Computer Literacy/Hardware

Here we learn what words hardware and computer mean.

What is a computer? edit

Computers come in many shapes and sizes. The easiest way to spot a computer is to look for a screen, the bright rectangle where images and text appear. What computers (with a screen) do you have at home?

  • phone, specifically smartphone
  • tablet
  • laptop, also called notebook
  • desktop, oftern called desktop computer or just computer
  • smartwatch
  • smart TV, usually called just TV

Can you think of other examples?


To do:
Add gallery of different devices. The above list should be turned into captions on the images. Captions should be probably expanded into a sentence or two.

All these things are computers. Some people call them devices and reserve the word computer for desktops and laptops only.

Parts of a computer edit

Desktop computers are special in that they are made of several separate parts or components, usually connected with cables. Look at some desktop computer (if one is around) and try to name as many parts as possible.

  • screen, often called display or monitor
  • keyboard
  • mouse
  • case with many more components inside it
  • speakers, often included as part of the monitor
  • headphones, called headset when microphone is included
  • printer


To do:
Add gallery of different parts. The above list should be turned into captions on the images. Captions should be probably expanded into a sentence or two.

When you think of a desktop computer, you probably think of its screen first. Screen is where everything interesting happens, but it's not the main part of the computer. While the big metal case might look useless at first, it's actually the place where all the most important components are housed. If you unplug it, nothing will work.

You can spot many of these parts on laptops and other kinds of devices. Some devices have special parts not found on desktop computers. For example, laptops have a touchpad that does the same thing as mouse on desktops.


To do:
Add gallery of different non-desktop components.

Computers without screens edit

We said that screens are the easiest way to spot a computer, but many computers do not have a screen. Below are some of these computers that you might have encountered at home.

  • Alexa and other smart speakers speak instead of showing things on the screen.
  • Router connects other computers together via cables, allowing all computers to send messages to each other.
  • WiFi is like router, but it connects to other computers over the air via radio waves instead of using cables.
  • Embedded computers are built into other things, including fridges, wash machines, and some toys.


To do:
Add gallery of screen-less computers.