I recently read Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and it was a revelation. I suddenly realised that I am illiterate. “How’s that?” You ask,”you’re a literacy specialist You read and write all the time,you use the computer all the time for work,of course you’re literate.” Not so! I’m talking about computer literacy. Quelle horreur! I was brought up in an age when literacy was so important. Being able to read and write effectively was the basis of my education and books were my primary source of entertainment. Hand writing was taught as a skill and people still wrote letters. Remember pen pals? I remember when the nuns made us all take typing in sixth form, and my response to their admonition that a girl needed a skill to keep her in work till she had her babies, ” I’m not going to be a secretary,I’m going to have a secretary”
My first encounter with a computer was in about 1970 when I worked for Commercial Union in High Holborn. In those days they took up the whole of an office basement and were accessed by filling in a strange form with little green box,one for each character that you wanted typed into the computer. My first attempts at programming one came when we bought our kids a Commodore 64 and we made it say “hallo Patrick”. Happy days. Then came Microsoft and everything became much more user friendly.
However I digress, the revelation caused by Doctorow was reinforced when my primary school teacher daughter mentioned that she was teaching her class basic programming as part of the curriculum. OHG how am I going to help my grandchildren with their homework. So far I’ve enjoyed helping them read and write and encouraged them to love books, so to stay one step ahead I’ve signed up for a MOOC offered by Codecademy. I’m starting with HTML and then I might move on to Python (OO get me!) and my kids call me Technogranny.
Doctorow released the bestselling novel Little Brother in 2008 with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike licence. It was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2009. and won the 2009 Prometheus Award, Sunburst Award, and the 2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award. (Wikipedia)