field of computer science. The fact that more and more jobs will be created for computer scientist or at least involve using computer technologies is why being computer literate is so important.
Overall, I believe that computers are only improving society and breaking boundaries between nations. We are able to receive and understand information faster than ever before. Generation Y spends most of their time on the online through computers, smart phones, or video games. I think it should be mandatory that grade schools and high schools teach basic computer classes, and that college should require an elementary computer science class as well. This is because the modern world is one that relies on technological communication and work skills so to not have them is no longer feasible.
Works Cited Arnold, C. (2011, November 13). How technology is eliminating higher skilled jobs. NPR Podcast. Podcast retrieved from http://www. npr. org/2011/11/03/141949820/how-technology-is-eliminating-higher-skill-jobs Gates, B. , Myhrvold, N. , & Rinearson, P. (1995). The road ahead: Completely revised and up to date. New York, NY. Penguin Group. Wingfield, N. (Reporter). New York Times (Producer). (2012, May 29). Interview conducted over skype. Video: Microsoft and skype. Video retrieved from http://bits. blogs. nytimes. com/2012/05/29/video-microsoft-and-skype/
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