Topic outline

  • Welcome to Module A - Computer Systems Fundamentals

    You use technology all the time without even realizing it. Technology can be defined as the way humans modify the world around them in response to their needs and wants. A pencil, a highway, a car, and a computer are all results of technology.

    You interact with technology every day, but how much do you understand it? Is it enough to know how to use a device like a pencil or a computer? Do you need to know how it works? Should you consider the effects of its use on society and the environment?

    Today's technology is so seamless that people take it for granted.  We use our devices without knowing what makes them operate, how they came to be created or what implications lie behind their use.

    In this module, you will explore how technological innovations have changed—and continue to change—our world.  This module will guide you through purchasing and building a computer and operating system basics.  The four sections will cover these topics:

    • Section 1—Computer History, Digital Logic, Numbering Systems, Conversion Basics
    • Section 2—Computer Component, Peripheral, Purchasing and Building a Computer Basics
    • Section 3—Desktop/Laptop/Mobile Operating System Basics
    • Section 4—Server, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing Basics


    Do you have the 21st century skills necessary to succeed in today's global work force? Open the ISTE 2016 NETS Standards below to find out. 

    Files: 3
  • Section 1 - Understanding Computer System Basics

    Most people are familiar with computers. You might use a computer to quickly calculate a complicated mathematical equation, to give commands to a complex machine, or to create those special effects you see in movies. Computers control almost every electrical device we use—from your home printer to the International Space Station.

    To understand what goes on inside a computer, first you need to learn a few basic terms. Let’s break it down:

    Digital systems include devices like computers, MP3 players, high-definition TVs, and more. They are created with digital logic devices—specialized electrical circuits built from transistors, diodes, and resistors. By arranging these electrical components in various ways, logic functions are created.

    Digital logic functions determine how digital signals are processed. You could say that digital logic functions are the basic building blocks of computer systems. When logic functions are combined, they produce digital systems.

    When designing new computer systems, engineers and technicians combine special digital logic circuits (part of what we call computer hardware) to create unique functions that make the computer perform specific tasks.

    Computer hardware is needed in order for computer instructions or software to be processed or executed within the machine. A computer program is the set of commands defining what a computer does at any given time. In other words, a program is made up of a sequence of instructions to the computer. 

    The computer is a common digital system. In this section, we will see how computers are programmed to do many fascinating tasks simply by manipulating ones and zeros.

    In this section, you will learn to

    • define key technology terms
    • identify key technologies and inventors
    • define digital logic terms
    • define and implement the binary numbering system
    • define and implement the hexadecimal numbering system
    • define and use ASCII
    • define and evaluate logic gates
    • define and use unit conversions
    Glossary: 1Lessons: 8Quizzes: 2Page: 1
  • Section 2 - Computer Component Basics

    Most people are familiar with certain types of computers, such as the desktop and notebook computers that are commonly used in school, at home, and for business. But there are all types of computers that you probably haven't considered—devices that make our cars, washing machines, and cell phones work properly.

    All computers are designed with similar common features. Engineers and technicians combine special digital logic circuits, part of what is called computer hardware. This hardware is needed for computer instructions (or software) to be processed or executed within the machine. Sequences of individual computer instructions make up a computer program, which is the set of commands defining what the computer does at any given time.

    In this section, we will examine computer hardware, how computer hardware is organized, and how it works together.

    In this section, you will learn to

    • identify and evaluate PC components
    • identify and purchase PC components
    • describe how hardware components interact
    • build a PC
    • identify and evaluate peripherals
    • define and evaluate green IT
    • identify preventative maintenance steps needed for computers
    Glossary: 1Lessons: 13Quizzes: 2Page: 1
  • Section 3 - Operating System Basics

    All computers require an operating system (OS). Operating systems are found on every device that contains a microchip—from cellular phones and video game consoles to tablets and web servers. The operating system acts as an intermediary between the user, various software programs, and hardware.

    The operating system is the most important software on your device. An operating system can be defined as a program that manages hardware resources and provides common services for software. It is the framework that allows you to communicate with your computer hardware in an interactive way.

    In this section, you will learn to

    • define key terms associated with operating systems
    • explain the purpose of an operating system
    • define and evaluate the functions of an operating system
    • describe and compare different types of operating systems
    • identify the requirements of different operating systems
    • define and use different functions of an operating system
    • install and set up an operating system
    • describe and select different type of file systems
    • maintain an operating system
    • define, evaluate, and implement patches and updates
    • define, evaluate, and implement preventative OP maintenance

    Glossary: 1Lessons: 11Quiz: 1Page: 1
  • Section 4 - Server, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing Basics

    Computers are no longer just stand alone systems. With today's devices being always connected and accessible, its increasingly important to know how and to whom we are connecting. Servers, virtualization, mobile devices, and cloud computing are terms we hear daily. But what are they really and why do we need them?

    In this section, you will learn to

    • define the role and functions of a server
    • define the role and functions of virtualization
    • define and evaluate cloud computing technologies
    • define and evaluate tablets and mobile devices
    Glossary: 1Lessons: 4Quiz: 1Page: 1
  • Summary of Module A - Computer System Fundamentals

    The four sections of Module A cover these topics:

    • Section 1—Computer History, Digital Logic, Numbering Systems, Conversion Basics

    • Section 2—Computer Component, Peripheral, Purchasing and Building a Computer Basics

    • Section 3—Desktop/Laptop/Mobile Operating System Basics

    • Section 4—Server, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing Basics

    Quiz: 1