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When I'm at work: Using a computer - Learner's workbook

Chapters

Using a computer


A computer changes or processes information into a form that is easier to use and understand. Processing means changing the information which you enter into the computer into something you can use.

Input information into the computer flowchart

1. Input devices

Keyboard

Mouse

Digital Camera

Microphone

Scanner

2. Processing devices

Processing devices are the 'brains' of a computer system. They are often called CPUs, which stands for Central Processing Units, and they are stored in metal boxes (like the picture). The button to turn on your computer is located on the CPU.

CPU unit

3. Output devices

Output devices are tools or equipment that help you to see and use the processed information.

Printer

Monitor

Speakers

Modem

What is a computer system?

A computer system has the parts that make your computer work. A basic system will include:

  1. central processing unit (CPU) – this processes information and sends messages to all other areas of the computer system
  2. monitor – this is the screen that you use to look at your information
  3. keyboard – consists of a number of keys with letters, numbers and different symbols on them. You enter information into your computer system by selecting and touching the keys
  4. mouse – this is the pointer that you can use as well as your keyboard to tell your computer what you want it to do
  5. printer – this is used to print out the information that you put into the computer and has been processed by the computer. This could be copies of letters, reports and messages you have received by email, or information you have looked at on the internet that you would like a copy of.

Computer system diagram

You may add other types of equipment to your computer system so that it can do extra things. These could include digital cameras, microphones or scanners.

Input information into the computer flowchart

What is hardware and software?

There are two parts of a computer system that are needed so your computer will work – they are called hardware and software.

Hardware

Hardware is anything that you can touch.

Examples of hardware could be the:

Printer

Screen

Keyboard

Mouse

Scanner

Activity: Your hardware

Can you touch all of your pieces of hardware for your computer?

  1. Printer
  2. Screen (or monitor)
  3. Keyboard
  4. Mouse
  5. Scanner

Software

Software is what is inside your computer that allows you use it to do different tasks. Software makes your computer work so you can see everything on the screen. A computer cannot work without software.

Some of the software packages that you might use include:

Type of software What it does
Microsoft Word® Allows you to type up a document, such as a letter.
Microsoft Excel® Allows you to type in figures, use formulas and create charts.
Microsoft PowerPoint® Allows you to create presentations for meetings, etc.

Using a keyboard

There are 104 keys on a keyboard. Most are letters and numbers but others help you to move around the screen. Some keys you will use a lot, and there are others that you will use less often, or might never use at all. A list of the keys you are likely to use, with an explanation of what they do, is included below.

Enter

Enter key

You use your right hand little finger to press it. Press ENTER only when you want to start a new paragraph, or to go to the next line.

Home

Home key

This key is used when you want to go back to the beginning of the line you are working on.

End

End key

This key will take you to the end of the line you are working on.

Cursor

Cursor  keys

The four arrows in a group under the HOME and END keys are the CURSOR KEYS. Using these will move your cursor ' | ' on the screen one letter or number at a time in the direction of the arrow.

Shift

Shift key

There are two SHIFT keys, one on the left and one on the right of the main keyboard. Using these will make a letter appear as a capital. This is also known as upper case. The SHIFT key is also used if you want to type any of the symbols at the top of each number, for example, if you hold down the SHIFT key and at the same time type '5' the '%' symbol will appear.

Caps lock

Caps Lock key

The CAPS LOCK key is found on the left of the keyboard. If this is pressed once, all letters will appear as capitals, or upper case. You can do this with the SHIFT key as well. It is better to use this key if you want to type more than one capital letter in a row. Press this once more to turn it off.

Delete

Delete key

This will delete information to the right of the cursor.

Backspace key

Backspace key

This key is allows you to move back to information you have already typed in. It lets you erase letters or numbers to the left of the cursor.

Page up

Page Up key

This key lets you move up a page at a time.

Page down

Page Down key

This key lets you move down a page at a time.

Activity: Using the keyboard

Can you find the following keys on your keyboard?

  1. Enter
  2. Home
  3. Backspace
  4. Shift
  5. Page Up
  6. Page Down
  7. End

Using a mouse

Mouse diagram

The mouse has a right and left button. It may also have a wheel button in the middle. By rolling your finger over the centre wheel you can move (this is called scroll) up and down pages and you can also use the wheel to zoom in on certain things on the page in some software packages.

