I came across an article this morning that discusses this very topic: What Does It Mean to Be Literate? The author of the article asserts that there are three key skills individuals should learn in order to be considered "literate" (in addition to the ability to read and write, of course):
Knowing how to email, including attaching documents and pictures, is a skill that not only enables individuals to remain in touch with the world around them, but to communicate quickly.
2) Word Processing
Students need to be taught formatting skills and applications to enable them to share their thoughts and ideas. It is interesting to recall those semesters past when I taught advanced writing to ESL students. We focused quite a bit of time on conventions and less time on computer literacy skills. With these students being advanced, they had experience with word processing prior to attending my class, but perhaps explicit instruction on word processing skills to fill in gaps would have been helpful...something to keep in mind for my future teaching.
I remember when I wanted to learn something growing up, I would go into my dad's den and pull an encyclopedia from the bookshelf. I loved looking up new things, and I especially enjoyed accompanying illustrations and pictures. Now we use the Internet as our main resource to look things up. But without basic research skills in sorting through information, individuals may not be able to find the information they need, or they may stumble upon false information altogether.
How computer literate are you?