ICT Notes English: In this article on ICT Notes, we will discuss ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and talk about all the topics like Computer, Hardware, Software, ICT, Usage of ICT, etc.
The computer is an electronic device that is designed to work with Information. The term computer is derived from the Latin term ‘Computare’, which means to calculate or programmable machine. The computer cannot do anything without a Program.
It represents the decimal numbers through a string of binary digits. The Word ‘Computer’ usually refers to the Centre Processor Unit plus Internal memory.
A computer can process data, pictures, sound, and graphics. They can solve highly complicated problems quickly and accurately. A computer performs basically five major computer operations or functions irrespective of its size and make.
GENERATIONS OF COMPUTERS
The computer as we know it today had its beginning with a 19th century English mathematics professor name Charles Babbage.
He designed the Analytical Engine and it was this design that the basic framework of the computers of today are based on.
Generally speaking, computers can be classified into three generations.
Each generation lasted for a certain period of time, and each gave us either a new and improved computer or an improvement to the existing computer.
In 1937 the first electronic digital computer was built by Dr. John V. Atanasoff and Clifford Berry. It was called the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC).
In 1943 an electronic computer name the Colossus was built for the military. Other developments continued until in 1946 the first general-purpose digital computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was built.
It is said that this computer weighed 30 tons, and had 18,000 vacuum tubes which was used for processing. When this computer was turned on for the first time lights dim in sections of Philadelphia.
Computers of this generation could only perform single task, and they had no operating system.
Second generation: 1947-1962
This generation of computers used transistors instead of vacuum tubes which were more reliable. In 1951 the first computer for commercial use was introduced to the public; the Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC 1).
In 1953 the IBM 650 and 700 series computer world. During this generation of computers over 100 computer programming languages were developed, computers had memory and operating systems.
Storage media such as tape and disk were in use also were printers for output.
Third generation: 1963-present
The invention of integrated circuit brought us the third generation of computers. With this invention computers became smaller, more powerful more reliable and they are able to run many different programs at the same time.
In 1980 Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-Dos) was born and in 1981 IBM introduced the personal computer (PC) for home and office use.
Three years later Apple gave us the Macintosh computer with its icon driven interface and the 90s gave us Windows operating system.
Fourth Generation Computers
The changes with the greatest impact occurred in the years from 1971 to 2010.During this time technology developed to a point where manufacturers could place millions of transistors on a single circuit chip.
This was called monolithic integrated circuit technology. It also heralded the invention of the Intel 4004 chip which was the first microprocessor to become commercially available in 1971.
This invention led to the dawn of the personal computer industry. By the mid-70s, personal computers such as the Altair 8800 became available to the public in the form of kits and required assembly.
By the late 70s and early 80s assembled personal computers for home use, such as the Commodore Pet, Apple II and the first IBM computer, were making their way onto the market. Personal computers and their ability to create networks eventually would lead to the Internet in the early 1990s.
The fourth generation of computers also saw the creation of even smaller computers including laptops and hand-held devices. Graphical user interface, or GUI, was also invented during this time.
Computer memory and storage also went through major improvements, with an increase in storage capacity and speed.
The Fifth Generation of Computers
In the future, computer users can expect even faster and more advanced computer technology. Computers continue to develop into advanced forms of technology.
Fifth generation computing has yet to be truly defined, as there are numerous paths that technology is taking toward the future of computer development.
For instance, research is ongoing in the fields of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, as well as quantum computation.
CLASSIFICATION OF COMPUTERS
The computer systems can be classified on the following basis:
- On the basis of size.
- On the basis of functionality.
- On the basis of data handling.
Classification on the basis of size
Computers are classified on the basis of size in these categories:
The super computers are the high performing system. A supercomputer is a computer with a high level of performance compared to a general- purpose computer.
The actual Performance of a supercomputer is measured in FLOPS instead of MIPS. All of the world’s fastest 500 supercomputers run Linux-based operating systems.
Additional research is being conducted in China, the US, the EU, Taiwan and Japan to build even faster, high performing and more technologically superior supercomputers.
