Computer Skills Curriculum


and: A connector/term used in searching databases which indicates that for two statements/rules/criteria only records satisfying both statements/rules/criteria should be selected. (DB, Gr. 5)

animation: The design of making an object in such a way as to make it appear to have motion. (WP, Gr. 6)

arrange (sort): A process of organizing the records in a database in a specific order, either alphabetically (from A to Z or reverse alphabetically from Z to A) or numerically (from 0 to 9 or reverse numerically from 9 to 0). (DB, Gr. 5)

arrow keys: Keys on a keyboard that move the cursor left or right, up or down. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

backspace/delete key: Key on a keyboard that moves the cursor to the left one space at a time and, on some keyboards and with most word processing software, deletes characters. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

booting: The process of loading the operating system software into memory to start up a computer. Also called starting. (Terms, Gr. 1)

bulletin board service (BBS): A place on the network where public messages can be left and one message can reach all users. (Tele, Gr. 4)

button: In hypermedia programs, as object or feature used to create links between different cards, to initiate other actions, or to reproduce sound. For example, a button can be created to send a message to a laserdisc player to run a video segment. (WP, Gr. 6)

camcorder: A hand-held video camera. (WP, Gr. 6)

caps lock key: Key on a keyboard that is used to key all capital letters. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

card: In hypermedia programs, an electronic card that is used to store some type of data. Cards have different components used for information storage or actions. For example, a card might have a picture of a tiger, a button to press to hear sound, and text describing a tiger. Cards of information form a hypermedia stack. (WP, Gr. 6)

CD-ROM: Stands for Compact Disk Read Only Memory. An optical disk that can only be read from and not written to. (WP, Gr. 6)

cell: The intersection of a row and a column on a spreadsheet in which data can be entered. Cells are designated by their column letter and row number -- B4. (SpSht, Gr. 6)

centering: To place text horizontally or vertically in the middle of a page. (WP, Gr. 5)

central processing unit (CPU): The main component, or "brain," of a computer. It is the chip that performs all of the information processing. The piece of hardware that contains the CPU is often called the CPU. (Terms, Gr. 2-3)

clip art: A series of picture files that are stored on a disk that can be "clipped" and pasted into a document. (WP, Gr. 6)

column: The vertical divisions of a spreadsheet that intersect the horizontal divisions (rows) to form cells in which data can be entered. columns are labeled alphabetically (A,B,C,...AB,AC,AD...). (SpSht, Gr. 6)

computer: An electronic machine that can perform calculations and can process a large amount of information accurately and much more rapidly than the human brain. (Kybdy, Gr. 1; Terms..., Gr. K-4)

computer accessible news sources: A computer database of news and information which is updated frequently, usually daily, and available to be searched by dates and keywords. (DB, Gr. 4)

computer generated effects: The use of a computer in making a film to create certain effects. (WP, Gr. 6)

computer graphics: The creation, display, and storage of pictures with a computer. (WP, Gr. 6)

computer-related vandalism: Act of damaging, altering, or destroying a computer, computer peripherals, computer software, or computer service. (Eth, Gr. 5-6)

computer virus: A computer program that can reproduce by changing other programs to include a copy of itself. It is a parasite program, needing another program to survive. (Eth, Gr. 8)

connectors: A term used in searching databases which indicates which records satisfying one statement/rule/criterion or both should be selected. The two most common connectors are "and" and "or." (DB, Gr. 5)

copy: To highlight a section or whole document and leave it unaffected but make a duplicate and put it in another place. (WP, Gr. 5)

copyright law: Law granting a legal right to a copyright holder which requires the permission of the copyright holder to make non-archival copies of the work in question. (Eth, Gr. 3, 6)

cursor: A highlighted or bright (sometimes blinking) line or other mark that shows where information is being input; that is, where the next letter or character will appear. Sometimes the cursor is a special picture or icon. (WP, Gr. 2; Terms, Gr. 1)

data: A general term for pieces of information that a computer processes. (DB, Gr. 4)

