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When I'm at work: Using a computer - Trainer's guide

Chapters

Using a computer


Trainer represent information icon Explain and discuss computer processing with the learner.

A computer processes information, which is also called data, into a form that is easier for us to use and understand. Processing means changing the data which you enter into the computer into something which is more useful.

Trainer represent information icon Explain to the learner that information is entered into the computer using input devices. The information is processed by the computer and then you can get the information out of the computer using an output device.

The following diagram is a flow chart which highlights the step involved in processing data. Step 1 is where information is input into the computer. Step 2 is where this information is processed by the computer. Step 3 is where information is produced in a form which you can use. This is called output

Input information into a computer flowchart

1. Input devices

Input devices are tools or pieces of equipment to help you put information or data into a computer.

Keyboard

Mouse

Digital Camera

Microphone

Scanner

Trainer represent information icon Demonstrate how each of the above can be used to help put information into a computer.

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.

Processing devices

Trainer represent information icon Explain the term CPU to the learner. Show the learner where the CPU is located and demonstrate how to turn the computer on. Discuss with the learner that the CPU is the core or the brains of the computer.

Remember to make sure that the learner has access to a computer before the session. In some organisations this could require you to set up log-in passwords for each learner.

Discuss with the learner.

3. Output devices

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

Printer

Monitor

Speakers

Modem

Trainer represent information icon Demonstrate each of these devices to the learner. Discuss each of the devices with the learner and demonstrate how they can be used in the workplace. Explain how they help you get information out of the computer.

What is a computer system?

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

  1. processor, called the 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 that has been processed by the computer. This could be copies of letters, reports and messages you have received by email.

Picture of a computer system which includes images of a screen, CPU, printer, mouse and keyboard

Trainer represent information icon Encourage the learner to explain each part of the computer system at their workspace.

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.

Trainer represent information icon Ensure you show the learner all the computer equipment used in the workplace.


Trainer represent information icon Explain to the learner how input devices, processing devices and output devices work together, as per the diagram below.

Flow diagram of input devices, processing devices and output devices

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.

Trainer represent information icon Discuss the difference between hardware and software with the learner.

Hardware

Hardware is anything that you can touch.

Examples of hardware could be the:

Printer

Screen

Keyboard

Mouse

Scanner

Trainer represent information icon Ask the learner to explain what each of the above pieces of equipment do.

Activity: Your hardware

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

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

Trainer represent information icon

Software

Software is what is inside your computer that allows you to 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.

Trainer represent information icon Explain to the leaner that some software makes the computer system work and other software gives the computer programs that can be used. For example, Microsoft PowerPoint®, Microsoft Word®, Microsoft Outlook®.

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.

Trainer represent information icon Ask the learner to add other software applications they are aware of into the blank spaces in the table and if appropriate demonstrate some of these applications.

Using a keyboard

Trainer represent information icon Explain to the learner that when information is entered or typed into the computer using the keyboard it appears on the monitor (or screen) as text.

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.

Trainer represent information icon Explain the term 'cursor' and that it looks like ' | '.

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.

Trainer represent information icon Explain the difference between upper and lower case if appropriate.

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 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.

Trainer represent information icon If possible, demonstrate each of the keys above to the learner.

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

Parts of the mouse

Trainer represent information icon Explain to the learner why it is called a mouse. It is called a mouse because it looks like a mouse.

Discuss with the learner how the computer mouse looks like a mouse. For example the cord is like the tail, the buttons on each side are like mouse ears.

Mouse

The mouse has a right and left button. It could 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. By clicking on the left mouse button you can move the pointer to any position on the screen.  If you click on the right mouse button it will bring up other menus.

You can have 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

Trainer represent information icon Explain to the learner the advantages of using an ergonomic mouse pad. Advantages include support for your wrist, shoulder and palm.

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.

Trainer represent information icon Explain to the learner that the pointer looks like an arrow or ' | ' (cursor) 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/drag the 'pointer' to a different part of the screen.
Double click Click the left mouse button twice very quickly. This takes practice to get it right. Once you do, you will be able to tell the computer what to do more easily.

Trainer represent information icon Explain to the learner that to double click, it is important that the second time is straight after the first without any break in time. This often takes a little practice to get it right, but once you do it will help you to be better at operating your computer system.

Right mouse button command How to do it
Click Diagram of menu box

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.

Trainer represent information icon Demonstrate each of the above steps to the learner.

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.

Diagram of handling a mouse

Trainer represent information icon Encourage the learner to practise moving the mouse and to watch where the pointer moves on the screen.

Getting started

Trainer represent information icon Make sure that the computer is turned on and the learner is logged on to 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. It will look something like the picture below.

Trainer represent information icon Explain to the learner that this screen is called the desktop screen.

Diagram of desktop screen

Trainer represent information icon Explain the icons on the desktop to the learner.

Activity: Let's practise

Dragging

Dragging means to move something on the screen.

Try dragging 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. 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.

Trainer represent information icon

Double clicking

Trainer represent information icon

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.

Diagram of closing program

Activity: Using the calculator

Trainer represent information icon Explain to the learner that this activity will help them to practise using the mouse.

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


Trainer represent information icon Explain to the learner that on the calculator the symbol * is the same as X or multiply, 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 list of 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

Trainer represent information icon

Answer diagram Double ClickLeft mouse buttonClickRight mouse buttonClick and dragPointerClick the left mouse button and drag the 'pointer' to a different part of the screenLightly click the left mouse button and let goThe symbol, usually an arrow, that appears on the screen when you move the mouseThe button that you use to control what you selectWhen you click this, a menu or list will appear that you can choose from. Click the left mouse button two times quickly

Trainer represent information icon Summarise this topic with the learner and sign the topic checklist in the learner's workbook.

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