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Randy The Tech Professor

January 18, 2011 at 6:27 pm

How I Teach Computer Basics (Part 2: Software)

Hello everyone,

In this previous post I explained how I teach the major hardware components of a computer. Today I would like to tell you how I teach/explain computer software. At times I must compare the two in order to get the point across:

1) Hardware is a physical device (CPU, Hard Drive, Power Supply, RAM, etc.). You can touch and feel hardware. Hardware is, well, hard!

2) Software is not a physical device. You can’t touch it, you can’t feel it, it’s simply instructions and data in the form of “code” (files written in programming languages).

3) Hardware carries out orders, software gives the orders. Software is a program that tells the computer what to do and how to do it! Software gives instructions to the hardware.

4) Ask yourself the following question: What do I want to do on my computer today? Whatever you want to do, you must use the appropriate software for the task.

5) Hardware is already in your machine but you have to “go out and get” (download) software. Once you do go out and get it, you have to get it inside of your computer (install it). Once installed, your computer can now run it, execute it, use it to tell the computer what to do.

6) Instructions go from the software to the hardware as the aforementioned “code” (computer language written by humans, understood by computers). The computer obeys the instructions and carries them out! How cool is that?

7) Please get good software (well written)! If you use “buggy” (bad code, poorly written) software, you will be sending bad instructions to the computer and something “not good” is bound to happen. There is a lot of great free software “out there”, but there is also a lot of bad stuff too.

In a future post I will tell you the software that I use (95% of it is free), and I will give you my all time favorites. See you then!

Professor Randy says: You don’t necessarily have to understand hardware and software, but when you do, it increases your computing enjoyment. That’s why I like to teach it to people!!

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