database (computer, current, print): A collection of data organized for search and retrieval. Computer databases are accessed by computer; print databases are available in printed format. A current database is a collection of data updated frequently (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.) and is usually a computer database. (DB, Gr. 4)

delete/backspace key: Key on a keyboard that moves the cursor to the left one space at a time and, on some keyboards and with most word processing software, deletes characters. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

desktop publishing: A computerized layout program that integrates graphics and text to produce a professional looking document. (WP, Gr. 6)

digitized effects: To change analog information into digital information that the computer can use to produce certain effects. For example, when a picture is scanned, the picture image is digitized. This means that the picture image is converted to a digital or numerical format. (WP, Gr. 6)

disk drive: The device that reads from and writes to a floppy disk or hard disk. (Terms, Gr. K-3)

diskette: The most common storage device used with microcomputers. 1. (also floppy disk) A flexible disk, made of thin plastic and magnetically coated. It is protected by a jacket that has openings to allow the disk drive to read or write information. 2. (also rigid disk) A floppy disk covered by a hard plastic jacket with a metal slide moved to read or write information. (Terms, Gr. K-3)

double space: When keying text, the act of spacing text two lines apart. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

download: Transferring information electronically from another computer to your computer. (Tele, Gr. 4)

edit/editing: 1. To change or make corrections in a document. 2. To make any change to the contents of a database. (WP, Gr. 3; DB, Gr. 5)

electronic thesaurus: A disk-based thesaurus for on-screen use. (WP, Gr. 7)

e-mail: Private messages, called electronic mail, that are sent and received over a computer network. (Tele, Gr. 4)

enter/entering: To type an item of information into a field in a database. (DB, Gr. 5) ESC key: Key on a keyboard that is used to "move around" with a program. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

ethical: Conforming to accepted professional standards of conduct. (Eth, Gr. 7)

field/category: 1. An item of information in a record of a file in a database. 2. In hypermedia, an object or area on a card or page where text is entered. (DB, Gr. 5; WP, Gr. 6)

file: 1. A collection of related records in a database. 2. A word processing document. (DB, Gr. 5; WP, Gr. 3)

font: A specific design for a set of letters and characters. (WP, Gr. 6)

formula: A type of information that can be entered into a spreadsheet cell. It is a mathematical equation consisting of numbers, other cell designators, and symbols for mathematical operations. the result of the formula is displayed in the cell that holds the formula. (SpSht, Gr. 6)

freeware: A copyrighted program for which the user is not obligated to compensate the author in any manner; a form of shareware. (Eth, Gr. 3)

grammar checker: A software program that checks for possible grammar mistakes. Suggestions or corrections are often given. (WP, Gr. 7)

graphing: A feature in a software program that allows numerical data to be interpreted as a graph or chart. (WP, Gr. 6)

hacker: Computer users who enjoy tinkering with computers as a way to develop new features or who intentionally access a single computer, system or a network without permission to do so. They can be there simply to look around or they can be there to destroy. (Eth, Gr. 8)

hardware: The physical equipment of a computer, such as the screen/monitor, the keyboard, the Central Processing Unit, and the storage devices. (Terms, Gr. 1-3)

home row keys: 1. The starting point for your hands when beginning to keyboard using common keying techniques. The keys on the keyboard a, s, d, f, j, k, l, ; are home row keys. 2. Keys on a keyboard which contain the letters a, s, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, ; and used for positioning the hands in typing. 3. The row of keys called the "middle row" in some keying technique methods. (WP, Gr. 2; Kybdy, Gr. 1)

