ICT teacher handbook/Basic digital literacy

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ICT teacher handbook
ICT in Education Basic digital literacy ICT for connecting and learning

The ICT environment

Having an overview of ICT and their larger societal implications, we will now learn how to navigate / use ICT. Any technology has a skill component and ICT is something all of us can practise for our own use. In the next section we will learn how to use a computer and various software applications for our professional activities. You should diligently work on this practice component, and also try to integrate it into the other subjects you teach as well, to the extent you find this relevant and useful. The more you practise / use, the more you would learn and become comfortable. We will explore the basics of computer hardware and software and learn Internet browsing, concept mapping as well as text and number editing applications in this section. At all times, we will try to see how ICT are relevant to your primary mandate of teaching-learning. Hence we will approach the learning and use of these applications from a pedagogical perspective.

Computer Hardware and Software

A computer is a device which takes input, processes it and gives output which can be stored and shared. When you enter data into your computer, it is called as input. An input can be data like text or picture or an instruction on what to do with the data. This data is processed (process means to perform a series of operations on a set of data) and you will get the output. The software is what makes the computer and mobile so powerful. Learn more about the history of computers. A more detailed description of the computer can be found here.

Learning to input with keyboard

Most of the instructions / input is given to the computer through the keyboard, hence it is important that teachers should be able to type efficiently, using all their fingers. Typing using the correct finger for each key on the keyboard will help improve the speed of input enormously. It will enable the teacher to type without seeing the keyboard, and seeing the monitor during typing, will enable spotting of any mistakes immediately.

Earlier to learn typing, one had to go to a typing class, but now the computer has software that you can use to learn typing.

Brief information about the keyboard

The keys on the keyboard can be divided into several groups based on function:

  1. Typing (alphabets and numbers) keys: These keys are arranged as in a traditional 'QWERTY' typewriter
  2. Special purpose keys: These keys are used alone or in combination with other keys to perform certain actions, such as CTRL, ALT, ESC, Function keys etc.
  3. Navigation keys: These keys are used for moving around in documents / editing text. They include the arrow keys, HOME, END, PAGE UP, PAGE DOWN, DELETE and INSERT.
  4. Numeric keypad: The numeric keypad is handy for entering numbers quickly. The keys are grouped together in a block like a conventional calculator or adding machine. This block may not be available on all keyboards, numbers are also provided in the top rung of the keyboard

Learning to input with the mouse

Initially, the keyboard was the only device for providing instructions to the computer, but with the invention of the 'graphic user interface' (GUI in short), the mouse became an important input device. The mouse makes giving instructions much simpler by pointing the cursor to a place on the screen and clicking to select an instruction. You can become comfortable in using the mouse by practising with Tux Paint. Tux Paint features a simple interface and a fixed drawing area with access to previously made images using icons. Tux Paint is equipped with cartoon mascots which can encourage students to learn to use the mouse.

Operating System

We need a special computer program to explain our instructions to the computer, this is called the Operating system (also called system software). Every computer must have an operating system to run other computer programmes. Even your mobile phones have an operating system (such as Android). Operating systems start automatically when you turn on the computer, this process is termed booting. All the other computer programmes like programmes to paint, type, listen to music, learn maths etc., are called application software or 'Apps' which work with the system software. People who write programmes are called computer programmers or software developers. On any computer you will have software to paint, to type letters, to watch movies, to find something on the Internet, to learn maths.

You can become comfortable in using the Ubuntu GNU/Linux operating system through Learn Ubuntu.

The operating system is like the foundation of a building. By itself it may not seem to be very useful, but it is the basis for all other applications (other floors of the building, which are used by us)