Supercomputers actually play an important role in the field of computation, and are used for intensive computation tasks in various fields, including quantum mechanics, weather forecasting, climate research, oil and gas exploration, molecular modeling, and physical simulations and also throughout the history, supercomputers have been essential in the field of the crypt analysis.
e.g.: PARAM, jaguar, roadrunner.
These are commonly called as big iron, they are usually used by big organizations for bulk data processing such as statics, census data processing, transaction processing and are widely used as the severs as these systems has a higher processing capability as compared to the other classes of computers.
Most of these mainframe architectures were established in 1960s, the research and development worked continuously over the years and the mainframes of today are far more better than the earlier ones, in size, capacity and efficiency.
E.g.: IBM z Series, System z9 and System z10 servers.
These computers came into the market in mid 1960s and were sold at a much cheaper price than the main frames, they were actually designed for control, instrumentation, human interaction, and communication switching as distinct from calculation and record keeping, later they became very popular for personal uses with evolution.
In the 60s to describe the smaller computers that became possible with the use of transistors and core memory technologies, minimal instructions sets and less expensive peripherals such as the ubiquitous Teletype Model 33 ASR.
They usually took up one or a few inch rack cabinets, compared with the large mainframes that could fill a room. There was a new term “MINICOMPUTERS” coined.
E.g.: Personal Laptop, PC etc.
A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer with a microprocessor as its CPU. It includes a microprocessor, memory, and minimal I/O circuitry mounted on a single printed circuit board.
The previous to these computers, mainframes and minicomputers, were comparatively much larger, hard to maintain and more expensive.
They actually formed the foundation for present day microcomputers and smart gadgets that we use in day to day life.
E.g.: Tablets, Smart watches.
Classification on the basis of functionality
Computers are classified on the basis of functionality in these categories:
Servers are nothing but dedicated computers which are set-up to offer some services to the clients. They are named depending on the type of service they offered. E.g.: security server database server.
Those are the computers designed to primarily to be used by single user at a time. They run multi-user operating systems.
They are the ones which we use for our day to day personal/commercial work.
They are the portable devices which are designed to perform a limited set of tasks like basic calculations, playing multimedia, browsing internet etc.
They are generally referred as the mobile devices. They have very limited memory and flexibility and generally run on “as-is” basis.
They are the computing devices which are used in other machines to serve limited set of requirements.
They follow instructions from the non- volatile memory and they are not required to execute reboot or reset.
The processing units used in such device work to those basic requirements only and are different from the ones that are used in personal computers-better known as workstations.
Classification on the basis of data handling
Computers are classified on the basis of data handling in these categories:
An analog computer is a form of computer that uses the continuously changeable aspects of physical fact such as electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved.
Anything that is variable with respect to time and continuous can be claimed as analog just like an analog clock measures time by means of the distance traveled for the spokes of the clock around the circular dial.
A computer that performs calculations and logical operations with quantities represented as digits, usually in the binary number system of “O” and “l ”, “Computer capable of solving problems by processing information expressed in discrete fonn.
from manipulation of the combinations of the binary digits, it can perform mathematical calculations, organize and analyze data, control industrial and other processes, and simulate dynamic systems such as global weather patterns.
A computer that processes both analog and digital data, Hybrid computer is a digital computer that accepts analog signals, converts them to digital and processes them in digital form.
FUNCTIONAL COMPONENTS OF COMPUTER
The input unit consists of input 2 ‘vices that are attached to the computer. These devices take input and convert into binary language that the computer understands.
Some of the common input devices are keyboard, mouse, joystick, scanner etc.
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
Once the information is entered into the computer by the input device, the processor processes it. The CPU is called the brain of the computer because it is the control center of the computer.
It first fetches instructions from memory and then interprets them so as to know what is to be done. If required, data is fetched from memory or input device.
Thereafter CPU executes or performs the required computation and then either stores the output or displays on the output device.
The CPU has three main components which are responsible for different functions Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU), Control Unit (CU) and Memory registers.
Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU)
The ALU, as its name suggests performs mathematical calculations and takes logical decisions. Arithmetic calculations include addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Logical decisions involve comparison of two data items to see which one is larger or smaller or equal.
The Control unit coordinates and controls the data flow in and out of CPU and also controls all the operations of ALU, memory registers and also input/output units. It is also responsible for carrying out all the instructions stored in the program.
It decodes the fetched instruction, interprets it, and sends control signals to input/output devices until the required operation is done properly by ALU and memory.
A register is a temporary unit of memory in the CPU. These are used to store the data which is directly used by the processor.
Registers can be of different sizes (l6 bit, 32 bit, 64 bit, and so on) and each register inside the CPU has a specific function like storing data, storing an instruction, storing the address of a location in memory, etc.
The user registers can be used by an assembly language programmer for storing operands, intermediate results, etc.
Accumulator (ACC) is the main register in the ALU and contains one of the operands of an operation to be performed in the ALU.
Memory attached to the CPU is used f the storage of data and instructions and is called internal memory. The internal memory is divided into many storage locations, each of which can store data or instructions.
Each memory location is of the same size and has an address. With the help of the address, the computer can read any memory location easily without having to search the entire memory.
When a program is executed, its data is copied to the internal memory and is stored in the memory till the end of the execution. The internal memory is also called the Primary memory or Main memory.
This memory is also called RAM, i.e. Random Access Memory. The time of access of data is independent of its location in memory therefore this memory is also called Random Access Memory (RAM).
The output unit consists of output devices that are attached to the computer. It converts the binary data coming from the CPU to a human-understandable form.
The common output devices are monitors, printers, plotters, etc.
CHARACTERSTICS OF COMPUTER
These are the characteristics of Computer-
The computer is able to process the data and give the output in fractions of seconds such that required information is given to the user on time enabling the user to make the right decisions at right time.
A powerful computer is capable of executing about 3 million calculations per second.
In spite of its high speed of processing, the accuracy of the computer is consistently high enough which avoids any errors. If it all there are errors, they are due to errors in instructions given by the programmer.
The output generated by the computer is very reliable, but it is reliable only when the data, which is passing as input to the computer and the program, which gives instructions are correct and reliable.
The computer has a provision to store large volumes of data in the small storage devices, which has the capacity to store huge amounts of data and help the retrieval of data an easy task.
The computer performs three basic operations;
- It is capable to access and accept information through various input-output devices from the user.
- It performs basic Arithmetic and Logic operations on data as desired.
- It is capable, to generate the desired output in the desired form.
Once the instructions fed into the computer it works automatically without any human intervention until the completion of execution of a program until meets logical instructions to terminate the job.
Hardware is best described as any physical component of a computer system that contains a circuit board, ICs, or other electronics.
The devices which are used to give data and instructions to the computer are called Input Devices. Various types of input devices can be used with the computer depending upon the type of data you want to enter in the computer, e.g., keyboard, mouse, joystick, light pen, etc.
Keyboard and Mouse
Accepts input from a user and sends that data (input) to the computer. They cannot accept or reproduce the information (output) from the computer.
Receives sound generated by an input source, and sends that sound to a computer.
Receives images generated by whatever it is pointed at (input) and sends those images to a computer.
The devices which are used to display the results or information are called Output Devices. You can view the output on the monitor or you can print it on paper using a printer.
Monitor and the printer are the commonly used output devices.
Receives data from a computer (output) and displays that information as text and images for users to view. It cannot accept data from a user and send that data to another device.
Receives data from a computer (output) and displays, or projects, that information as text and images onto a surface, like a wall or a screen.
It cannot accept data from a user and send that data to another device.
Receives sound data from a computer and plays the sounds for users to hear. It cannot accept sound generated by users and send that sound to another device.
Software is the language of a computer. And like human language, there are many different computer languages. Essentially, computer software can be divided into three main groups depending on their use and application.
