Background of the Study
Computer versatility transformed our education from traditional face-to-face instruction into interactive classrooms. Since the 1960s, microcomputers have encompassed human beings in nearly every way possible. People moved from the physically driven Industrial Age into a computer-based society, the Information Age (Beekman, 2005). Computer technology has been integrated into school curriculums and its wide spread use had led to major school reform and restructuring. In this Information Age, computer technology became an essential part of every classroom. The educational system was struggling to revamp instructional goals and methods, in preparation for the complex demands of life in the technology-drive world (SCANS Report, 1992). Since technology has been widely used in education for many years, it has been shown to be effective and proficient. Many people, consequently, assumed that the effectiveness of computer use in the classroom would enhance teaching and learning (Capron & Johnson 2004). With the growing needs of our society, more people were using computer technology. Computers and networks were transforming our society hastily and irreversibly. Jobs that existed today were eliminated by computerization while new careers were introduced by technology emergence (Beekman, 2005).
A technology breakthrough has led to a technological change; therefore, we can expect increasing changes to continue. Computer literacy has been defined as the ability to use computers and related technology. Since computers were versatile, there was no single set of skills that allowed people to become computer literate. Papert (1980) stated that, “In my vision, the child programs the computer and, in doing so, both requires a sense of mastery over a piece of the most modern and powerful technology established an intimate contact with some of the deepest ideas from science, from mathematics, and from the art of intellectual model building” (p. 5). Understanding computer skills and concepts allowed people to encounter technology use with ease. Development of computer technology has shaded our education and is commonly used in nearly every classroom today. The intense use of computer technology for instruction began between 1960 to 1975 (Roblyer, 1992) and transformed the teacher’s role.
The growth of computer technology use in instruction has increased. Although many application programs use the software tools that allowed students to use a computer for specific purposes, many applications were too specialized and technical to be used except in a specific field (i.e., in science, government, business, and art) (Beekman, 2005).
Computer literacy was a term defined by Luehrmann (1981), who originally believed that “computer literacy was equivalent to programming skills and use of [computer software] such as word processing.” Later, the term was expanded to cover a variety of computer skills. There were many professional groups attempting to define what computer competency standards and other literacy skills should be included in such standards (Capron & Johnson, 2004)
With the computer literacy concept, most educators were dissatisfied as the definition made it difficult for educators to offer specific courses that responded to the demands of students, business, and industry. In addition, some people believed that students could achieve computer literacy simply by using computer resources offered around schools and elsewhere (Capron & Johnson, 2004). Even though the literature on educational technology was full of growing promises of dramatic and meaningful improvements to classroom activities and outcomes, the existence of technology was not an automatic guarantee of improved education.
Statement of the Problem
One of the most important and sought after skills in the workplace has become computer competency and information literacy skills (SCANS, 1991), UNESCO Meta-survey on the Use of Technologies in Education (UNESCO, 2003), and The National Academy of Sciences (1999). Computers have played a significant role in many academic programs and careers, and students who possessed computer skills and knowledge were more likely to be successful in the workplace (Ferrante et al., 1988). In order to be more competitive in the global market, many businesses recognized the importance of technology, communications, media and interaction across national boundaries. International marketing has become more complicated (Douglas, 2000).