What is Computing?

It is very easy to get a misunderstand the word computing when it has more than one meaning;

Computing (kuh m-pyoot-ing)

verb (used with object), computed, computing.
  1. verb – to determine by calculation; reckon; calculate: e.g. to compute the period of Jupiter’s revolution.’
  2. verb – to determine by using a computer or calculator.
  3. verb– Informal. to make sense; add up: e.g. ‘His reasons for doing that just don’t compute.’
Computationnoun – e.g. ‘Outer space that is vast beyond compute.’
Latin computāre,equivalent to com + putāre to think; (noun) late Middle English < Middle French < Late Latin computus calculation, number, noun derivative of computāre;
(courtesy of dictionary.com)

So computing as a term existed before the computer. It is the very process of thinking about a solution as well as (in the modern day language) the study of the computer itself and the use of the computer. This gives it at least 3 chances of being misinterpreted.
In Computing in schools then we need to make sure that we consider all three aspects when drawing up a curriculum. Sometimes there is a tendency to think of computing as being ‘just programming’ or ‘just about computers’ and the process of involving computers is so much more; more akin to the process of problem solving that goes into basic solution of engineering problems (as found in the coursework elements of ICT/Computing or the Technology syllabus).
So next time you find yourself wondering ‘What is computing?’ Try asking instead the question ‘Why do I need a computer?’

What is Digital Literacy?

Digital literacy has been called the fourth literacy. Reading, writing and mathematics are the cornerstone of being literate, literacy now is not complete unless someone is not capable of accessing and creating digital information. Therefore it is important to talk about digital literacy in education and e-learning.

As a teacher we must prepare students for the world that they are in and the one that they will be part of when they leave school. This means inspiring them to have experience of and be able to select the correct tools in carrying out tasks related to communicating and handling data for a purpose. This is at the heart of digital literacy.

Specific examples of digital literacy:

  • Use of basic word processing and desktop publishing packages.
  • Collating data from the internet.
  • Taking pictures and using them in a presentation.
  • Describing the use of technology for financial transactions.

Socially, as well as academically, their future calls for technological knowledge and digital skills, as an increasing number of our daily-life activities are executed with web based tools.

Sometimes we assume that teachers are digital immigrants and students are digital natives, recently though we are becoming more aware that the increased choice of tools and technology means that most students are perplexed about how to make use of basic tools.

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