Friday, September 25, 2009

Computer Savvy

One of my first posts on Wordcraft was about not being "computer savvy", and while I have improved since 2002, I still can have my challenges with computer settings or other technical computer questions. And, yet, I am fairly active on Web sites, from Wordcraft to my LinkedIn to Facebook, and I have a Twitter account where, while I rarely use it, I do tweat every so often. I am at a conference with educators, and I can see that I am way ahead of many of them...even some of the so-called experts. So maybe I am computer savvy. Or does that mean something more technical, while my knowledge is in informatics? I was in two sessions today that discussed informatics, and clearly there is a misunderstanding of that word. Some, indeed, think it is using sites like Ning or Delicious or Connotea or Second Life. Others see informatics, at least in health care, as using electronic medical records (EMRs) or other medical databases.

The dictionary defines informatics as: "the study of information processing; computer science." And yet the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which is calling for the integration of informatics in the curricula of all health care students, defines it as: "Communicate, manage knowledge, and support decision making using information technology." That's a lot different from pure "computer science." Clearly with those disparate definitions, one can see why educators are confused about integrating informatics into their curricula.

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