Computerliteracy Essay, Research Paper
Having computer literacy is necessary for students in their studies because of the wildly use of computer in schools and libraries. However, the emphasis on computer literacy varies among different countries or regions. In order to have a better perspective, this study investigated computer literacy skills and notions perceived by fifty international students who came from different region of Asia. Although there appeared to be variations in the importance of computer literacy among different counties in Asia, the result of this study showed that the students from South Asia had more skills on computer hardware and computer programming than the students from South Asia.
As computer information systems are being used at an increasing rate in all over the world and covering all areas in our society, attaining computer literacy has become a necessity for international students. The substantial growth in information systems and the growing need for computer literacy for personnel has presented a tremendous challenge to international students. In order to deal with the computer information age and compete in the job market in the future, students must attain a certain extent of computer literacy.
However, how much computer knowledge and skills a student should have? The UTC (The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 1998) stated that to attain an acceptable basic computer literacy, students should be competent in the following areas:
+ Ability to interact productively with a computer
+ Ability to use the internet
+ Ability to use a word processing program
+ Ability to use a spreadsheet
+ Ability to use a database
+ Ability to use presentation software
+ Know the basic structure and organization of a computer
+ Appreciate the ethical issues in computing
The UTC described eight basic requirements and presented a practical way to evaluate computer literacy of non-computer majors because it is not reasonable to expect non-computer majors to have a complete range of computer knowledge and skills. Obviously, the eight abilities mentioned above are not enough for the students of computer-related major. According to Kim, C.S. & Keith, N.K. (1994), an individual who is able to use computer to satisfy personal needs in his professional area is computer literacy. They gave a more practical way of defining computer literacy applied to different discipline areas.
Numerous existing research in computer literacy have focused on the definition of the term computer literacy and the utilization of computer in education or other areas. Harvey, B. (1983) indicated basic concepts for computer literacy while study by Reid, I. (1997) indicated an ongoing need for computer literacy in teaching. However, there has been little research on comparison of students computer literacy among different nationalities or regions.
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine and compare the students computer literacy among different nationalities and regions. More specifically, the study examines the importance of computer literacy as perceived by students and how much computer-related skills they have.
The survey was conducted in the Australian Center for Languages. Fifty international students from Asian countries (P. R. China, Thailand, Vietnam and Korea) participated in the survey. Table 1 illustrates the characteristics of the sample.
As indicate in Table 1, the majority of students came from P. R. China (27) and Thai the second (13). Vietnam and Taiwan both have 3 students; Korea has 4. Most students were between 21to 25 years of age or older, no student was under 20. Fifty percent of students were females.
The fifty students were divided into two groups, a North Asia group (including North China and Korea) and a South Asia group (including Thailand, Vietnam, South China and Taiwan). In each group, students were only from academic level of the school, they were asked to answer eight revised questions related to computer. The questionnaire was piloted among students of diploma level and then amended further where necessary. Follow-up interviews with the other academic students constituted the final phase in preparation of the questionnaire.
The questionnaire consists of two sections: (1) respondent demographic information and (2) a series of options that correspond with their computer-related skills. In section (2) of the questionnaire, students were required to choose one or more than one option according to their situation.
In answering the question Do you own a computer? Students responses were as follow (Fig.1):
More than a half of North Asian students said they have their own computers while 48% of South Asian students said Yes, I have There is just a slight difference between the positive and the negative responses.
When asked, How much do you spend on computer per month? students responded as shown in Figure 2.
As noted above, there is a clear trend that South Asian students would like to spend more money on using computer than North Asian students. In addition, no one wanted to spend over 50 dollars per month on it.
When asked the question, How often do you use computer? students responses were as follow (Fig.3):
It is noticeable that North Asian students and South Asian students have similar profile. More than 50% students are frequent computer users, they used computer almost everyday.
When asked, How often do you access to the internet? students responded as shown in Figure 4.
No students had not accessed to the internet while South Asian students seemed that they accessed to the internet more frequent than North Asian students. More than a half South Asian students accessed to the internet everyday, but only 36% of North Asian students did.
In answering the question, What do you usually do through computer? students responded as shown in Figure 5.
The use of email and internet were the most popular things they usually do through computer. Entertainment and study was the second. Banking was new to many students so no one chose this option.
When asked, What kinds of software do you often use? students responses could be categorized in Table 2.
Table 2 compared the familiarity of computer language and application program by students. It is apparent that North Asian students were more familiar with the use of application program than South Asian students, such as the use of word processing, image editing, internet phone, ftp and email. On the other hand, South Asian students had more knowledge about computer language and programming, such as the use of FrontPage, flash, visual+, visual++, java, database, dream waver and visual basic. The similar result can be obtained from another responses in Table 3.
Results for the students having computer hardware knowledge are given in Table 4.
Table 4 indicated that North Asian students didn t have as much computer hardware knowledge as South Asian students even more North Asian students had experienced in assembling or repairing computer.
The purpose of this study was to find out whether students from North Asia have greater computer literacy than students from South Asia. The findings, however, go against the hypothesis. South Asian students generally had more knowledge and skills about computer hardware and computer programming than North Asian students. One possible explanation is that a main part of North Asian sample was from P. R. China (over 80%) and most school in China have limited resources in terms of budget, faculty, computer equipment and the number of computer course offering. On the other hand, North Asian students seemed to have the upper hand on the ability of using application programs. It is probably that application programs are becoming more prevalent in North Asia.
This study has taken a step in the comparison of computer literacy between North Asian students and South Asian students. However, because the number of sample was too small, it would be beneficial to replicate this study on larger populations. In addition, the questionnaire in this research could be improved further to make it more easily to compare and analyze. It is recommend that further study could be more interesting if focus on different gender, a comparison of computer literacy between female and male.
Durndell,A & Lightbody,P. (1992). Gender and Computing: Change Over Time? Pergamon Press Ltd.
Kibby, M. R. & Heller R. S. (1993). Computer & Education. Pergamon Press Ltd.
Mclennan,W.(1998). Household use of information technology. In A.B.C. P15-27
Pajitnov,A. (1993) Introducing Computers: Concept systems and applications. Canada: John Wiley & Son, INC.
Rehage, K.(1986) Micro Computer & Education. U.S.A.: The national society for the study of education.
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