Riding the information highway - towards a new kind of learning
In the modern world, skimming through information quickly and finding the important nuggets of knowledge from amongst the information overload is an essential skill. One way to train oneself for this kind of literacy is reading on the internet, which requires continuous assessment of search results and specifying searches. In this article a central question is in which ways computer usage is connected with literacy needed in everyday life, which can be called functional literacy. We also examine what kind of an effect generation, occupational status and education have on the connection between computer use and literacy. Finnish data from the Second International Adult Literacy Survey (SIALS), carried out in 1998, is used. Three domains were examined in SIALS - prose literacy, document literacy and quantitative literacy. Real-life texts, figures and tables were used in the tests. According to the results, there were more good readers among those who regularly used computers for searching for information and reading on the internet. While the youngest scored highest in literacy, the use of computers for information seeking purposes was also connected to better literacy in the older age groups. The lowest educated appeared to benefit the most from the use of computers.
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