Virtual School.

Information Technology. Computers in context.


Link to lesson 1

Links to other lessons

Teacher / parent notes

Projects and extension

Return to Internet for Schools

 Computers are now used in all walks of life. If you are familiar with the main applications (word processing, graphics, desk top publishing, spreadsheets and data bases) plus Internet and World Wide Web, then you will often have an advantage over those who are not comfortable with computers.

But "using a computer" is more than just sitting at a keyboard a pressing keys. Setting up a database is a more advanced skill than simply adding data to an existing database; drawing your own images is more advanced than pasting in clip art.

Here are some ways in which the main computer applications are used in the workplace. Ask adults you know well how they see computers being used at work. Ask older brothers and sisters too, who may have started work recently or have been on work experience.

Also in Context
Graphics | Desk Top Publishing | Spreadsheets | Databases

Word Processing in context.

Word processing has taken over from mechanical and electric typewriters because it allows text to be saved, retrieved and edited later. A typewriter simply prints a letter of the alphabet; it can't be deleted except by painting it out; it can't be changed except by typing it out again.

The text is saved digitally. This means that modern systems can use the text in many different software applications, from desk top publishing to video editing.

The digital text can be stored for re-use later. This means that a writer can write a paragraph, retrieve it months or years later, add to it, amend it, place it in a longer piece of writing, add graphics etc. The act of writing is very different when you no longer have to write starting at the beginning and continuing to the end, but can start wherever you like, move the text around, change words and re-order paragraphs.

Presentation was very basic with a typewriter but can be very varied with a word processor, where the letter shapes are not fixed but fonts can be changed in shape, size, colour etc.

Sharing of texts can be achieved by saving the file to a central place where several people can add to a single file to create a joint and collaborative piece of work.

These are just a few ways in which word processed, digital, texts are better than type written texts. Once a piece of text has been entered it should never need to be written again, because digital text can simply be copied and re-used or re-purposed.

It's no wonder that word processing is such a popular invention.

* Write a bullet list of the ways word processing helps people at work.

Lesson 1