Literacy Project Final Draft

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    Cooper 1

    Jefferson Cooper

    Ms. Rand

    English 1103 02

    September 25, 2013

    Evolution of My Digital Literacy

    While my father jokingly called it a toilet bowl seat, most called it a clamshell. It was

    made of gray and blue plastic and had a small retractable handle along the hinge that made

    it easy to carry. The most noticeable aspect of it, however, was the illuminated Apple logo

    on the back. The laptop was an iBook G3, and though I did not know its name or

    specifications back then, it is the first electronic device I can remember using.

    I did not use the iBook for much, as it was my dads work computer. However, the

    one thing I did use it for was to play a game called Bugdom. The game featured a character

    called Rollie who was a rollie pollie in his home land of Bugdom. You played as Rollie to

    fight off bees and other insects to overthrow King Thorax, thereby reclaiming Bugdom and

    restoring it to its former glory. I can distinctly remember playing this game in our blue Ford

    Expedition as my family traveled to camping trips for our vacations. As a mere six year old,

    I did not know anything about computers, but I knew that I loved playing Bugdom and that

    this machine allowed me to do that. It would be the start of my quest for digital literacy.

    It is my opinion thatliteracy is the ability to be competent and thrive in a certain

    area. Most of the time, people connect literacy to reading and writing, but literacy can take

    many forms. For example,you can be literate in dance, mathematics, surfing or driving a

    vehicle. In this case, playing Bugdom opened the door for me to start becoming literate

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    with technology. Though I was only a passive user and was just beginning to generate

    literacy, I could tell I was gaining a passion for it.

    A year later after playing Bugdom,I was sitting on the thin-carpeted floor of the cold

    computer lab room of my elementary school in Clemson, South Carolina. Clemson is a very

    small town, and Clemson Elementary was a brand-new school that served the entire

    county. While I was there, the school was rebuilt and given state-of-the-art supplies that

    included a new computer lab with all new computers. Sitting there on the floor with my

    classmates listening to the computer lab teacher talk about software, hardware, and floppy

    disks was my first real exposure to what computers were really all about. After she talked

    for a while, my classmates and I would find a computer and play games that were designed

    to teach us the basics of computer technology. For example,a game might include a

    simulation where we would have to identify the locations of keys on a keyboard in a certain

    order. In other cases, we would have to take components of the computer such as the

    monitor, mouse, operating system, and programs and sort them into groups of hardware

    and software. I carried this additional knowledgeand digital literacywith me all the way

    into middle school where I would put it to good use.

    I foundthis opportunity in the seventh grade whenI had a wonderful English

    teacher named Mrs. Hodges. She was a short lady who wore glasses, sported short brown

    hair, and was the womens basketball coach. Her class was challenging, but looking back I

    can say that it was one of the best English classes I have ever had. She gave us many

    assignments and projects throughout the year, but the one I enjoyed the most was a project

    that involved creating a video with Windows Movie Maker. We were given video cameras

    to capture videos and still pictures, and then were expected to upload these multimedia

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    files to the computer, add voice-over commentary, and finally present our videos to the

    class. We spent countless hours in the library working on the computer to complete our

    projects, and while it took my classmates several days to finish editing their movies, I

    finished mine in just a few hours.With all of this extra time, I went deeper and deeper into

    my movie, changing things and making it even more spectacular. All of this additional work

    helped me realize that being creative and making exceptional videos on the computer was

    easy and fun. It seemed to come naturally to me,and I realized that my literacy level with

    computers was expanding at an astonishingrate.

    Near the end of the assignment, as we were working in the library, the schools

    librarian, Mrs. Below, approached Mrs. Hodges and asked if anyone who was good at Movie

    Maker would be interested in producing the Mustang Newsfor the following year. The

    Mustang Newswas theweekly news programthat my school produced every week. It

    consisted of an anchor that would tell the headlines of what was happening throughout the

    week while photos or videos of those events flashed on a screen. I had really enjoyed

    working with Movie Maker, so when Mrs. Below asked the question to Mrs. Hodges, I

    quickly blurted out, IM GOOD WITH MOVIE MAKER!

    On the first day of school the following year, I would begin my term as the Mustang

    News anchor. I would spend an elective period, forty-five minutes, every day in the

    newsroom working on that weeks edition. During this time I would let my imagination run

    wild withall of the special effects and graphics that could be added to the news with the

    help of the computer. Eventually, forty-five minutes a day would not be enough time for me

    to complete everything I wanted to for the news, so I began taking my lunch to the

    newsroom and spending more time searching for ways to improve the episode. All of that

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    time and exposure with the computer allowed me to build literacyof software and

    hardware, as well as begin to refine my skills working with a computer.

    At this point, my literacy level had increased from simply being a passive user to

    being an active producer with technology. I suddenly was using the computer to

    accomplish heavy tasks and output a quality product. This was a huge step in the formation

    of my digital literacy because the vast majority of people only have the ability to be a

    passive user. Almost anyone can play a video game, make a call on their cell phone or look

    up something online. I had now graduated from this stage and moved to a level that fewer

    people had reached.

    As my skills continued to improve, I began to grow fascinated with Apple devices. It

    was June of 2007 when the first iPhone hit the market, and I was amazed at the

    revolutionary things it was able to do. I wanted one so badly that I would sit on the

    computer at home for hours and research them. I watched videos, read manuals, and

    studied reviews countless times. Each year when a new one was released I watched the

    product announcement as soon as it was online. This trend spread to other Apple

    electronics too. I studied Macs, iPods, and iPads. I had become an expert in Apple and could

    have, without a doubt, taught the Apple Store employees a thing or two. I loved Apple so

    much, that for Christmas one year my grandparents bought me a share of Apple stock.

    My friends soon learned that I was fluent in not only Apple products, but in

    computers in general. In high school I began getting constant calls and text messages

    concerning computer problems. How do I print multiple slides on one page? How do I

    make my phone show the battery percentage? What is iCloud? Can you transfer my

    iTunes library to my new computer? These questions were simple and easy for me to

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    answer with all of my acquired computer literacy,and I was more than happy to help

    whenever I could. I was excited to now have this newfound persona of local computer

    expert.I was starting to troubleshoot more difficult tasks like upgrading our homes Wi-Fi

    network and removing tricky viruses from peoples computers. At this point I had moved to

    a literacy level of teaching. No longer was I only producing for myself, but I was helping and

    teaching others how to do the same.

    My troubleshooting skills only improved when I took a Computer Engineering

    Technology class during mylast two years of high school. Our teacher was a younger man,

    whomI thoroughly respect. He took us on several trips and to many conferences. He cared

    deeply for his students and had a true passion for teaching. He wrote me several

    recommendation letters that got me several interviews for big college scholarships. It was

    his class that taught me the most about computers. I learned how the internal parts of the

    computer work. In his class we worked in pairs and I got a chance to build a computer from

    mere parts. It was this class that finally made me decide that I wanted to become a

    computer engineer. major in computer engineering at UNC Charlotte.

    My digital literacy has progressed quickly over the years. It started on the level of

    just a simple, passive user. When I invested the time to improvemy skills with technology

    and computers,INow I am here at Charlotte, in the challenging major of computer

    engineering. Often I think I may not be cut out for all the work that engineering majors

    have to go through, but then I think back to the co