What is the difference between Computer Science and Computer Literacy?

Computer Literacy refers to the competent use of computer software and hardware.  Computer literate individuals can effectively use technology to gather, share, and collaborate over information. They are consumers and users of technology.  A student who can create a presentation utilizing a word processor, digital slides, and video could be considered computer literate.

Examples of Computer Literacy:

  • Operating a computer, tablet, or smartphone
  • Creating a presentation using a word processor, slides, etc
  • Completing an internet search (retrieve data)

Computer Science is focused on understanding how computer technologies work, creating new technological innovations, and contemplating the societal impact of technology.

Computer Science is “the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their [implementation], and their impact on society” (Tucker et. al, 2003, p. 6).  

Examples of Computer Science: The study of computers, computational thinking, hardware, software, and societal implications

  • Explaining how a computer works
  • Creating an application
  • Evaluating network security

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