HyperCard/HyperStudio/LinkWay: Authoring systems that allow for text, graphics, sound, animation, and other effects to be composed for a presentation or for organizing information; hypermedia. (WP, Gr. 6)

hypermedia: A way (for users and programmers) to gather, organize, present, search and customize information from multimedia, databases, and other types of stored information. HyperCard, HyperStudio, and LinkWay are three examples of hypermedia programs. (See button, card, field.) (WP, Gr. 6)

hypertext: "Active text" where one word is linked to another into a computer program; a type of indexing system. (See hypermedia, button, card, field.) (WP, Gr. 6)

information accessing: Process of searching for information, usually located in a database. Most commonly used when a computer database is to be searched. (DB, Gr. 5)

information highway: A term used when discussing information networks of the future which will likely carry video and audio as well as computer data. (Tele, Gr. 4)

input: 1. The process of entering information into a computer. 2. The information entered or put into a computer for processing. (Terms, Gr. 3)

insert: Key on a keyboard or function of word processing software that is used to insert text without deleting previously keyed text. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

intellectual property: Ideas put into actions, such as writing, music, art, computer code, and inventions, that can be protected under copyright or patent laws. (Eth, Gr. 7)

Internet: A global network of thousands of other computer networks that offers e-mail and information retrieval services to millions of people. (Tele, Gr. 4)

keyboard: An input device resembling a typewriter and consisting of a standardized layout of buttons or keys with symbols, such as letters or numbers, that can be entered into a computer by pressing on the keys. (Kybdy, Gr. 1; Terms, K-3)

label: A type of data that can be entered into a spreadsheet cell. It consists of words that usually label a column or row of numbers. (SpSht, Gr. 6)

laserdisc: A disc that is recorded with sound and pictures and read on a laserdisc player by a laser beam. (WP, Gr. 6)

laser printer: A printer that produces high quality images using a method similar to that of a photo copying machine. (WP, Gr. 3)

layout: The physical placement of texts and graphics in a document. (WP, Gr. 6)

letter keys: Keys on a keyboard which contain the letters of the alphabet. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

load: To enter a program or file into a computer's memory. (WP, Gr. 2)

logic bomb: A destructive computer program similar to a virus that does not reproduce itself. It acts based on a predetermined event. (Eth, Gr. 8)

log off: The act of signing off of and disconnecting from a computer system. (Tele, Gr. 4)

log on: The act of connecting with a computer system and entering your user identification and password. (Tele, Gr. 4)

modem: A device that permits a computer to transmit and receive data over a telephone line. (Tele, Gr. 4) monitor: A display screen designed as an output device for a computer and usually composed of a Cathode Ray Tube. (Terms, Gr. K-3)

morphing: Used to create exciting visuals and special effects in movies. A film image is scanned into the computer then changed by a graphics artist. This image is sometimes combined with images created on the computer and then integrated into a film clip to make effects that look real. (WP, Gr. 6)

move: To rearrange text in a document. (WP, Gr. 6)

multimedia: The merging of traditional computer creation with other media such as laserdisc, television, CD-ROM, sound and video. (WP, Gr. 6)

number keys: Keys on a keyboard which contain the numbers 0-9. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

or: A connector/term used in searching databases which indicates that for two statements/rules/criteria all records satisfying either one statement/rule criterion or both statements; rules/criteria should be selected. (DB, Gr. 5)

outliner: A software program that will assist the user in producing an outline. (WP, Gr. 6)

output: 1. The process of displaying, printing, or storing information produced by a computer. 2. The information produced by the computer, as a result of processing, that is sent to devices that display, print, or store it. (Terms, Gr. 3)

piracy: The unauthorized duplication and distribution of copyright-protected software. (Eth, Gr. 6)

posture: The position of the body or of parts of the body. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

print: To produce a copy of the document onto paper, computer screen, or diskette. (WP, Gr. 3)

printer: A mechanical output device that can print text, and sometimes graphics, on paper. (Kybdy, Gr. 1; Terms, Gr. K-3)

private data: Information which is confidential and only ethically available to selected individuals. (Eth, Gr. 8)

processing: The manipulation of data by a computer in accordance with its instructions, or programming. (Terms, Gr. 3)

public data: Information which is available ethically to any user. (Eth, Gr. 8)

public domain program: A non-commercial, copyrighted program free of public restriction. Software placed in the public domain can be copied and used without charge. (Eth, Gr. 3)

record: A collection or listing of related fields or categories in a database file. (DB, Gr. 5)

report: A display (on the screen or printed onto paper) of the records or parts of the records of a database that satisfy a particular search or sort. (DB, Gr. 5)

