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Glossary
3rd - 4th, 5th-6th, 7th - 8th Grade

backspace. A key on the keyboard used to delete characters to the left of the cursor.

bar graph. A type of graph that uses vertical or horizontal bars to represent data.

Broadband Internet access. Broadband is "high data rate"
(also called high speed) Internet access—typically contrasted with
dial-up access over a modem.

cable. A wire used to carry electricity.

caps lock. A key on the keyboard that capitalizes all letters when pressed.

CD-ROM drive (Compact Disc-Read Only Memory). The component that reads information from the CD-ROM.

Chipset. The chipset is the chip, or set of chips, that direct the motherboard's flow of information from one point to another. Just like a traffic cop, they make sure that the information, (also called data), arrives at the proper place.

chat room. A virtual room used to communicate in real time with other people.

compact disc (CD). A digitally encoded disc used to store information. This disc can be read using a CD-ROM drive.

computer. A machine that stores and reads information.

computer case. It protects all of the electronic components inside and must provide adequate ventilation to prevent overheating.

computer virus. A destructive code that spreads from computer to computer, capable of damaging software.

CPU (central processing unit). The microprocessor. The “brains” of the computer.

delete. A key on the keyboard used to delete characters to the right of the cursor.

Drive Bays. Drive bays are where the computer's drives are installed. For example CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives.

e-mail (electronic mail). The exchange of messages using computer networks.

enter. A key on the keyboard used to complete a command or move down to the next line.

fan. The primary source of cooling for your computer.

fax machine. A device used to send and receive data using telephone lines.

floppy disk 3.5”. A magnetic disk on which data such as music, text, or graphics are magnetically encoded.

floppy drive. The component that reads and writes to floppy disks.

forum. An online place to discuss particular topics.

graph. A diagram used to represent data.

hard drive. The component that reads and writes data. It stores information.
(old computers are IDE and new computers are SATA)

HTML (hypertext markup language). A programming language used to create documents to be viewed on the Internet.

IDE cable (integrated device electronics). The cable that connects the drives to the motherboard. (new computers use SATA cables)

Internet. A worldwide network connecting millions of computers.

instant messaging. Messages are electronically exchanged with another person using usernames.

keyboard. A hardware device consisting of buttons (keys) that the user presses to type characters into a computer.

laptop. A portable computer small enough to use on one’s lap.
line graph. The type of graph in which lines are used to connect points.
modem. This device transforms a computer’s digital data into analog data for transmission over phone lines, then reconverts the data to digital. (dial-up – 56K)

Memory. The computer uses this memory constantly to temporarily store information, (or data), while it is working with it. If a computer has a lot of memory, it can store more temporary information and operate faster.

Microprocessor. The microprocessor, (also called the central processing unit), is the brain of the computer.

Modem. Modems change a computer's digital information into analog waves that can travel through the phone lines to another computer. The other computer's modem then changes the analog waves back into digital information, so that the other computer can understand it. Modems are rated by how many bits of information they can receive in one second. Just because a modem is rated at 56Kbps does not always mean that it is going to be able to receive at that speed.

monitor. A video display that takes signals from a computer and displays information onto a screen.

motherboard. The computer’s main circuit board. This connects together and enables the operation of all the components of the computer. The heart of the computer.

mouse. A hand-operated data input device that moves the cursor on a computer screen.mouse pad. A flat pad, coated with foam rubber, designed to provide an optimum surface on which to use a mouse.

multi-media. The integration of text, graphics, sound, and animation on a computer.

netiquette. The term for appropriate behavior on the Internet.

network. Two or more computers connected with wires that have the ability to communicate.

network card. A circuit board used to connect the computer to a local area network (LAN). (Ethernet – high speed internet)

PCI slot/bus (Peripheral Component Interconnect). A slot on the motherboard used to add PCI expansion cards.

pie chart. A chart in which a circle is divided into sections, and each segment represents certain data.

plagiarism. To copy a piece of writing and use it as your own.

power supply. The component that supplies power to your computer.

printer. A device that prints text or graphics on paper.

RAM (random access memory). Random Access Memory (RAM) provides space for your computer to read and write data to be accessed by the CPU (central processing unit). When people refer to a computer's memory, they usually mean its RAM. If you add more RAM to your computer, you reduce the number of times your CPU must read data from your hard disk. This usually allows your computer to work considerably faster, plus able to open more than one program at a time.

router. A router allows connectivity to one or more computers, helping create a network. For home users, these are particularly useful for taking a single broadband internet account, and spreading it to at least two or more computers. Wireless routers have become more common. A wireless router does exactly the same job in the home as a regular wired (Ethernet) router, with the difference that a computer can be connected to it without needing to run Ethernet cable between the computer and the router. All you need is a wireless network adapter in each PC you want to connect, usually in the form of a card in your PCI slot (or a laptop's PCMCIA card slot) or an adapter for USB.

search engine. A Web site designed to search the Internet for a particular topic.

shift. Press and hold this key, then press another key to make a capital letter or special character.

software. A program designed for use on computers. An example would be Microsoft Word.

sound card. Printed circuit board that, coupled with a set of speakers, enables a computer to reproduce music and sound effects.

spam. An unwanted message that is considered junk mail.
speaker. A piece of electronic equipment used to play sound.

tab. A key on the keyboard that indents a line of text when pressed.
telecommunications. Sending and receiving information electronically.
tower. A style of computer system in which components are arranged in a tall, narrow cabinet.

URL (uniform resource locater). A Web site address on the World Wide Web.

video card. A board that plugs into a personal computer to give it display capabilities.

video conference. Two or more users communicating over a computer network using video and audio.

web site. A site on the World Wide Web including a home page and various links containing information maintained by a group, company, or individual.