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Computer Software

Posted by pbhanney on January 19, 2015

Computer Software

For my students computer software can be one of the most difficult computer concepts to understand. I have come to the idea that this might come from the abstractness of computer software. Many of my students are still in the "Concrete" thinking stages (or are slightly getting into the Abstract thinking stage, but still have a firm foot in the Concrete stages). Most of computer hardware is very tangible. I can take a computer apart and have my students touch the different parts. However, understanding how software works is an all together different idea.

However, one of the basic things that students know how to do is install programs on a computer. The trick is to help them learn how to uninstall and possibly re-install those programs properly.

Licensing is also a new subject for most of my students. Understanding that there is a difference between freeware, shareware, open-source, and premium software is something they are not taught at home or by other teachers. However, most of them have an idea of what an End User License Agreement (EULA) is when I tell them it is the part of the software that nobody reads through and you just click on the "I Agree" button. I would say a lot of adults also don't understand a lot of these concepts, especially when it comes to the difference between a single- and a site-license on software.

Some of the other items my students need to learn about is the concepts of what a database is and how different databases are used throughout the world. People also need to know what desktop publishing software is, presentation software, and graphic design software are and how they are all used in personal and business use.

Lastly, people need to know what file compression is and how it works. Also, they need to know about viruses and malware and how to get rid of them on a machine.

As I said, most of my students don't know all of this intuitively (I don't know who would). These are things that need to be learned either in a classroom or through experience (and usually experience is a hard teacher, and takes a long time to learn from).

What else do you think people should know about software?

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