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computer literacy

<education> Basic skill in use of computers, from the perspective of such skill being a necessary societal skill.

The term was coined by Andrew Molnar, while director of the Office of Computing Activities at the National Science Foundation.

"We started computer literacy in '72 [...] We coined that phrase. It's sort of ironic. Nobody knows what computer literacy is. Nobody can define it. And the reason we selected [it] was because nobody could define it, and [...] it was a broad enough term that you could get all of these programs together under one roof" (cited in Aspray, W., (September 25, 1991) "Interview with Andrew Molnar," OH 234. Center for the History of Information Processing, Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota).

The term, as a coinage, is similar to earlier coinages, such as "visual literacy", which Merriam-Webster dates to 1971, and the more recent "media literacy".

(1998-09-07)


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