Computer Literacy, Procedural Literacy, Critical Parts

Thanks, as always, to Philip Guo, for sharing great thoughts on his site! From November 2019, his piece “Computer Literacy Starts with Developing a Mental Model of Filesystems” covers the critical need for folks to have building blocks for computer literacy, noting:

computer literacy starts with developing a working mental model of computer filesystems. This includes concepts such as:

  • files
  • file extensions and types
  • folders (a.k.a. directories)
  • hierarchical tree structure of folders and files
  • what pops up when you plug in a USB stick or hard drive
  • home folder (e.g., ~ on macOS)
  • app folders (e.g., /Applications on macOS)
  • apps can read, write, create, and delete files
  • the difference between moving and copying a file/folder
  • permissions (e.g., why can’t I create a file or folder here? why do I need to type in my password? why do I get a pop-up alert?)

This short piece is well worth reading in full, and well worth sharing with colleagues, family members, and community members, to open the discussion to help ensure folks do have a working mental model for how filesystems are structured. While many folks don’t spend less time using computers, even for casual usage levels, folks are better supported by a better understanding of filesystems.