You can use a mouse pad or mouse mat with your mouse for easier use. A mouse pad can be any hard surface area but one that is built for a computer system usually works a lot better.

Mouse on pad diagram

Terms

There are quite a few words that you will need to learn that explain what to do with your mouse buttons. You use the mouse buttons to tell your computer what to do. These are called commands.

Left mouse button command How to do it
Point Move the mouse to make the pointer or arrow move on the screen.
Click When the pointer is where you want it click the left mouse button and release.
Click and drag This lets you move things around the screen.
  1. Move the pointer to where you want it.
  2. Click the left mouse button. Keep your finger on the button.
  3. Move or drag the pointer to a different part of the screen.
Double click Click the left mouse button twice very quickly. This takes practise to get it right. Once you do, you will be able to tell the computer what to do more easily.

Right mouse button command How to do it
Click Menu box diagram When you have the pointer where you want it on the screen, click the right mouse button and take your finger off the button. A menu box like the one shown here will be on the screen so you can choose different things.

Tips for using the mouse

Activity: Now you try handling a mouse

  1. Look at the picture of the hand holding a mouse, and try to copy it.
  2. Put your right hand on the mouse gently, making sure that your index (pointing) finger is on the left mouse button. Most of the mouse should sit under the palm of your hand.
  3. By holding the mouse and moving it around the mouse pad (or your desk if you don't have a mouse pad) you will see that the pointer will move around the screen.

Mouse handling diagram

Getting started

Ask your trainer or supervisor to demonstrate how to turn the computer on. In some workplaces workers need 'log-ins' and 'passwords' to access the computer.

One of the best ways to get used to using a mouse is to practise. To do this you will need to turn your computer on so that it shows the desktop screen.

Desktop screen diagram

Activity: Let's practise

Dragging

Dragging means to move something on the screen.

Try dragging on the Recycle Bin symbol Recycle Bin symbol (also called an icon) on your screen and move it to the right hand side of the screen.

  1. Point your mouse at the icon.
  2. Then hold the left hand mouse button down.
  3. Move the mouse across your mouse pad. Notice how the icon moves across the screen at the same time.

Now try dragging other icons to move them where you like on the screen.

Double clicking

This means clicking the left mouse button twice (very quickly).

With your mouse point to the Recycle Bin and double click. This will open the Recycle Bin program.

Closing programs

In the top right hand side of the screen there are three buttons. Click Closing programs button with the left side of your mouse once. This will close the Recycle Bin.

Close button diagram

Activity: Using the calculator

Click on the Start button Start button. The Start button lets you open the programs on your computer.

Move your mouse pointer over the words All Programs. A list of programs will appear to the right.

  1. Move your mouse pointer over the word Accessories. Another list of programs will appear to the right. Find the Calculator.

List programs diagram

  1. Move your mouse pointer over the word Calculator and with the left side of your mouse click once. You should have a picture of the calculator on the screen.

Calculator diagram

  1. Click the left side of your mouse on the following buttons on the screen:

5 + 8 + 3 + 2 + 1 =

  1. Did you get 19 to appear as the answer in the white box at the top?
  2. Now try these calculations:

5 * 5 * 2 =

10 + 6 + 10 + 4 – 20 =

50 / 5

Note that on the calculator the symbol * is the same as X or multiplication, and the symbol / is the same as divide.

Activity: Mouse talk

Now we are going to check that you understand what has been covered so far in this section. Read the terms and descriptions below. After you find the right description that matches each term draw an arrow between them.

You can check your answers against the ones listed on the next page.

Exercise diagram Click the left mouse button two times quickly When you click this, a menu or list will appear that you can choose from. The button that you use to control what you select The symbol, usually an arrow, that appears on the screen when you move the mouse Lightly click the left mouse button and let go Click the left mouse button and drag the 'pointer' to a different part of the screen Pointer Click and drag Right mouse button ClickLeft mouse buttonDouble Click

Answer

Exercise diagram Click the left mouse button two times quickly When you click this, a menu or list will appear that you can choose from. The button that you use to control what you select The symbol, usually an arrow, that appears on the screen when you move the mouse Lightly click the left mouse button and let go Click the left mouse button and drag the 'pointer' to a different part of the screen Pointer Click and drag Right mouse button ClickLeft mouse buttonDouble Click

Topic checklist

Tick the areas from this topic that you have successfully completed.

Topic checklist diagram

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