August 19, 2016

Global Literacy

U Khin Maung
( A retired diplomat)

Now the world is rapidly changing. In the new millennium, information technology, IT, or digital revolution is gaining momentum and growing stronger with everyday. And IT tools, such as computer, the Internet, electronic mail or e-mail are very much in use in every part of the world. As regards the Internet, Mr. Kofi Annan, former U.N Secretary- General has said ‘’ the internet is the fastest growing instrument of communication in the history of civilization and it may be the most rapidly disseminating tool of any kind ever’’.

To the credit of the Internet, the world seems to be getting smaller and smaller. What happens in one part of the world is known to the other part within seconds or   minutes. What a wonderful IT tool! Well, let’s say it again, the world seems to be getting smaller and smaller, so much so that we do fondly call our world “the global village.” And in this global village of ours, we make more and more contacts and communications with each other, states with states, peoples with peoples.
You may like it or not, the digital revolution is real and irreversible. With it, the world is     changing, living. And in this living world, the English language has also become     increasingly popular. Why? Simply because it has become a must – have tool. On the     Internet, the 80 per cent of the web -pages are in English. So, to keep ourselves abreast     of the changing world, we must have global literacy.
I hope, you may wish to ask me; what do you mean by global literacy? Well, let me put it this way. “Global literacy means the ability to access and converse with the rest of the world with IT tools, such as — computer, the Internet and the mastery of English language as the international lingua franca.” With regard to the growing popularity of English, I would like to mention a news report as follows:
“English is  already  the second language in about 75 countries, the first language in more than 30 territories, and has far more speakers outside of Britain than in it.’’
And now, I would like to present to you something about the Internet as follows: The Internet is the world’s largest computer network. It is not a piece of software or hardware. It’s a huge collection of computers, cables, and people. When people talk about the Internet, they generally aren’t thinking of the physical computers, wires, routers and other gadgets that compose the network, but of the collection of people, software, and tools that they “see” online. To the technically minded, the Internet is a network of computer networks that talk to each other using Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) Internet Protocol (IP). TCP/IP is a set of rules that define how messages can be sent between computers. A communications protocol allows different kinds of computers using different operating systems to communicate with each other. That is important because the Internet isn’t made up of any single type of computer system. Using TCP/IP, hundreds of different types of computers are able to communicate on the Internet. This common set of protocols makes it possible for a user plugged into any network on the Internet to communicate with people or software based on any of the other networks connected to the Internet. ‘To most of the people who use the Internet, the Net isn’t about networks, protocols, and operating systems: it’s a community of people. A very large community, which we might even call it “a global village”. The Internet is a locale, a place. It is the closest thing we’ve got to “Cyberspace”, which is an electronic place where people and programs work, learn, and coexist (sometimes peacefully, sometimes not.)
Within the last few years the term “the Internet” has slipped into everyday language, invading our newspapers, magazines and even our TV sets. Loosely defined, the Internet is an international network — or rather a network of networks — at the heart of which lies a number of powerful and permanently linked computers. To join the Internet, you connect your computer to any of these computers, and are then able to talk to and disseminate information to every other computer on the Internet.

In this write—up, I would like to present only a few significant Internet-related terms and their definitions as follows:
(A)    WWW =  World Wide Web. It is probably the largest method of information dispersal on                   the Internet today.
(B) Protocol =  It is an agreed standard for network devices to exchange information with each other.
(C) HTTP = Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. It is the method by which the web page data is             transmitted.
(D) NNTP= It stands for Network News Transfer Protocol.
(E) Website = Website means the Internet store-fronts that must stay open continuously for     business.
(F) Web page = It is a page in the website allotted for the Internet user or the Internet company     concerned.
(G) Home Page = It is the first page of a set of pages.
(H) Download = Transfer of files/data/ from one computer system to another (for     copying/receiving).
(I) E-mail =  It’s a correspondence system by which you can transmit text, pictures, sounds and     other digitized materials across the world in a matter of seconds.
(J) Newbie = A new user, who probably doesn’t know a lot about the Internet.
(K) User’s Network = It’s known by several different names e.g. “usenet”, “news” “newsgroups”
(L) Node = Any device that is individually identifiable to a network.
(M) Binaries = Binaries are not texts or files. They are pictures, programs.
(N) Netiquette = Network etiquette, a cultural code of conduct, a dignified, but not universally     agreed standard of behavior expected on the Internet.
(0) Hacker = A technically savvy/wise computer enthusiast who derives joy from exploring other     people’s computer systems, although not necessarily with intent to damage.
(P) Upload  = To send files/ data from one computer system to anoter.
(Q) Cyberspace = It’s the electronic infrastructure of the late 20th century. Cyberspace     encompasses a virtual universe of ideas and information.
(R) Software = We have two kinds of software.
(A) Freeware
(B) Shareware
(S) Freeware  = Free of charge. You can download some files and information from the Internet     without any payment for them.
(T) Shareware = You can use and try out some files and information form the Internet for a     specified period of time – free of charge. After that, you have to make some payment to use it.

In conclusion, I would like to express my view that the “Internet” is not merely a fad which will come and go. It’s a tool of the digital revolution, a part of our daily life. It will keep on going. The Internet, in fact, is a great thing on which we can do so many cool things. So, let’s go on learning to achieve global literacy and become a global citizen through the use of the Internet. But, may I advise you, sir, to think global, but to act local, by protecting, preserving, and propagating our values,roots, and identities.

(1)    Your Internet Consultant, MR. Kevin Savet.
(2)    Internet culture in easy steps. MR. John Smith.
(3)    Compuspeak (B.B.C)


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