These are system software or operating system referred simply as the OS, application software, and programming languages. Usually, most of us interact with a computer using application software.
Software is a set of programs, which is designed to perform a well-defined function. A program is a sequence of instructions written to solve a particular problem. There are three types of software-
The system software is a collection of programs designed ‘to operate, control, and extend the processing capabilities of the computer itself. System software is generally prepared by computer manufacturers.
These software products comprise programs written in low-level languages, which interact with the hardware at a very basic level.
System software serves as the interface between the hardware and the end-users.
Some examples of system software are Operating System, Compilers, Interpreter, Assemblers, etc
Application software products are designed to satisfy a particular need of a particular environment. All software applications prepared in the computer lab can come under the category of Application software.
Application software may consist of a single program, such as Microsoft’s notepad for writing and editing a simple text.
It may also consist of a collection of programs, often called a software package, which works together to accomplish a task, such as a spreadsheet package.
They are usually small programs that help in the management of the hardware and the application software, installed on a computer.
Example: – Disk defragmenters, Disk cleaners, etc.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)
ICT Stands for “Information and Communication Technologies.” It refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications.
It is similar to Information Technology (IT) but focuses primarily on communication technologies. This includes the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums.
In the past few decades, information and communication technologies have provided society with a vast array of new communication capabilities.
For example, people can communicate in real-time with others in different countries using technologies such as instant messaging, voice over IP (VoIP), and video-conferencing.
Social networking websites like Facebook allow users from all over the world to remain in contact and communicate on a regular basis.
Modern information and communication technologies have created a “global village.” in which people can communicate with others across the world as if they were living next door.
For this reason, ICT is often studied in the context of how modern communication technologies affect society.
TOOLS OF ICT
ICT tools are the devices or objects that are used in information and communication technology ex. computer, cell phones, cell phone towers, video conferencing, software, radio, television, laptop, etc.
Radio is the oldest tool and provides entertainment to the masses to a great extent in the recent past. It seeks to build up the listener’s attitude favorable towards the new information useful to them.
Press or newspaper is the most important ICT tool. National, International, Sports, business-related issues, and people get to know about these through newspaper reading.
Being for communication with audience low literacy skills, an audio-visual medium i.e. Television has been more advantageous than any other medium.
A large number of transmitters has covered the entire population.
Charts and Folders
Farmer’s community teaches by an expert through charts and folders. Related information is printed in the charts and folder and people grasp information about this.
The slide is a transparent picture. With the help of a projector, a large reflection of a slide is reflected on a screen. People easily grasp the knowledge by seeing slides.
Computer and Internet
The internet is emerging as a potential tool to contribute to agriculture development as one can have access to vast global information resources.
People can easily access its information and services.
Telephone and mobiles
Telephone is also one of strong ways for communication. It is simplest an easiest way of communication.
This involves multiple interconnected telephones or computer devices. Each person can hear or talk to all the others involves in the call.
A digital library was designed and developed to provide extension services for bookkeepers. The digital library provides information on various aspects.
USES OF ICT IN EDUCATION
In many countries, digital literacy is being built through the incorporation of information and communication technology (ICT) into schools.
Some common educational applications of ICT include:
One laptop per child
Less expensive laptops have been designed for use in school on a 1:1 basis with features like lower power consumption, a low-cost operating system. and special re-programming and mesh network functions.
Despite efforts to reduce costs, however, providing one laptop per child may be too costly for some developing countries.
Tablets are small personal computers with a touch screen allowing input without a keyboard or mouse. Inexpensive learning software (“apps“) can be downloaded onto tablets, making them a versatile tool for learning.
The most effective apps develop higher-order thinking skills and provide creative and individualized options for students to express their understandings.
Interactive White Boards or Smart Board
Interactive whiteboards allow projected computer images to be displayed, manipulated, dragged, clicked, or copied. Simultaneously, handwritten notes can be taken on the board and saved for later use.
Interactive whiteboards are associated with whole-class instruction rather than student-centered activities. Student engagement is generally higher when ICT is available for student use throughout the classroom.
