Personal Computer Basics/What is a computer

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What is a computer?

In this topic you will begin to learn about the main parts or components that make up a computer.

What type of a computer do you have - a desktop, a laptop, something else? What do you use your computer for? What sorts of activities do computers do in our daily lives? What is data?

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Identify the four main components of a computer and show how data flows between them.

A computer is an electronic device that manipulates data. It has the ability to store, retrieve, and process data. You can use a computer to type documents, send email, handle spreadsheets, manage databases, and create presentations. You can also use it to browse the internet, play games, watch videos, listen to music and more.

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Click on this link and take the Getting to know Computers lesson from  Be sure to watch the video.

How does a computer work?

A computer takes input such as numbers, text, sound, image, animations, video, etc., and converts it, returning the processed input as output. All numbers, text, sound, images, animations, and video used as input are called data, and all numbers, text, sound, images, animations, and video returned as output are called information.


  • The data consists of numbers, text, sound, images, animations, and video.
  • The process converts numbers, text, sound, images, animations, and video (data) into usable data called information.
  • The information consists of numbers, text, sound, images, animations, and video that has been converted by the process.

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  • The data is inserted using an input device; examples include the keyboard, mouse and a memory (USB) stick.
  • The central processing unit (CPU) converts data to information.
  • The information is put on an output device; examples include a computer monitor and speakers for audio output.

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  • A storage device is a device for storing data and information. Some things that could be stored in memory might be a text document, a photo, a computer program, an operating System

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Key points
Can you name the 4 parts of a computer?

Print this image and correctly identify the main components and how data flows around the components

Check your answer.


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