Jarrod Cook

Professor Liliana Naydan

English 15, Section 15

9 September 2004

Computer Literacy

††††††††††† Computer Literacy is a relatively new type of literacy that has come about in the later part of the twentieth century.Todayís children are surrounded by technology and it is almost impossible for them to grow up without knowing anything about it.I grew up surrounded by technology and as I grew up I became more and more interested in it.In todayís technological society it is easy to find computer access somewhere in almost every town.I took the initiative and learned what I could about computers because they interested me.Now that I am in college I am glad I took the time to learn these things because they assist me everyday.I now use my computer at least once every day to get important messages, do homework, help me study, and communicate with others.Computer literacy allows these tasks to be completed with little trouble and greatly lessens the time it takes to get my work done.This provides me with more free time to spend on what I want to do instead of on work.

††††††††††† The first interest I had in technology was my first video game system when I was around five.I didnít realize it at the time but this was my first real insight into the world of technology.The more I used the system the more I became acquainted with how it functioned.I learned that data could be read from the cartridges and examined by the system.Input was accepted from the remote controls and also analyzed by the system.An image was then sent through a wire and portrayed on the television screen.It amazed me how these small boxes could do all this work.I played many video games when I was younger and I believe this was a big step towards computer literacy.

††††††††††† As I progressed through grade school so did the technology and we were soon required to spend a half an hour a week in a computer lab as a class.We used this time to play educational games such as Oregon Trail, Odell Lake, and Number Munchers.This was the schoolís way of getting us acquainted with these systems.In fifth grade everyone was assigned days when they were to set up the computer lab for the younger classes.This meant going over and putting in the correct disks and starting up the systems.It was a simple task but it allowed us to become further acquainted with the systems.Throughout grade school the systems amazed me and I spent much of my free time in computer labs using them.By the time I entered middle school I had a deep interest in computers and this laid the stage for selecting the appropriate courses in middle and high school.

††††††††††† In middle school I took many courses that showed me how to use a computers effectively.I took keyboarding courses that helped me to get my work done many times faster than I could have with pen and paper or my old style of typing.I also took a business and career course, which involved the use of many computer utilities to research careers.We were familiarized with common office programs and composed resumes, business cards, slideshows, and more.The internet also played a key role in this course because we used it to research many career options.This opened a whole new world to me; there was an unbelievable amount of information on the Internet all accessible from a computer.I began to spend more and more time on a computer and usually learned something new every time.This is also the year that my family purchased a personal computer.From this point my literacy in computing really began to take off.

††††††††††† Now that I had a computer at home I had much more access to it and to the Internet.It did not take me long to discover that the best source of information for furthering my computer knowledge was the Internet.I began to read many articles over the Internet on various computer topics.I soon understand the basic principles of how the computer functioned and I then began to focus my research on another topic, programming.When you write a program you tell a computer what to do, so in a sense this is how you talk to a computer.Computers are mathematical devices so they donít talk in words but in numbers primarily zeros and ones.Programming in zeros and ones is known as binary programming and can be extremely difficult.For this reason several simpler languages were developed that could also be used to communicate with the system.I first focused on learning the basics of theses simple languages, so that I was able to understand the basic concepts of programming.I did encounter some problems that I was not able to solve on my own, but in high school I had some courses that changed that.

††††††††††† My High school offers two computer-programming classes, one focuses on applications and one on the web.The first programming course I took taught me how to program in BASIC, a recommended language for beginners in programming.I soon became relatively proficient with the language and was able to instruct the system with ease.This language allowed me to effectively communicate with the system when I wanted it to perform simple tasks but for performing more complicated ones I needed to develop my literacy further to communicate at higher level.I began researching other languages, mainly C++, so that I could instruct the computer more effectively.My interests continued to stay focused on this topic until I had a second programming course on making websites.

††††††††††† Developing websites soon became a main part of my life for the remaining three years of high school and still is to this day.In order to develop media for the web I once again had to learn a whole new language in which to communicate with the computer.This was much different than the languages I had previously learned because now this file would have to be read and understood by many systems.This means I had to code pages that could be understood by old computers as well as new ones and be displayed the same way.I always thought of it as running an election campaign because you have to appeal to as many people as possible.In this way I developed my pages to work on as many different browsers and computers as possible, but like in an election I could not win them all.The web design course was split into two sections, the first section being an introduction and the second going into more advanced scripting.After the first half summer break began and since I was still to young to get a job I had plenty of free time to advance my literacy.

††††††††††† Over the summer I researched several languages that could be used to make web pages and by the time I got back to school I had a thorough understanding of them.During the second half of the web-programming course the instructor realized I already knew how to do most of the things we were being taught.I was soon given many different tasks and responsibilities because of my knowledge.For the remaining years of high school I spent much of my time in this room before, during, and after school.I redesigned the entire district web site applying many of the concepts I learned to make it easier to use and update, while at the same time looking nice.Developing pages and maintaining servers soon became just a part of my everyday life.I was an intern for this teacher my senior year and was soon given many more responsibilities.I often installed upgrades on teachers systems and even assisted in teaching courses during his absence.

††††††††††† Being computer literate has helped me throughout my life in many ways.I have an easier time completing assignments and revising them.I can present topics in a more professional manner using a computer.It also allows me to communicate faster and easier than before and to reach a wider audience.I continue to work on web pages almost daily and can often fix my own computer problems.It saves me money by knowing how to install my own hardware and set things up.It also appeals to my interests and provides with an option for a better career.Choosing to learn how a computer works and how to use one is one of the wisest decisions I have made.