E-readers are electronic devices that can hold hundreds of books in digital form, and they are increasingly utilized in the delivery of reading material.
Students both skilled readers and reluctant readers have had positive responses to the use of e-readers for independent reading.
Features of e-readers that can contribute to positive use include their portability and long battery life, response to a text, and the ability to define unknown words.
Additionally, many classic book titles are in e-book form.
The Hipped classroom model, involving lecture and practice at home via computer-guided instruction and interactive learning activities in class, can allow for an expanded curriculum.
There is little investigation into the student learning outcomes of flipped classrooms. Student perceptions about flipped classrooms are mixed, but generally positive, as they prefer the cooperative learning activities in class.
BARRIERS TO ICT IN SCHOOLS
There are different barriers that prevent the successful implementation of ICT in schools. These barriers are caused by different factors
Lack of Electricity
The shortage of electricity in the country is a huge barrier to the implementation of ICT in schools. This is mostly a problem in rural areas where some yet don’t have access to electricity.
But it is not only a rural problem as it also exists in the townships as well. The regular power cuts and cable theft leaves schools with computers that sit in the lab and collect dust.
Lack of Qualified Teachers
There are fewer educators who have appropriate qualifications to teach computer applications and technology (CAT).
When CAT was introduced in schools through the OBE curriculum, teachers who had little or basic knowledge about computers or had keyboard skills were asked to teach CAT and no further training was provided to them.
This now creates a barrier to the learners as they are not properly taught all that they should be taught thus they graduate high school computer illiterate.
The corruption in the government leads to a shortage of resources in schools. The government does not deliver the resources in school and this makes it difficult for educators to teach computers smoothly.
Learners had to share the same computer and the skills are not developed as the teachers had to demonstrate everything and the learners don’t use the computers.
No internet Access
Most government schools have no internet access. Their lessons are narrowed to textbooks. They are not trained on how to use the internet safely and appropriately.
The increase of cyberbullying is also a barrier to the implementation of ICT. Cyberbullying does not refer only to the internet but to hacking.
When a person hacks a computer they can destroy the software and saved documents of the schools. The schools need to use the computer in a safe manner that will not expose the learners to hackers or to cyberbullying.
The Operating System is a program with the following features-
- An operating system is a program that acts as an interface between the software and the computer hardware.
- It is an integrated set of specialized programs used to manage overall resources and operations of the computer.
- It is specialized software that controls and monitors the execution of all other programs that reside in the computer including application programs and other system software.
OBJECTIVES OF OPERATING SYSTEM
The objectives of the operating system are-
- To make the computer system convenient to use in an efficient manner.
- To hide the details of the hardware resources from the users. . To provide users a convenient interface to use the computer system.
- To act as an intermediary between the hardware and its users, making it easier for the users to access and use other resources.
- To keep track of who is using which resource, granting resource requests, and mediating conflicting requests from different programs and users.
- To provide efficient and fair sharing of resources among users and programs.
FUNCTIONS OF AN OPERATING SYSTEM
Here is a list of some of the most prominent characteristic features of Operating Systems –
Keeps track of the primary memory, i.e. what part of it is in use by whom, what part is not in use, etc., and allocates the memory when a process or program requests it.
Allocates the processor (CPU) to a process and deallocates the processor when it is no longer required.
Keeps track of all the devices. This is also called the l/O controller that decides which process gets the device when and for how much time.
Allocates and de-allocates the resources and decides who gets the resources.
Prevents unauthorized access to programs and data by means of passwords and other similar techniques.
Keeps track of time and resources used by various jobs and/or users.
Control over System Performance
Records delays between the request for a service and from the system.
Interaction with the Operators
Interaction may take place via the console of the computer in the form of instructions. The Operating System acknowledges the same. does the corresponding action, and informs the operation by a display screen.
Production of dumps, traces, error messages and other debugging and error-detecting methods.
Coordination between Other Software and Users
Coordination and assignment of compilers, interpreters, assemblers, and other software to the various users of the computer systems.
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