retrieve: To load a file from a diskette or hard drive. (WP, Gr. 3)

return/enter key: Key on a keyboard that is used to enter information into a microcomputer or to return the cursor to the beginning of a new line. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

row: The horizontal divisions of a spreadsheet that intersect the vertical divisions (columns) to form cells in which data can be entered. Rows are labeled numerically (1,2,3,4,...). (SpSht, Gr. 6)

save: To store a file on diskette or hard drive for future use. (WP, Gr. 2)

scanner: A peripheral device that converts text or pictures into bit-mapped data that is put into a computer. The digitized images can then be edited. (WP, Gr. 6)

select/search: A process of choosing all records of a database that meet or satisfy a statement, rule or criterion. A search may be based on a single statement, rule or criterion or a combination of statements, rules, or criteria joined by a connector of "and" or "or." This process is called also find, match, or query in some database software. (DB, Gr. 5)

shareware: Programs like public domain but ones for which the author/developer requests a donation if you use the software. (Eth, Gr. 3)

shift key: Key on a keyboard that is used to capitalize letters when pressed with that letter key. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

software: Program material for computers; instructions to the CPU to tell it what to do with the data it receives. Software programs are usually stored on disks until needed. Sometimes a disk, with its program, is called software. (Kybdy, Gr. 1; Terms, Gr. 1-3)

sort (arrange): A process of organizing the records in a database in a specific order, either alphabetically (from A to Z or reverse alphabetically from Z to A) or numerically (from 0 to 9 or reverse numerically from 9 to 0). (DB, Gr. 5)

space bar: Key on a keyboard that spaces the cursor forward one space at a time and produces a blank space when pressed. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

spell checker: Part of a word processing program that uses a disk-based dictionary to check and correct misspellings in documents. (WP, Gr. 7)

spreadsheet: An applications program, used in financial forecasting, that can quickly handle calculations and perform evaluation. (SpSht, Gr. 6)

starting: The process of loading the operating system software into memory to start up a computer. Also called booting. (Terms, Gr. 1)

strike: To tap or press the keys of a keyboard with a finger or thumb. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

symbol key: Key on a keyboard that contains a symbol. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

tab key: 1. Key on a keyboard that is used to move the cursor directly to a tab stop. 2. A key on the keyboard that causes the cursor to jump to a specific place such as to indent paragraphs or make columns. (Kybdy, Gr. 1; WP, Gr. 3)

telecomputing: 1. The act of sending (or receiving) information to another computer via modem and phone line or local area networks (LAN). The exchange of information can be within a building or around the globe. 2. Sending information electronically across a distance using a computer and modem. (Tele, Gr. 4; WP, Gr. 4)

text: The actual structure of words in a piece of writing or printing. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

type styles: Features in a word processing program that allow for changes in the appearance of text such as bold, italics, and underlining. (WP, Gr. 6)

unethical: Not conforming to accepted professional standards of conduct.) (Eth, Gr. 7)

upload: Sending a disk file from your computer to another computer. (Tele, Gr. 4)

value: One type of data that can be entered into a spreadsheet cell. It consists of numbers that can be added, subtracted, etc. (SpSht, Gr. 6) virtual reality: A lifelike world that is created by a computer in which participants can become part of the action. (WP, Gr. 6)

word processing: A process using a computer to input and edit text; a computer application that resembles typewriting but allows instant correction of errors, moving text to different locations, and other editing functions. (WP, Gr. 2)

word wrap: In word processing, the automatic movement of a word to the next line when it is begun near the end of a line of text on which it is too long to fit; it eliminates the need for typing a carriage return at the end of each line. (Kybdy, Gr. 1)

worm: A program similar to a computer virus, but it does not lie dormant nor does it need another program to run. (Eth, Gr. 8)

Primary source of definitions: Understanding Computers Through Applications (Student's Book and Teacher's Guide); Glencoe, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill. Additional definitions from "What is Cyberculture?" from BellSouth (1993), "The K-12 Guide to Legal Software Use" from Software Publishers Association (1993), and "Don't Copy That Floppy" from Software Publishers Association (1992).